Photo from March 11 by Steven
Cooper Union, the landlord of four popular businesses along Stuyvesant Street between Ninth Street and Third Avenue, says the tenants have "informed us of their decision to vacate the property." The landlord also said the tenants haven't paid any rent since 2020.
Yesterday afternoon, school officials responded to reports that the tenants — Angel's Share, Village Yokocho, Panya Bakery and Sunrise Mart, all operated by Yoshida Restaurant Group — were involved in a rent dispute, that the long-term leases were set to expire at the end of the month.
The story began this past Wednesday night when a server at Village Yokocho told a customer, and New York Times correspondent Alex Vadukul, they were closing "due to [a] massive rent hike." Vadukul, a gifted reporter, recounted what he heard from staff in a series of tweets that sparked several follow-up stories, including at Grub Street and Gothamist (and EVG).
In a statement to EVG, a Cooper Union spokesperson provided the following:
Unfortunately, the tenant informed us of their decision to vacate the property. They were not asked to move out, despite the fact that they haven't paid any rent since 2020.Additionally, we offer clarification of a few facts here:• The formula for calculating rent on these properties has been in place for some 30 years and has never been changed.• While the tenants of these properties have not made any rent payments since 2020, they have continued operations in these spaces. We have repeatedly sought to arrive at a good-faith agreement.• Lastly, for context, we should note that The Cooper Union is midway through a 10-year plan to return to full-tuition scholarships for all undergraduates. These properties help to generate revenue for student scholarships.
It's not immediately clear if any of the businesses will relocate (several workers said this in previous reports). A bartender told this to Grub Street's Chris Crowley late last week: "There's an 85 percent chance that we close. It's okay, though, because we're gonna relocate."
Yoshida Restaurant Group has not publically commented on future plans for these businesses.
This corridor has been called a micro-center of Japanese culture. Angel's Share, the speakeasy-style bar, opened here in 1994, with Panya arriving next door in the same year. Sunrise Mart debuted in 1995. There are now also locations in Soho, Midtown and Brooklyn.
Cooper Union did not respond to a follow-up email about what might be next for these retail spaces.
Updated 3/17: The Cooper Union spokesperson said that the school had no new plans for a new building here.