Legendary New York club CBGB, the epicenter of punk rock and the launching pad for influential bands like the Ramones and Talking Heads, will close its doors on the Bowery for good next Halloween unde

Legendary New York club CBGB, the epicenter of punk rock and the launching pad for influential bands like the Ramones and Talking Heads, will close its doors on the Bowery for good next Halloween under an agreement announced today (Dec. 7) with its landlord.

The deal with the Bowery Residents Committee, which owns a 45-year lease on the property at 315 Bowery, appeared impossible after the previous lease expired on Aug. 31. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office interceded and helped reach an agreement that avoided a bitter court battle.

"It's been little stipulations, back and forth -- we agreed, we didn't agree," said Hilly Kristal, the grizzled owner who opened CBGB in December 1973. "We finally got to a point where we agreed with each other."

BRC executive Muzzy Rosenblatt, who shared a first kiss with his future wife inside the club, said the agreement would let his homeless advocacy group "concentrate on helping the needy and homeless of New York City."

The BRC is a nonprofit that houses 250 people above the club, and CBGB is its lone commercial tenant. CBGB's lease with the group expired at midnight on Aug. 31, with the BRC announcing it wanted the club out after a five-year fight. A week later, Kristal was served with an eviction notice and the two sides went to court.

The new agreement boosts the rent at the world-renowned rock club to a near-market price of $35,000 a month -- up from the old deal's $19,000. It also requires Kristal to leave the dank, dingy space by Oct. 31, 2006 -- although he's already looking for a new location.

Kristal said he was visiting other sites in lower Manhattan to reopen the club once the new deal expires and expected a month-long goodbye celebration at the old space. He also said he was considering opening a branch in Las Vegas and was unconcerned about recreating the low-budget ambiance of the original CBGB.

"Things are different all the time -- look at the '70s, the '80s, the '90s," Kristal said. "The most important thing is we're keeping the integrity of CBGB's. It won't be exactly the same, but it will have the same ingredients."


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