Seen & Heard: Independence Plaza’s Statement About Best Market

••• A cautionary tale.

••• Preschool of Sciences, at Tribeca Synagogue, is on track to accept students to its preschool program starting next September.

••• This Sunday, November 4, Mendez Soho Salon is hosting a talk about the miniatures made by Tribeca artist Jane Freeman: “Her small-scale opera sets include scenes from The Magic Flute, Don Giovanni, and Turandot, while her ‘Reconstructed Paintings’ restore the third dimension to rooms painted by Matisse, Van Gogh, Edward Hopper and the imaginary jungle of Henri Rousseau. Literary images include faithful reproductions of scenes from Moby Dick, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre.” More info here.

••• Best Market wasted no time (see photo below). Also, I received an email from a PR company representing Vornado Realty Trust and Stellar Management:

We saw your article on Best Market’s closing at Independence Plaza and we were hoping you could update with a statement on behalf of Vornado and Stellar Management. We were not contacted beforehand so would appreciate the opportunity to comment.

Statement from a spokesperson on behalf of ownership:

“Vornado and Stellar Management are disappointed Best Market has declined ownership’s offer to extend their lease at Independence Plaza and will be vacating the space. Stellar and Vornado are actively pursuing tenants for the space that will be a benefit to the residents and the surrounding community.”

That part about not being contacted is rich, considering the companies’ unresponsiveness in the past. Anyway, time will tell how much of the statement is cant. You will recall that these are the companies that aren’t renewing a school’s lease and have left many prime storefronts vacant for four years and counting.

••• The SAG-AFTRA actors’ union is holding a bake sale at 32 Sixth Ave. tomorrow as part of its strike against ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty: “The agency has been signed to the union’s Commercials Contract for almost 20 years, but they now claim the union agreement doesn’t apply to them. Members have been instructed to not accept any work for BBH, which is illegally attempting to abandon its union contract with SAG-AFTRA.” Why a bake sale? According to SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, “Because this global ad agency says it can no longer pay actors a fair wage or ensure safe working conditions, we’re helping them out with a BBH Bake Sale.” Rule #53: Never screw over anyone who has a lot of free time.

••• Every year, I wonder whether Community Board 1 should really allow the closing of a street for a private party. When a school, church, or synagogue has thrown a street event, the public is invited.



  1. Would love a Trader Joe’s to open in that location.

  2. So no supermarket in TriBeCa – what the?

  3. The Collister Street private Halloween party is just gross, elitism at its worst.

  4. The Yearly Collister Halloween party and private street closure seems to get worse every year. Velvet Ropes, bouncers with clipboards at either end end of the street, booze flowing freely, yet somehow it continues to go on year after year. Those who live in the building are asked to identify themselves in order to even approach their own home, and everyone who walks by is left with a terrible taste in their mouths as to what Tribeca has sadly become.

    The event might be less vomit inducing if the aging attendees could show some level of class or grace instead of pretending they are somehow attractive in their “slutty witch, ghoul, policewoman, etc costumes.” Good for a passerby laugh, but have a bit of self respect, if not for yourself, than maybe for your children. As it stands, and has for the past 3 or 4 years the event is an embarrassment to the attendees, the organizers and the neighborhood of Tribeca alike.

  5. As there is already a TJ’s on Spring between Varick and Sixth Ave., I doubt they’ll open another one here. But I’d be happy with a D’Agostino or Key Food or Brooklyn Fare … any place I can buy common household items and ready-to-go food. When I first moved here there was a pizza parlor, a deli, a dry cleaner, a sushi restaurant, a coffee & cake place …. now, there’s just an over-priced Duane Reade on the plaza. Not a single amenity. Nothing to make your life easier. No wonder there are so many IPN vacancies.

  6. Does anyone know the time limit of declaring unrented commercial real estate could be deducted as a loss? It seems Stellar has been taking a “loss” for about four years. I see that the storefronts on the Duane Reade block have been cleaned up and painted and ready for leasing so maybe time is up and it does coincide with Best Market’s departure.

    • “Several small business owners suggested that landlords receive a tax deduction by leaving stores vacant – a sort of ‘hardship’ benefit for dealing with the loss in rent revenue from a vacant store. In speaking to tax experts and reviewing the state tax code, we were not able to identify any such deduction, leading us to conclude this is likely pervasive misinformation.”

      New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, “Bleaker A Snapshot of Greenwich on Bleecker HighVillage Rent and Blight in Chelsea,” May 2017

      • well it might not be a loss but you don’t have to pay taxes on rent that you didn’t collect.

        a more interesting question would be, “do landlords borrow against a revenue stream based on projected rents of vacant property as collateral?”

        • 1. Nobody pays taxes on money they did not earn.

          2. Most owners borrow against a projected income stream, because lenders also want a return on their investment. Hence borrowers’ reluctance to lower rents permanently versus expectation instead of staying banana and hoping against hope.

        • Here’s a great article from last year on some of these retail games:

          In the wake of the last financial crisis, landlords used a toolbox of tactics to make their properties appear more valuable than they truly were. As headlines focused on the record rents retail owners were fetching, the behind-the-scenes concessions that were justifying those higher dollar figures often remained under wraps. That misrepresentation made many investors and lenders increasingly bullish on a market with serious flaws.

          While rental prices have not dropped significantly — perhaps because landlords are propping them up with the help of concessions — store vacancies have been rampant throughout the city, and retailers are getting financially crushed nationwide.


          But while rental concessions are included in the fine print of leases (or in lease riders) and are disclosed to buyers and lenders, they’re generally not publicized.

          As a result, in many cases the pricey rents retailers are forking over to New York landlords should come with an asterisk.


          In some cases, a landlord will agree to pay a tenant’s rent at a different location if the tenant agrees to a higher rent — often because the inflated rent roll will increase the value of the building. And that can have a big impact if the building is sold, both on the price and on setting market benchmarks.


          ”Economist Sam Chandan, the associate dean of NYU’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, said properties can undoubtedly appear more valuable than they truly are.

          “‘All else equal, a property with more income will command a higher price. But the market sometimes misses what it costs to get that income stream,’ he said. And that, he said, means ‘values can be distorted.’

          “A former Crown Acquisitions employee, who asked not to be named, said fee structures are another reason landlords push face rents up at almost any cost.

          “Landlords such as Crown, Thor and Sutton’s Wharton Properties act as fund managers, pooling money from wealthy families and institutions to buy properties. Their contracts with investors typically include ‘promotes,’ which give them a share of profits beyond a certain threshold when they go to sell. The higher the property’s on-paper income, the higher the promote.”


          “Vornado and its partners financed the purchase of 650 Madison with an $800 million financing package from Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.

          “But as of July 2017, the building’s income was 30-plus percent below what it was underwritten at ‘due to the loss of Crate & Barrel, which led to a steep decline in rent from underwriting,’ according to Trepp. (A source close to the owners disputed Trepp’s numbers, saying the property’s retail rental income is significantly higher today than it was with Crate & Barrel as a tenant.)

          “Meanwhile, the building’s expenses have surged more than 34 percent because of the steep hike in the city’s property tax bill.

          “The loans mature in 2020. Like many other Manhattan landlords, Vornado and its partners are now in the market for a higher-paying tenant.

          “Whether they overpaid for 650 Madison may depend on what happens in the market going forward and when they sell, but in the meantime they may need to throw in more incentives to lock in another flagship store.”

  7. What’s wrong with a private party? Everyone needs to be invited to everything all the time? Do you also think that both teams should receive “participation trophies?”

    • The issue isn’t the concept of a private party is it? There was no suggestion that anyone wanted to be invited or hang out with the bad botox crew and their offspring. If you had bothered to read the article or the comments, you’d have realized that the issue is with unlawful un-permitted private closure of a public street and, blocking residents from accessing their own front door, keeping residents from using the street. It seems from your inability to comprehend the written word that you were the recipient of a participation trophy or two along the way or maybe one too many inflated grades in English class.

      For the record you are absolutely permitted to hold all the Plato’s retreat type private parties you’d like in the comfort and privacy of your own home (that’s a NYC reference look it up) and trust me, no one uninvited will complain much less wish to attend.

  8. Wow rip to the only affordable grocery in the neighborhood. Another huge loss.