Sunday, April 30, 2006

For a Warm, Unvarnished Place, High Rent and Dark Times

Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 07:49:25 -0400
From: "Tenant"
Subject: For a Warm, Unvarnished Place, High Rent and Dark Times

NB - $18,000/mo for 1,000 SF translates into $216/SF, which is an obscene
amount for a retail space outside of Times Square and Park Avenue.
Even on 9th Ave. in the 40's we're only seeing $150/SF. (and that is
up from $30-$50 about eight years ago).

If the lease is just ending, that implies it got to that rental
amount 5 or 10 years ago, before the current boom. This is fishy and
there's probably more to the story than that. Maybe the owner gave
the restaurant a lease concession in return for the higher rent.
From: "Philip DePaolo"
To: "Tenant" , "jordi Reyes-Montblanc" ,,,
Subject: RE: For a Warm, Unvarnished Place, High Rent and Dark Times
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 10:17:17 -0400

NB - This is a dilemma we are facing through the five boroughs.

Gentrification on steroids has put great pressures on Longtime retail and manufacturing
small businesses. I am involved right now with a Mexican grocery store that
has had its rent raised $8,500.00 the last two years. they are working seven days a week,
twelve hours a day to lose money. They are planning to close.

We are also trying to save a thirty six year old steel fabrication business that has a
history of hiring local Handicapped members of the community and community
paroles, and teach them a trade. His current staff has two former paroles who have
been with him for twelve years. Condos are rising on both sides of his
business and he is being evicted at the end of May.

We have already lost an ice cream shop, a dry cleaner, a shoe repair shop, a diner, a clothes store, and a pet store in Williamsburg. We have gained noisy bars, expensive restaurants
and chain stores. The sad part is the city considers this progress.

Enjoy your Sunday.

April 30, 2006
Upper West Side

For a Warm, Unvarnished Place, High Rent and Dark Times

La Rosita, a rice-and-beans joint on Broadway near 108th Street, is
the sort of place where the owners cluck and fuss over everyone who
comes in the door, and the waitress will hold your baby while you
eat. On a typical morning, scruffy Columbia professors sit at the
Formica counter beside weary cleaning women coming off the night shift.
"It's sort of what we used to be, and what some of us still are,"
said Della Clason Sperling, an art historian who has lived in the
neighborhood for 25 years. "You know, some of us like to have a
little bit of grit."

But as the neighborhood has increasingly buffed away its rough edges,
rising rents have forced out many family-owned businesses, and La
Rosita seems poised to become the next to go. After 24 years of
dishing out carne guisada and camaraderie, Enrique Fernandez and his
two sons, Eduardo and Fernando, have all but made up their minds to
close up shop when their lease runs out in December. They may leave

"I'm not making enough now to pay the rent, employees, water and
gas," said Enrique Fernandez, a 75-year-old Spaniard with swept-back
white hair and expressive hands who came to New York by way of Cuba.
"I'm working, working, working for nothing."

The restaurant's regulars have taken the news hard, and a few weeks
ago, five of them, including Ms. Sperling, met with the Fernandezes
to strategize about how to save La Rosita. Among other suggestions,
the group offered to petition the restaurant's landlord; two years
ago, a similar petition drew nearly 4,000 signatures and helped
preserve Suba Pharmacy, which has served the neighborhood since 1982.

Eduardo Fernandez, the owner's 42-year-old son, explained to the
group that the landlord was open to letting La Rosita renew its
lease. The problem, he said, was that the family was already
struggling to pay the $18,000-a-month rent for its 1,000-square-foot
space, and therefore did not even plan to ask the landlord for a
reprieve on any increase.

Three calls over the course of a week to Heller Realty, to which the
Fernandezes pay rent for the restaurant, were not returned.

"Also, my dad is getting older," Eduardo Fernandez added in an
interview. "If he stays, he'll never retire, and I think this might
be a good thing for him."

But what's good for Enrique Fernandez may not be good for the

"Most of the family-owned businesses in the neighborhood are gone,"
Ms. Sperling said. "It's this feeling, like 'Oh, no, another one?
What will be left that we'll want to call our own?' "
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.

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