Friday, March 6, 2020

'The Icon variable'

Been meaning to note this long read from Curbed titled "The story of a store."

The piece explores the city's retail vacancy or the "luxury blight" crisis ... with a focus 0n 441-445 E. Ninth St. (aka 145 Avenue A), the six-story building that Icon Realty bought in 2014 for $10.1 million.

As we documented at the time, the existing retail tenants that made up the charming row of storefronts on the Ninth Street side were either not offered lease renewals or given massive rent hikes.

Meanwhile, all but one of the new tenants (four of five) who rented the Icon-renovated retail spaces were gone within a year. The casualties included BeetleBug, the floral design shop, Mahalo New York Bakery and Gelarto.

Writer Neil deMause talked with one of those tenants, Isiah Michael, who opened the Classic Man Barber Lounge in 2018. Per the article:

An investment banker who’d gone to barbering school, Michael thought he could make a go of it in the paired storefronts, even if the rent was a bit higher than he’d anticipated.

"What we didn’t expect was the Icon variable," he says. A series of mishaps — malfunctioning air conditioning, a continually flooding basement, and an unannounced electrical upgrade that Michael claims cost him and his partner $30,000 in lost equipment and inventory — led to legal battles with his landlord, and ultimately an eviction notice last February.

When Michael offered to bring over a lease payment he had been withholding in a dispute over repair costs, he says, Icon “responded saying they were terminating the lease.”

You can read the post at this link.

As for this building, there are three new tenants on the way in: Ralph's Famous Italian Ices & Ice Cream ... Village Crêperie ... and Social Tees.

Hopefully they won't suffer from the "Icon variable."

Previously on EV Grieve:
On East 9th Street Dusty Buttons is closing after 125% rent hike: 'Saying goodbye will hurt like hell'

The Upper Rust is moving away from East 9th Street and the East Village


Anonymous said...

NYC needs to change tax laws .. they should only let Landlord take a tax break on vacant store front for 6 months and then no longer until it has been rented 2 years

noble neolani said...

I have stated this before but I will not support any business that rents commercial space in an ICON building. I feel sorry for any small business which signs a lease optiistically believing they can fulfill a lifetime dream. The odds and Icon are against them. I learned something from a boss from my earlier years when my friend was looking to open a store. He told me to spend some time for several days to note who walks by that retail space and if they could possibly be a client. A landlord is not going to tell you that the neighborhood has 6 frozen treat places within a few blocks, that for the new business owner to discover. I would also suggest speaking with nearby businesses and ask them about the street, this kind of information is important and can prevent you from making a costly mistake.

Neighbor said...

They just finished doing the exact same thing to 23 Avenue B. At least they finally cleaned the graffiti that they let build up as the stores vacated. Begs the question of what they are doing now...

Anonymous said...

I do not shop at ANY business that's located in an Icon-owned building, period. Sorry, small business owners, but not a penny of my money is ever going into the pockets of those SOB's if I can help it.

Anonymous said...