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J.P. Licks sued for rent that went unpaid during pandemic

Its landlord claims the ice cream chain owes $113,000, despite having received nearly $3 million through the Paycheck Protection Program.

It's been 40 years since Vincent Petryk, the founder and owner of J.P. Licks, opened the ice cream chain's first shop in Jamaica Plain.
It's been 40 years since Vincent Petryk, the founder and owner of J.P. Licks, opened the ice cream chain's first shop in Jamaica Plain.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The flagship location of long-popular Boston ice cream chain J.P. Licks in Jamaica Plain is being sued by its landlord for more than $100,000 in unpaid rent amassed during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Zooephebe Realty Trust, which owns the Centre Street building where J.P. Licks has its store, production facility, and corporate office, filed suit this week in Suffolk County Superior Court, saying owner Vincent Petryk owes it $113,000 in back rent accumulated in 2020.

The suit claims that J.P. Licks failed to pay its full monthly rent of $23,000 to $24,000 from March through the end of last year, despite receiving nearly $3 million in loans from the federal Paycheck Protection Program. While J.P. Licks resumed making normal rent payments in January, the suit notes, it still owes $113,000 in back rent.

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Neither party immediately returned messages seeking comment Friday afternoon. The suit was first reported by the Boston Business Journal.

These types of tenant-landlord disputes have cropped up with increasing regularity as the pandemic eases and property owners seek to recoup rent payments deferred during the public health crisis. In February, a Suffolk County judge ruled that a Back Bay coffee shop did not have to pay back rent for the months it was ordered closed by the state. Zooephebe’s lawsuit, however, notes J.P. Licks never fully shut its doors last year.

The building on Centre Street has for many years been home to the ice cream chain, which according to its website has 17 locations in and around Boston. The company recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of their its store in the neighborhood. The chain’s current 15-year lease is set to expire in 2024.


Tim Logan can be reached at timothy.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.