The landlord for three of Bitwise Industries downtown Fresno buildings posted a legal notice — a step that could break the lease and officially evict the embattled company as tenants.
“The rent on this property has been due and unpaid for over sixty two consecutive days and the landlord believes you have abandoned the property,” the notice at Bitwise 41 at 2721 Ventura Street says.
Similar notices were placed at Bitwise buildings at South Stadium (700 Van Ness Avenue) and Bitwise Hive (2600 Ventura Street).
Watch: GV Wire’s David Taub Interviews Bitwise co-CEO Jake Soberal
All three buildings are leased from Baltara Enterprises L.P., a Fresno real estate firm.
The notice gives Bitwise until June 17 to respond, with an intent not to abandon, and an address the company can be served legal documents.
“Representatives of Baltara confirm notices of abandonment were posted on the 3 buildings of Bitwise South Stadium, Bitwise Hive, and Bitwise 41 as the first step to retake legal possession of the properties Baltara owns and leases to Bitwise. For clarity these notices only affect its relationship with Bitwise as tenant and does not affect any of the sub tenants of the buildings. Sub tenants are unaffected and invited to stay in the building,” a Baltara representative told GV Wire.
Locksmiths Spotted at State Center Warehouse
On Friday, GV Wire spotted locksmiths working at the State Center Warehouse at 747 R Street — the one property Bitwise owned, at least in part.
Three others, identified to GV Wire as attorneys, were there as well. When asked about their business in the building, they said they represented the owner, and said it was not Bitwise.
They declined to say who they were, or who the owner they represented was.
A subsidiary of Bitwise formed a company with a partner, NICbyte, LLC — listed in Houston, Texas, and associated with a San Francisco-based venture capitalist firm — to buy the building in July 2022.
This week, NICbyte sued Bitwise, claiming it violated its partnership agreement several ways, including listing properties it jointly owned for sale; and using those buildings as collateral to secure a $30 million loan.
On the first floor of the warehouse, only one of several restaurants, La Manañitas, is open. The Fresno Bee reported that two others — Mosaic, and Railway — shut down as they were operated by Bitwise.
The offices at Bitwise’s main building at South Stadium are locked and appear to be emptied out. Other tenants said that was planned, as the company was in the process of moving to the warehouse building.
Inside the warehouse, the floors are unfinished. Some furniture remains in the hall. A construction crew was also there, but only to retrieve its equipment.
Tenants Remain at South Stadium
As recently as Thursday, several subtenants of the building remained working at the South Stadium building at 700 Van Ness. Several tenants held a meeting among themselves. None wanted to talk on the record.
Baltara reiterated to GV Wire that “we’re intending to honor their leases, and we invite them all to stay. We’re going to operate as a traditional office building.”
The doors remain locked at Bitwise 41 located at 2721 Ventura Street. A search on Google already lists the property as “permanently closed.”