Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lost their Lease (NYC Economy Snapshop, Part 1)

The picture on the left is of the Health Nuts, formerly at Broadway and 75th Street. I always loved this store, with its shelves stocked to the 14' (at least) ceilings. It was a small store, where you knew the people and things were still priced with a sticker gun. This picture was taken on Feb 28th 2008. The store closed shortly thereafter and has been vacant since. The manager, David, opened up the Vitamin Peddler on Amsterdam after The Health Nuts closed, though the variety of his offerings is significantly smaller than before.

I was searching for a little more information about David, and found an incredible article from the West Side Spirit called "Closed For Business," which looked at how many stores in the UWS are sitting empty:

To discover exactly how the financial climate has affected businesses, West Side Spirit conducted a survey on Feb. 20 of Broadway, Amsterdam and Columbus avenues from 59th to 110th streets and discovered a total of 103 empty, on-the-avenue lots. Five more had announced their imminent closure and 11 others were closed but planned to open with new shops in the month ahead. Overall, 8.44 percent of individual stores on these three avenues stood empty that day. Amsterdam was the worst off, with nearly a tenth of its lots unoccupied. [Full Article]

I always find it a cruel twist of fate when a store, like the Health Nuts, closes from being being priced out. The area is what it is (desireable, profitable, etc) because of places like this: Small shops with good products, salespeople with heart and experience that offer solid advice, yet somehow don't need to mark up everything to a "luxury" price point. In short: Stores with a soul.

So now The Health Nuts is gone, which is clearly a loss for the neighborhood. With nothing in its place, there is a loss for the local economy, the neighborhood offerings, neighborhood appeal, security and other intangibles. Whoever owns 2141 Broadway has lost over a year's worth of rent due to greedy aspirations. And now the market has taken such a hit that they'd be lucky to get a tenant to pay whatever the Health Nuts was paying before, and surely would have continued to pay.

Link Closed For Business [West Side Spirit]

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