Wednesday, September 19, 2012
In recent years, when a business closes around here, it's inevitable that the Starbucks-7-Eleven-Subway rumor makes the rounds as a replacement.
We heard this after Graceland closed ... when 34 Avenue A was looking for a new tenant ... when Kate's Joint closed on Avenue B ... when 219 First Avenue had retail space available; ditto for the Copper Building retail ground floor — and so on. Sometimes it turns out to be true, and other times, it's just a rumor. Or something people use merely as a threat.
So we heard the Starbucks-7-Eleven-Subway whispers about the recently shuttered Bar on A at East 11th Street. In part, these rumors surfaced because Ben Shaoul of Magnum Real Estate owns the building ... and two of his East Village properties are now home to a Starbucks (First Avenue at East Third Street) and a 7-Eleven (Broadway and East 12th Street). On Monday, one of the construction workers gutting 170 Avenue A told told a reporter from The Local that a 7-Eleven was taking over the former Bar on A space.
However, in addition, workers have cleared out Angels & Kings, Pete Wentz's onetime emo hangout behind Bar on A at 500 E. 11th St. (aka 170 Avenue A). According to the work permits for No. 500: "REMODEL EXISTING STAIR CONNECTING CELLAR AND FIRST FLOOR. REMOVE INTERIOR NON-LOAD BEARING PARTITIONS AT FIRST FLOOR."
An EVG regular who has been watching all this unfold thinks that the two spaces together are too big for just a 7-Eleven, and believes that the two spaces would yield both a 7-Eleven and a Subway. Or a Starbucks. This is only a theory. But plausible.
In January, the CB3/SLA gave the OK for the people behind Keybar on East 13th Street to take over the Angels & Kings space and open a bar-restaurant serving Hungarian food. No word on whatever happened to those plans.
However, there's nothing just yet on the DOB permits pointing specifically yet to a 7-Eleven, Starbucks or Subway. One connection: The applicant of record for both 500 E. 11th St. and 170 Avenue A is Bentonville, Ark.-based Harrison French & Associates, an architecture and engineering firm whose clients include 7-Eleven, Starbucks and Subway. (Harris French did the 7-Eleven on Broadway at East 12th Street and East 14th Street.)
In any event, nothing official has been released about the corner's future. But given NYC's current retail environment, you may want to get ready for the first national, non-bank chain/franchise on Avenue A. And probably not the last.