Caffébene Exec Predicts Coffee Revolution

John Barry

South Korea-based coffee chain Caffébene, which opened its first overseas store in Times Square in January 2012, will challenge Starbucks on its home turf with an aggressive expansion in the coming years, John Barry, the company’s director of franchise development, told Commercial Observer in an exclusive interview yesterday.

Mr. Barry spoke in the roomy 6,000-square foot flagship at Broadway and 49th Street where workers offered all visitors a free sample of tomato foccacia and patrons with laptops sipped coffee in an environment somehow worlds away from Times Square’s hustle and bustle and just a block away from the nearest Starbucks. Read More

ICSC 2014

Atlantic Terminal Mall Scores Three Lease Renewals

Atlantic Terminal Mall. (Flickr/Rich Mitchell photo edited)

Ten years after the opening of Atlantic Terminal shopping center three tenants have signed as-of-right renewals at the Downtown Brooklyn megamall, Commercial Observer learned.

The Children’s Place, Payless and Starbucks all renewed their leases for five or 10 years and are remodeling, Kathryn Welch, executive vice president at Forest City Ratner Companies, told CO at the International Council of Shopping CentersRECon. The Bruce Ratner-headed firm developed the project. Read More

ICSC 2014

New Yorkers’ Love/Hate Relationship With Chains

New Yorkers: Nuts for Five Guys.

New Yorkers like to fancy themselves sophisticates, but when it comes to chowing down on a Five Guys burger, chugging a Starbucks coffee or finding a clothing bargain at Nordstrom Rack, they often react like the rest of the nation: with giddy excitement.

Take the May 27 opening date for the first Manhattan Dairy Queen. Fans are stoked that the Midwestern Blizzard purveyor will come to 54 West 14th Street with a 110-seat eatery. And while Chick-fil-A has been catching heat for its president dissing gay marriage, local lovers of the nation’s largest chicken chain are happy it will expand in the city beyond its one location on the New York University campus. Read More

Lease Beat

Starbucks Leaves Grand Central for 425 Lexington

Getty Images

Having lost its 800-square-foot space in Grand Central Terminal’s Lexington Passage, Starbucks will be moving across the street. The coffee purveyor has signed a 15-year lease for a 1,300-square-foot retail space at 425 Lexington Avenue, Commercial Observer has learned.

Starbucks closed its Lexington Passage location earlier this month after losing out to Cafe Grumpy in the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s RFP process. The MTA has shifted its focus away from national chains and toward locally-owned businesses. Read More

Juiced Up

Behind the Juice Craze Pressing Through the City

(Illustration: Zina Saunders)

During one of his infamous Power Juicer infomercials from the early 1990s, a stunningly fit-for-his-age Jack LaLanne declared, “That’s the power of the juice!”

Mr. LaLanne, known as the Godfather of Fitness, lived to be 96 and swore that juicing had transformed him from an ill and frail teenager into the fitness extremist who, well into his golden years, took a liking to towing boats while swimming shackled and handcuffed. Read More

Lease Beat

Men’s Wearhouse Renews Forest Hills Lease


Muss Development has signed Men’s Wearhouse to a long-term, 6,300-square-foot renewal at 7000 Austin Street in Forest Hills, Queens, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The men’s retailer occupies retail space alongside Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Eddie Bauer and T.G.I Friday’s at the 78,939-square-foot mixed-use property. Allen Health Care and Bilinguals Inc. both occupy office space in the building.

Read More

On the Market

Former Bacchus Wine Location Hits the Block

2056 Broadway

Winick Realty Group is bringing a retail space at 2056 Broadway, between West 70th and West 71st Streets, to the market on behalf of the Brodsky Organization.

The retail at 2056 Broadway consists of a 900-square-foot ground floor and a 1,900-square-foot storage basement with 25 feet of frontage along Broadway. Read More

Chain Chain Chain

Growth of National Chains Slows Significantly in NYC

Photo: Jeremiah's Vanishing New York

Fewer national chains opened New York City locations between 2012 and 2013 than in any year since at least 2008 according to a report by the nonprofit research group Center for an Urban Future.

The slight 0.5 percent increase in the number of chain retail locations paled in comparison to the 2.4 percent spike between 2011 and 2012. In fact, there are currently fewer chains in Queens and Manhattan than last year, perhaps giving hope to critics of the city’s supposed transformation into an outdoor mall. Read More

On the Market

Former Bleecker Bob’s Space on the Market…Again [Updated]

The erstwhile Bleecker Bob's

Just seventh months after word spread that a frozen yogurt spot would replace the venerable Bleecker Bob’s record store, it seems that the Village retail space is back on the market.

Bleecker Bob’s closed in April after 46 years in business. Now, the store is speaking from beyond the grave–via Facebook–about the dissolution of Forever Yogurt‘s lease at 118 West 3rd Street. Read More

Lease Beat

Financial Printer Signs Hudson Square Relocation

345 Hudson Street

Command Financial Press has signed a new 28,484-square-foot lease at Trinity Real Estate’s 345 Hudson Street in Hudson Square – a relocation from its current offices located just blocks away at one of Trinity’s other properties.

The provider of financial printing solutions signed a 15-year lease for half of the fourth floor of the building Read More


Starbucks Crashes Tea Party with UES Teavana Store


Starbucks will expand into new territory with the opening of a 1,700-square-foot “tea bar” on the Upper East Side.

Teavana Fine Teas + Teavana Tea Bar opens tomorrow at 1142 Madison Avenue. The 11,000-store coffee giant bought the 300-store strong tea emporium brand last year. The Manhattan location will sell drinks priced between $3 and $6 and snacks and small plates between $3 and $15. Read More

On the Market

Eastern Markets $9.8 Million UES Mixed-Use Building

168 East 66th Street

A four-story mixed-use Upper East Side building is on the market for $9.8 million, The Commercial Observer has learned.

The 5,309-square-foot property at 1128 Third Avenue (aka 168 East 66th Street) is anchored by a ground-floor Starbucks. Current commercial tenants also include Tao Yoga & Tai Chai and a third-floor office user. In addition to the three commercial spaces, the building holds one residential apartment on the fourth floor. Read More

Wired City

Google to Wire 7,000 Starbucks


In a blog post last week, Google announced that it will be wiring all 7,000 company-operated Starbucks locations in the United States with Wifi.

The service will be free and rolled out to every location within the next 18 months.

Google claims that for most locations, the connection will be up to 10 times quicker than before. However, for those who live in a Google Fiber city, speeds will reach 100 times current speeds. Read More

ICSC 2013

Retail on the Rebound: Spirits High at ICSC Event

(Credit: LeVar Thomas)

In 2009 and 2010 “you could have rolled a bowling ball down the aisle” at the International Council of Shopping Centers’ RECon conference “and it wouldn’t have hit anybody,” Massey Knakal executive vice president of retail leasing Benjamin Fox told The Commercial Observer.

But when an estimated 33,000 real estate professionals converged upon one million Read More