Monday, April 12, 2010

Graceland is closing in the next 10 days

Last Thursday we reported that Graceland, the corner deli on Avenue A and Second Street, is going to be forced to close because the landlord wants a substantial rent hike.



Several EV Grieve readers who shop at Graceland, which opened here in 1991 with a $4,000 monthly rent, got confirmation of the closing this past weekend.

Per EV Grieve reader Ryan:
Talked to people at Graceland last night and they confirmed the landlord was asking for a 35%+ raise on rent. I'll be really pissed ... there's a lot of fun characters that work there, and with the continued storefront wasteland of Avenue A, who knows what we'll get in there, if anything.


And EV Grieve frequent commenter BaHa, who also blogs at With Leftovers, was told by a worker on Friday that Graceland closes in 10 days. The Graceland employee said they clear about $800 a day... "so, with a rent increase to $20K, they didn't have much choice. We were both choking up a bit."

This New York magazine feature from 2005 has more about Graceland's owner, Grace Dancyger.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Nicky's staying in the East Village; Graceland moving out?

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Which bank will it become?

glamma said...

the funerals continue.anyone know who the landlord of this property is? i would love to speak to them about this. it's shamless really how they could care less about the vibe of the neighborhood. don't they realize the quaintness of the east vil is what makes it "hot" and "profitable?" ultimately they will do themselves in as well if this madness and irrational greed continues.

Bowery Boogie said...

that's sad. it's the vanishing of these places that really kills the neighborhood. how are residents to live without corner stores to buy essentials?

bank or bar, take your pick..

Seth Gordon said...

I'm fascinated that the landlord thinks there's a chance of getting more rent than they already are. Have they looked across the street? There are, what, four empty storefronts there? The EV - especially from Avenue A Eastward, below the park - is becoming a dead zone.

EV Grieve said...

Very true, Seth. the west side of the street — the properties owned by the NYCHA between 2nd and 3rd are mostly empty.

I'm hoping this is some sort of saber rattling on the behalf of the landlord, and things will get worked out in the next few days... or, worse, the landlord already has a bank in mind for the space...

Anonymous said...

she still owns gracefully (with its jacked up prices and subpar produce) and adinah's (another okay deli) - so thinking she'll be okay, or at least make the other two much needed locations better.

Goggla said...

I keep waiting for a landlord to chime in on any of these stories to explain their side of things. I just don't get why you'd push out a longtime or profitable business to demand more rent, only to have the space sit empty, generating no income at all. Is there something I'm missing?

ryan said...

It just sucks to be left with Gracefully as the only option on the block. I might be a sucker for their chicken cutlets, but everything else is ridiculously overpriced. I can't tell you how many times I've almost bought something before looking at the expiration date and realizing it's a good 8 months past. There's already 7 bars on my block--sometimes I just want some toilet paper without walking to Key Foods. The corner store at A and Houston is gross. And if it's another bank I'll be amazed. With no where to shop, and every store being on the verge of getting kicked out, who has money for another f'ing bank on Avenue A?

I'm hoping EV is right and this is just a scare tactic. The night guy Kevin is freaking hilarious, but I doubt a new back is going to hire him.

Jill said...

My computer just burped, not sure if I'm posting this twice. If so, feel free to delete.

Wasn't this the store that had constant picketers outside because they paid less than minimum wage? It could have been the other Grace store, I can't remember which.

I too would like to understand why landlords prefer empty stores than lower rents.

This landlord might think they can get a bar or nightclub, which is the only business that can afford such high rents, which is why we have only bars and nightclubs.

Barbara Hanson said...

My husband is a union organizer; Graceland did recognize them in the end. More's the pity that they're closing.

chris flash said...

If this one closes, how many empty storefronts on Avenue A (between Houston + 14th Street) will that make? It's got to be more than 2 dozen by now....

Erin Bradley said...

Kevin is a one-of-a-kind and a true favorite. It's so sad to see him go.

I want to do something special for him, but what? Flowers? A bottle of booze? A stripper? An impromptu surprise party? A marching band?

Any neighbors have any ideas they want to scheme up with me? Email me - monkeybusiness &at* g mail. We can get together at Library or Mama's Bar and plan it out.

geoff matters said...

"I'm fascinated that the landlord thinks there's a chance of getting more rent than they already are. Have they looked across the street?"

What I've heard, and I wish I could find confirmation on this (cursory google and quickly browsing the city tax pages failed to), is that NYC (NYS?) allows a tax writeoff for unused commercial space (based on the rent of previous tenant?)

Is this true? If so, it would be one of the most significant factors behind the change in the neighborhood, because it creates such skewed incentives: landlords creep up the rents until businesses fold, then write off the spaces while they sit empty for years. As long as they have enough occupied spaces that their taxes would be more than the writeoff from unoccupied spaces, no loss for them. It creates a situation where maximum profit involves pushing out tenants and a high rate of vacancy.

That's certainly something we've seen in practice.

Goggla said...

Thank you, Geoff, I believe you have answered my question.

This leads me to wonder, still, what kind of forward-thinking is going on here. A landlord may take the tax credit now, but a neighborhood/city full of empty storefronts only brings the property values down as no one will want to live or run businesses in those areas. Then what? We're back to the days of worthlessness, where no one will benefit.

Jill said...

Gog, you are right, but I've yet to encounter a landlord that thinks about the future. It's about what's in your pocket right now, tomorrow may never come.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Jill, the workers were picketing outside this store all the time about ten years ago when I lived on the opposite corner. They got paid crap, and the woman who worked the register was so nasty I finally stopped patronizing this business. I don't know if it has changed in then ten years since or not.