Empire Outlets Terminates Tenant's Lease Eight Months Early

Retail complex informed BADASS BOOTCAMP their lease would be terminated because a tenant offered more for their space, but there are forty other vacancies at Empire Outlets.

Empire Outlets Terminates Tenant's Lease Eight Months Early
BADASS BOOTCAMP, a wellness incubator located in Empire Outlets. (Hala Maroc, 2024)

BADASS BOOTCAMP self-describes as a sanctuary for individuals looking to find holistic remedies, workshops, and resources for the mind, body, and soul. Tucked away in a quieter corner of Empire Outlets' second floor, the establishment's owner Hala Maroc is Egyptian & Moroccan-American. Maroc has made such a name for her brand in the North Shore that she moved from a kiosk to an enclosed space at Empire Outlets (EO) in Late 2021.

Customers at a BADASS BOOTCAMP event. (Hala Maroc, 2024)

The woman-of-color owned small business BADASS BOOTCAMP was founded six years ago. It was inspired by her experiences, four months after landing her dream job in the entertainment industry, she was laid off. "It was a roller coaster and that's kind of where my mental health and wellness journey began and I started to pay attention to it," shares Maroc. She continues, "in that moment I recognized all around me that there was a plenty of other creatives and other dreamers and on-the-go individuals in New York City that just don't pay attention to their selves and their self-care either and so I started doing all these workshops, pop-ups, events and finding resources that surround that."

Maroc was recently informed that BADASS BOOTCAMP's lease will be terminated at the end of this month - eight months earlier than agreed to in her lease. Maroc claims her attorney was informed by EO that the lease would be terminated because a prospective tenant offered more for the space. EO did not respond to a request to dispute that claim.

There are at least forty vacancies currently at Empire Outlets (Plea for the Fifth, 2024)

Maroc expressed skepticism that an establishment was eager for her particular space, particularly with over three-dozen other empty spaces surrounding BADASS BOOTCAMP. "It's not a secret that it's been a revolving door of tenants in here, it's not like it's like a popular demand, so to me it's weird that you would say that you have someone who's ready to pay more for this space but there's a million other open spaces you could offer to them, or me," says Maroc. There are at least forty vacant spaces currently at EO, as it operates at less than 30% of the capacity of the originally planned 100 retailers. The former rooftop bar and food destination, MRKTPL Culinary Market, is currently closed. EO, which cost $350 million to build, was sold to Goldman Sachs for $10 million in a Sept. 2023 auction, after entering foreclosure. EO did not respond to a request to disclose the new tenant eager to displace BADASS BOOTCAMP for their retail space, or whether they attempted to persuade the higher bidder to consider an empty space.

In light of the lack of demand for space at EO, Maroc attributes their actions to her advocacy for Palestine. "The Palestine issue has been a part of the backdrop of my life forever, I'm an Afro-Middle Eastern woman," says Maroc. A recent event she held brought wellness to a group of women and mothers that are Palestinian advocates. "They're out there on the front lines, putting their life on the line every day they're going out and representing for a cause," Maroc says of the activists. Speaking of the women, she continues "for them to really find their voice in this and use it so powerfully and still not feel like they're being heard, and that it even makes a difference - it's hurtful. They have families, mothers, husbands, kids, and other things to take care of in the home and they're finding themselves have to juggle that, and be outside."

BADASS BOOTCAMP owner Hala Maroc in her shop at Empire Outlets. (Hala Maroc, 2024)

Maroc is undeterred by EO's actions, and will continue her work. "We do a lot of programming with schools and organizations not just here but in the whole tri-state area so I'll be focusing on that, and in creating an ecosystem of other wellness advocates and entrepreneurs. We're just gonna keep trying to make a difference in that way, and keep using my voice however I can," says Maroc.