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New Deal Keeps N.Y. Punk Venue CBGB Open

NEW YORK (AP) — The legendary punk venue CBGB, known as the launching pad for influential bands such as the Ramones and Talking Heads, announced an agreement with its landlord Wednesday to keep the club's doors open through October 2006, when it must move.

CBGB's lease expired in August, with the landlord announcing it wanted the club out after a five-year fight. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office helped reach an agreement that avoided a court battle with the Bowery Residents Committee, a homeless advocacy group that owns the lease on the property.

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

BRC executive Muzzy Rosenblatt said the agreement would let his 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.

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 requires Kristal to leave the dingy space by Oct. 31, 2006.

Kristal said he's already looking for a new location in lower Manhattan and also is considering opening a branch in Las Vegas.

"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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