The Westside Independent reports that new shops and restaurants—including a 7-Eleven and a possible Kosher eatery—are headed for the the west side of Amsterdam Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets, a couple of years after most of the stores on the block were vacated for development:
Retail Sprouting on Site of Failed 92nd Street Development
Retail business is finally coming back to the west side of Amsterdam Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets, a couple of years after most of the stores on the block were vacated for a failed development project and 14 months after new owners bought the property.
Within the next two months, a dog day care and activity center—Playground Pups—and a barbershop are scheduled to open, according to Ross Kaplan, of Newmark Knight Frank Retail. And within six months a 7-Eleven is expected to open at the corner of 93rd. Kaplan says that a kosher restaurant may be interested in another of the vacant spaces.
The new 7-Eleven is part of the company’s plans to expand its presence in New York City. As The Real Deal reported in July, 7-Eleven hopes to open 100 to 150 new stores in New York over the next three to five years, 10 of them in 2009. There are currently fewer than 50 7-Elevens in New York City and none on the Upper West Side.
Playground Pups, whose bright yellow awning just went up, will offer day care, grooming, boarding, and training, as well as “a pup boutique.” The owner, Gail Nord, worked for more than 20 years in audio post-production before deciding during last year’s economic downturn “that it was time to do what I really wanted.”
Nord loves dogs and lives in the neighborhood, which she says is “so full of dogs and somewhat underserved.” She hopes to hold an opening celebration for Playground Pups in mid-to-late October.
The new businesses will enliven a block that had become rather bleak. A children’s toy and clothing store, Little Extras, once stood at the corner of 93rd, along with a cobbler, a locksmith, a deli, and other small businesses. Today, only three of 11 storefronts are occupied, all by restaurants: Yuki Sushi, at the corner of 92nd, Lisca, and Talia’s Steakhouse.
The vacant storefronts at the base of the block’s two connected pre-war apartment buildings are the remants of developer Kent Swig’s quixotic plan to build nine-story luxury condominiums on steel stilts on top of the existing six-story buildings. Swig and his business partners bought the property in 2005 for $54 million, but after three years of developing architectural and engineering plans and fighting opposition from tenants and officials, they gave up and sold the property on June 30, 2008, for $61 million.
The new owners, Kaplan said, see the property as an asset rather than a development opportunity.
– Joshua J. Friedman
(photos by Joshua J. Friedman)