Real estate agents slapped a “for rent” sign on the side of the always-packed Starbucks on 67th street and Columbus Avenue several days ago, and it looks certain now that the coffee shop will be closing and relocating in the not-too-distant future.
As we previously reported, Starbucks is planning to open a new store at 141 Amsterdam Avenue between between 66th and 67th streets, the former home of Furry Paws pet store. This Starbucks on Columbus will close, employees have told customers, who have relayed the news to us. Starbucks spokespeople haven’t responded to our request for comment, so we can’t confirm it 100%.
In any case, it looks like the company balked at paying the asking rent of $140,550 a month. If the rent’s too high for Starbucks, what phase of gentrification are we in now?! And what company will be able to afford it?
That amount of rent would require $600 per hour of sales just to meet that figure. Then you have to go above that to pay staff, product and then above that to make a profit. How is that possible for any business. Are you sure that is not a yearly rent?
That is the monthly rent, the link takes you to the greedy realtors page.
Not sure how you get to $600 per hour. They are open 20 hours a day (5am to 1am). My calculation based on 140k divided by 30 days put the rent at about $234 for every hour they are open….. Still astronomically high for any business.
Just for clarification, it’s not the “greedy realtor”…..it’s the greedy landlord and the city that’s probably collecting a pretty penny in real estate taxes for this property.
And that’s just for rent. You need to add onto that cost of goods sold, labor, etc. So take the 234 and hour and multiply it by 4 for starters. You are talking $1000 an hour just to break even.
Thanks for the clarification. I did not realize they were open that long each day. Still a ridiculous amount of money.
There is a simple reason commercial rents are outrageously high on the UWS.
The building Starbucks is in is filled with rent-controlled tenants on the upper levels. The landlord, meanwhile, has building maintenance and taxes to pay. Since these costs can’t be passed on to the residential tenants (because their rents are capped by law) they are passed onto commercial tenants in the form of higher rents.
“Community activists” complain that rents are too high for small businesses to exist on the UWS. Now even Starbucks can’t pay the rent.
This is NYC progressive politics at its best!
Seriously? Give me a break! I am so sick of the phony rent-stabilization attacks. Such unmitigated BS.
Rent control tenants (a tiny tiny sector of tenants) have had recent rent increases and supplements that have increased rent revenues to the greedy squid landlords even more than rent stabilized guidelines. Developers are destroying the value they are purchasing. Is this logical? Only to those who Trumpet their mythical intelligence. May they all suffer together with Dante!
Oh, so if the owner had market rate tenants in all of the apartments, the retail rent would be lower? That is the dumbest thing I have heard all day.
The building has market units and rent stabilized units. I do not believe any rent controlled tenants remain?
Actually long-time landlords generally do OK with this sort of configuration.
However, people who are speculating – recent purchases of property to either “turn over” for a quick profit or to vacate the rent regulated residents to fill with market – have a different financial situation.
Another scenario here might be that the landlord seeks to empty the building for a teardown and replace with another luxury high-rise?
That’s BS. It’s across from a live television studio and can command the higher rent.
We could use another Chase in the neighborhood <-heavy sarcasm
It’s not as if this would be the first Starbucks to close on the Upper West Side. There were the large ones on Broadway & 87th (that’s the first Starbucks I can remember) and Broadway & 102nd. (Both sites became banks.) Of course others, some much smaller, eventually opened as well. And one opened at Broadway & 98th and then also closed (now a yogurt shop).
The one now closing is unusual in that it stayed open rather late — till 1 a.m., last time I checked.
High end goods should swing it.
Maybe the federal reserve will move in. They can pay the ridiculously super high rent since they print money out of thin air…but seriously, no business can thrive at that cost. Perhaps they just wanted SB out, and will most likely sell the building to a developer. It’s a crappy building, not worth it, not even at this location.
“coffee chop” — belushi snl samurai skit?
To be fair, that Starbucks was awful. They got rid of most of their tables a few years ago and it was constantly packed with people standing in the huge line.
Hopefully the Amsterdam location will be an improvement, seating-wise.
More seats will only mean more homeless and squatters. Not sure you want more seats. Starbucks has caught on to that – no need to let people use your electric bill and internet and AC and milk and water for free.
If that’s the case, then shame on Starbucks. Homeless people should have a place to sit in out of the sun and have access to free water/bathrooms. Who the hell are you? I’ve noticed the codes being put on bathrooms for the first time in years at different Starbucks locations. Shame on them.
So, tell me, then, Ms. Rogers, how many homeless individuals have you invited into your home or business to use the facilities?
As to your question, so gracefully posed to another poster, of “Who the hell are you?”, it will suffice to say the following. Whomever you were referring-to is someone with just as much right as you to comment here. Unlike yourself, however, I did not notice David Collins or Woody (the two individuals whom your pointed question could have been directed at) lash-out at anyone here in the rude manner that you did at them.
It’s always the “nice” politically correct people who end up with righteous name-calling and throwing punches. Go figure.
Rogers thinks it is the duty of someone who wants to operate a business in the US to allow homeless people to use the bathroom.
Emily Rogers, then perhaps you can open your apartment to the homeless when they need to cool down or heat up or take a crap or have a safe place to spend the night. At least them into your building and hang out in the lobby and urinate in peace. Who the hell do you think YOU are?
Beautifully said David. I literally LOL
Do establishments such as Starbucks at least restrict the usage of their facilities to customers?
I’d be most concerned about the bathrooms…
Starbucks IS America’s bathroom
LOL Woody. Once you wrote it I knew it was a great phrase. I’m a NYC walking tour guide who has a lot of sympathy for the good people behind the counter who work so hard for so little to keep paying customers happy. Increasingly, they are now also responsible for things such as bathroom-related situations, non-paying customers who take up the seats of paying customer. And I don’t mean just homeless. In the bigger Starbucks I see people waltz in, fire up their laptops without ever buying something. Lastly, I have great sympathy for the homeless but many have mental health issues and could endanger the welfare of customers leading to a suit against Starbucks in our absurdly litigious society.
You won’t get much agreement on that from this crowd. Upper Westsiders think it’s the responsibility of businesses to provide for the homeless and downtrodden. They make too much money and have to spread it around.
It is not to high for Starbucks.
What Starbucks has been doing for a couple of years now is to leverage its brand recognition and move to cheaper locations when rents are up, usually from locations on corners or on prime avenues that helped it build its brand to locations on side streets and a less non-corner locations with cheaper rent but where customers will continue to go since they are no hooked on Starbucks either by habit or because of the Starbucks app or because its still the only place near their apartment where they can pay $2.50 for a cup of coffee and spend four hours with AC and hooked up to the internet and with a bathroom.
Why would Starbucks pay $140K for that spot when it can get a spot not even 100 yards away for say $70K, if it is going to loose minimal business or non at all.
@David, can you confirm that “customers will continue to go …because its still the only place near their apartment”
I thought customers were from away, and thus the term “Starbucks Hobo”.
I hope the place goes unrented for 2 years.
A strip club would be a good addition to this area and they could easily afford the rent
Well, I can think of worse things…
But at least let it be discreet, including in the advertising.
And, of course, make sure that the women aren’t mistreated in any way.
BTW, have any of the self-proclaimed champions of women ever protested the “Gentleman’s Entertainment” Ads on the cabs?
Perfect!!!! I could then die in peace.
this is by far the best comment so far! yes, if this comes to fruition i promise to be a loyal patron
Hard to imagine with ABC across the street and York Prep a block away and Century 21 and the Apple Store that it closed. I hope it stays empty forever (not) but look at Duane Reade on Broadway between 83/84 closed almost 4 years ago and all that is there is Spirit of Halloween every year for a few months. DO the landlords get tax breaks to keep spaces empty? Just gross
I own a building on the UWS with a commercial tenant and believe me there is no incentive for keeping the space vacant. In fact with the enormous real estate taxes I have to pay as well as insurance and maintenance any time the space is not rented is a huge loss for me.
What many people don’t realize is that the city raises real estate taxes for commercial buildings every single year and most tenants have leases that have to absorb tax increases thus thats why prices in NYC go up every year. Thus entrees at many restaurants are now in the $30. range and a glass of wine is $16.
True, no cap on real estate taxes for commercial property. My taxes doubled in the last 4 years. Of course that needs to be passed on to the tenants (as in 99% of NYC commercial leases)
If the NYC government wants to keep small businesses healthy, they should put a cap on the amount that commercial real estate taxes can rise each year (like every other community in NYS), but commercial real estate taxes are considered a cash cow by NYC legislators and they don’t care who gets screwed.
…so it’s a gubmint tax thing.
Are you that disconnected from the realities of real estate (and for-profit business in general) that you actually think such tax breaks exist?
Unless you’re willing to put your money on the line and invest in an income-producing asset that comes with no guarantees, you should appreciate that others do.
But Woody, landlords DO get to deduce the losses from keeping their property vacant.
No, that’s not how it works. There is no ‘deduction’ for not having a tenant. Landlords don’t benefit from vacant rental space – there’s no income coming in.
If you think it works otherwise, then maybe you can provide an accounting scenario about how it’s advantageous to keep a property empty while paying real estate taxes, utilities, insurance, etc.
The question, how is it possible that spaces could be vacant for so long, is easily answered when you consider that all of these properties are owned by multi billion dollar conglomerates (REITS) who can easily afford to wait, even if they lose money. REITs are killing the country because they are forcing prices up. Back in the day, an owner couldn’t wait 2 years to rent a property, now they do it without blinking. There should be a law that every building owned by a reit has to have a placard on the front indicating that ownership. REITS are truly destructive things, like a disease, and hardly anyone knows a thing about them.
The scenario is of a landlord wanting rents higher than the current market. While he holds the vacant space, he deducts those things like mortgage that you mentioned.
Just screws the neighborhood.
For some property-owners in Manhattan (UWS included) there is clearly some benefit and/or goal in keeping commercial space vacant….
On the UWS specifically, there are a number of spaces where long-time businesses left due to rent increases and the spaces have been vacant now for years – the former RCI appliance store space on Broadway and 98th and the former coffee shop on 86th Street an Columbus are two such examples.
Yes, but they’re still losses. A business is taxed on its profits. If it’s not profitable there’s nothing to tax. It never makes sense to lose money “just for the write off”. (There may be other reasons, however.)
The landlord deducts his loss on the vacant space while pricing the rent for a later rental. So there is an incentive.
uWs/Columbus Ave is turning in Madison Ave
Any restaurant that closes is usually replaced with fashion/beauty store.
The new location at 66th and Amsterdam seems like an odd place for a Starbucks to me. Not a lot of night life or other comparable retail/dining in the area. It’s across from a fire station and a high school. I suppose it will be filled with students when school lets out daily. Other than that…?
Just moved from The Upper West Side 88th and Columbus after living there and have had a business there for 46 years. This is not garden variety Gentrification…it will get worse than you can ever imagine
It has been shocking to see the surge and expansion of upscale bakeries, shops, a “cool” exercise place, offices for Trevor day school, etc, on 87-88th streets and Columbus over the past few years – especially as there are so many moderate and middle income residential buildings (rather than luxury)on Columbus 89th – 96th Street.
The change in Manhattan over the past 8 years or so is truly “luxurification” – it is beyond “gentrification.”
If you have specific predictions for what is to come, would appreciate hearing.
America has been undergoing “luxurification” since the Great Depression. Retailers just respond to what people buy. What is happening here is no different than what is happening in most modern big cities.
It’s All Good. Everybody’ Doing it. Everywhere.
Hey, remember back in the day when Starbucks first moved into the space and you all cried about how the neighborhood was being gentrified and how Starbucks would attract YUPPIES and drive out all of the small guys selling coffee?
Gentrification takes off!
I CAN imagine.
And the community is sitting by and just watching it happen.
Nice name AND thank you for being a part of the community for 46 years.
Danny’s, what do you propose the community should do to stop this gentrification? Retail rent limits? What purpose would that serve? I’d like to have mom & pops stores in the neighborhood but I can’t blame a landlord for renting to whoever is willing to pay the most rent.
Restrict store size to be appropriate to the location.
There are many buildings in Manhattan and even within a block of Columbus Avenue with rent regulated apartments upstairs that have no expensive commercial spaces downstairs. How they deal with this is not clear to me, but it certainly is not by raising the street level rents. Which they don’t have. But there are so many empty stores on Columbus lately: something is wrong with the RE equation.
Real Estate is dependent on the Finance Industry. After 30 years on Wall Street, I could write a book.
In other news: The market continues to work as expected. Landlords are free to ask whatever rent they want, and business are free to agree to pay it or not.
…only leaving the people out. Well who needs neighborhood anyway?
People are free to do as they wish. You needn’t be concerned with what consenting adults do in the privacy of their own…offices.
I believe that you may have confused personal freedom and social welfare.
Just sayin’ what?
…social good be damned????
Economic freedom is just as important as any of our other freedoms. Just sayin’.
Maybe another Olma Caviar & Champagne bar like the one at 80th & Amsterdam will open in this location. There’s far too few caviar and champagne bars on the UWS. LOL!
These increases in rent are purposely made exorbitant to induce the tenant to make the decision to leave on their own.
I am certain that this spot and the one next to it will not be occupied by a 99 cents store.
If these free market advocates are right, then clearly there aren’t a lot of businesses with the means to “choose” to pay these rents, so the rents should come down. But it doesn’t appear that they do come down, since the spaces remain disused, sometimes for years.
If these tax write-off scam theorists are right, there ought to be some way of proving that and I’d like to be directed to that proof, please?
There’s no “scam”. If you don’t make a profit, you don’t pay taxes. Profit = revenue – expenses. Am empty storefront has a non-zero cost. The landlord is still paying for a mortgage, real estate taxes, and maintenance. Even if all those costs were zero, there’s the opportunity cost of not collecting rent while the store is vacant. A landlord is ONLY losing money by leaving a unit vacant.
So, the reason a landlord might choose to leave a unit vacant must be that a short-term is worth it for a long-term gain. If the landlord thinks rents will keep rising quickly maybe he doesn’t want to enter into a long-term contract (> 10 years) when waiting a while might result in a much higher rent. Or maybe he’d like to sell the building to a developer who will want the building vacant. There may be other reasons.
But a tax deduction is never the reason. By that logic you could save on taxes by being unemployed. Yes, you’d pay less in taxes, but it’s not a benefit to you.
Yeah your business income taxes go down BECAUSE YOU MADE LESS MONEY!
What about the exorbitant NYC real estate taxes? Still gotta pay those whether you have a tenant or not.
Hate those gubment taxes, doncha? That’s the problem here?
Not is it by accident that deductions for losses and mortgage payments benefit the Real Estate Industry and not the unemployed. But level the field for the most vulnerable?
Nathan, your logic and facts are not welcome here.
Didn’t you know… the laws don’t apply to them because they are GREEDY and EVIL! They should be made to pay for my medical bills for my tired arm after I shake my fist at them all day, too!
Maybe the landlord wants to empty out the building by charging incredibly high rents and then sell it to a developer who will build just what the UWS doesn’t need, another overpriced high-rise building that will add to the congestion and the stock of unaffordable housing. Just saying!
The landlord asking for $140k for that space is in for a rude awakening and seriously out of touch. That’s 1.7 million a year just in rent. Comes out to about $8 million dollars in sales just to break even for a place there.
The escalation in rents everywhere in NYC is a drag on the economy. What food business can afford these prices? The only ones making money are commercial real estate interests. This cannot be continued.
“lisa” claimed that the RCI appliance store that for many years had been located on Broadway at 98th Street went out of business as a result of a rent increase. According to Khushboo Dhanani of said business, however, that was not the case. In posts to a WSR story from October 2014 about the closing of RCI, Ms. Dhanani wrote,
(bold-text emphasis mine- Ind.)
By the way, has anyone else noticed how many of the sponsored entries on WSR are Ads for luxury real estate? Am I the only one to find irony in this? (The question is especially directed at “lisa”, “dannyboy” and everyone else who has condemned luxury development on the UWS.)
(For the record, I don’t necessarily support luxury development myself, at least not in all cases. My personal views on the matter, however, whatever they may actually be*, are beside the point here.)
(*I will just mention that my views on matters concerning real estate on the UWS tend to be nuanced and generally fall somewhere between those of the two polarized camps that seem to dominate here. Anyone checking the record would find that, in addition to my recent posts that could be seen as defending real estate interests, I have made a number of posts in the past in which I expressed concern over and even criticism of what has appeared to me to be out-of-control development, the so-called “free market” and the power of landlords.)
Thank you for sharing the information.
The rent issue was cited by people who live in the building and some involved in the community board. It is good to know that the landlord was supportive.
Your question about WSR ads? Not sure if I think it is ironic that there are ads related to luxury real estate. There are other ads as well – Richie’s Burgers/Schatzie the Butcher, Broadway Exterminating, Alliance Francaise etc.
Also other lisas comment on WSR – it is a common name – so prudent I think not to make assumptions
“Independent” wrote: “Am I the only one to find irony in this? (The question is especially directed at llisa’, “’dannyboy’…”
I do not find it ironic. The luxury real estate industry has the dough, while stores like Murray’s rely on a good product, loyal customers, and word-of-mouth. Of course Murray’s doesn’t need to get investors for their product. Investors from China and other faraway places.
Slapping a “for rent” sign above a thriving business seems to be a new thing. There’s on above Bella Luna at 88th & Columbus, and another one above Ricki’s at 83rd & Columbus. Are landlords now intimidating existing businesses by slapping for “rent signs” above their heads? It just looks so tacky and cheap, and can’t be good for the existing tenants.
In response to the matter of luxury units that are purchased by investors and remain vacant, which has been raised:
I have argued repeatedly, in past posts, that a situation in which the ordinary people who live and work here have to compete with the wealthiest people in the world for such a limited amount of real estate cannot be considered natural or wholesome. (I don’t claim to have the answers, though, to what is clearly an extremely difficult and highly complex and complicated problem.) That said, the high number of luxury units that remain vacant most of the time (whether owned by people who rarely use them or investors) also has a real benefit to the area: Just imagine how much more crowded and congested the neighborhood and the City would be at any given time if most of those units were occupied.
(To preempt those who would point-to the fact that the population of the City, or at least of Manhattan, was actually considerably higher in the past: That argument does not take into consideration the total of number of persons— including commuters and tourists– present in Manhattan on any given day. That number, I am fairly certain, is still considerably higher today.)
Apropos, as well, to many arguments made in comments here and related threads:
2Kevins with Grace & Steel, Episode 38:Is the Free Market Really Free?
Hosts Kevin Michael Grace and Kevin Steel discuss Hilaire Belloc’s The Servile State, an attack on capitalism from the right.
BTW, I like the title of this story; Jimmy McMillan was a hoot.
Yet another canard from “Independent” used to justify the building of super-luxury highrises. Now, as this argument goes, we should accept that vacant apartments are preferable to occupied apartments.
“Independent” have you considered that incenting the building of luxury highrises for investment is not good for our neighborhood?
There are entire Chinese cities built, but not occupied./
Maybe they should charge the oligarchs stashing millions in New York condos to pay $1,000 a cup?
none ,let the greedy owners go penniless to the bank .xx
The biggest joke is NYC Small Business Service. You have staffers who are political appointees with fancy titles like “capacity building” and nobody at the agency knows what that means. You call SBS to address empty store fronts and more rhetoric is told to you by all the political hacks Deblasio hired. Even worse is NYCEDC which is a disservice to all small business in NYC. Both of these city agencies should be closed down since they are a waste to the tax payers of NYC.
Its amazing that people are complaining that a Starbucks is closing! oh, the gentrification….lmao, Starbucks is the epitome of gentrification.
That’s so last stage. Think “Luxurification”.
Such a bargain!
Banks and drug store. They are the most desirable tenents and seems to be the only ones able to afford the high asking prices.
hilarious. guess the arson is coming soon. just like the good old days.
I’m a native New Yorker and I’ve lived on the Upper West Side my entire adult life. It is absolutely gut-wrenching to read some of the comments here that are pro over-development.
Yes, it is a free-market society, so theoretically if you charge it, someone will always be there to pay it. But we are a city of people. A city of cultures. A city of artists and musicians and writers who are the soul at its center, and if they cannot afford to live here, this city will die.
This city needs to be rescued from the greedy needy corporate warlords who inflict their banal tastes and
sad architecture on us – raping, pillaging and condemning this island to be a colorless mass, a grey mall stretching into
eleven miles of overpriced mediocrity.