Ess-a-Bagel, which has anchored the corner of First Avenue and East 21st Street since 1976, is being forced out of its longtime home.
According to Sabina Mollot at the Town & Village Blog, none of the restaurants on that corner — Ess-A-Bagel, Grill 21 and Rose Restaurant — are getting their leases renewed.
Per the article:
David Wilpon, the owner of Ess-A-Bagel said the longtime bagel joint may be moving somewhere close by but it’s nowhere near a done deal. “There’s a lot that’s up in the air,” he said, adding that he’s still holding out some hope of staying put. He’s also requesting a holdover and is in the midst of negotiations.
Wilpon said the trouble with his lease started when his aunt, Florence Wilpon, who’d founded the businesses in 1976, died. This was in September, 2013 during the midst of negotiations for a renewal. After that, while the family was dealing with the will and related issues, “They claimed we weren’t getting back to them in a timely fashion.”
The landlord, L&M Development Partners, reportedly already has a Bank of America and Tower Bagels fitted for the Ess-a-Bagel space.
And this sounds familiar: "Wilpon chalked up the impending closure as part of the pattern of the city’s landlords preferring to oust mom-and-pops in the hopes of getting a corporation that can pay more."
Head over to the Town & Village Blog for more details.
There's a second Ess-A-Bagel at 831 Third Ave. in Midtown East.
Updated 6:08 p.m.
A spokesperson for East 21 Retail LLC sent us the following statement:
"When we purchased the property, our main priority was to keep Ess-A-Bagel as a tenant. Ess-A-Bagel is a tradition in this city and we had no desire to see them leave. In the three years since, we’ve bent over backwards to come to a mutually fair agreement with Ess-A-Bagel’s owners. Our offer would have allowed Ess-A-Bagel to remain — and even gave them the option to expand — in the space they are in currently. Unfortunately, it takes two sides to make a deal, and Ess-A-Bagel’s owners repeatedly refused to meet us between their below-market rent and current market value.
We regret that Ess-A-Bagel chose to misrepresent our intentions in the press. We take our responsibility as landlords very seriously and worked diligently to keep Ess-A-Bagel as a tenant. At a meeting in September, Ess-A-Bagel confirmed they were actively negotiating a lease at a new location. We wish them the best of luck in all their future endeavors."
H/T Brian Van