Photos and reporting by Stacie Joy
The future of Casa Adela at 66 Avenue C is potentially in jeopardy with a rent hike the owner says is not feasible.
Friends and supporters of the restaurant that has served authentic Puerto Rican cuisine here between Fourth Street and Fifth Street since 1976 sounded the alarm last week, reaching out to media outlets and local elected officials.
According to organizers and other published accounts, the building's landlord — a Housing Development Fund Corporation (HDFC) — is looking to increase the rent from $1,350 to, eventually, $6,750.
Nicholas Heller, aka @NewYorkNico, reported this:
The old lease expired a few years ago. Under it, they were paying $1350 per month for the 715 sq ft space. They offered their landlord, a limited equity HDFC cooperative, that they would start to pay $3000 per month, plus 3% increases for each year for 10 years. The landlord refused the offer: their bottom line is $4000 in year one (backdated to august) and $6,750 starting in year two of the lease, and 3% increases after that, which is a 480%+ increase in rent and sure to force the business to close.On Thursday, community members met at the restaurant and created a Save Casa Adela Committee.
According to Frank Gonzalez of Loisaida Realty, who helped organize the Save Casa Adela Committee, the two sides will meet today. [UPDATE: The meeting is now at 6 p.m. on 12/8]
"[We] hope they can work out a fair deal for our beloved Casa Adela," he said. "As of right now, we are praying for the best but preparing for the worst."
They previously scheduled a press conference at the restaurant for tomorrow and a rally on Saturday morning. Gonzalez said that depending on what happens today, they'll move forward with both events.
Adela Fargas started her namesake business here in 1976.
Before opening Casa Adela at 66 Avenue C, she ran a luncheonette one block to the south. It was there, as a feature in The New York Times from 2015 points out, that she perfected the seasoning for her famed rotisserie chicken.
She died in January 2018 at age 81.