Friday, June 10, 2011

Main Street Retail On Roosevelt Island Takes One More Step Closer To The Future - Hudson/Related Master Leasehold Retail Team Takes Tour This Afternoon

As reported in this May 19 post:

At yesterday's May Board meeting, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Board of Directors  approved this:
Authorization to Enter into Master Sublease Agreement for Main Street Retail Space with Hudson/Related Realty
The deal is not yet done. The final contract has still to be executed...
Today, a team from Hudson/Related including Hudson Principal David Kramer and a group of engineering, retail and architectural professionals were on Roosevelt Island

 Image of David Kramer (in blue shirt) and Hudson Related Main Street Retail Team

getting the lay of the land.

Mr. Kramer, pointing towards the future of Roosevelt Island, started out at Starbucks

and then led his team north towards Main Street

stopping at Good Shepherd Plaza on their tour down Main Street.

Knowing that I was present, Mr. Kramer jokingly, and I repeat jokingly, referenced that Best Buy or BJ's would fit in well at Good Shepherd Plaza.

Again, before some people may get upset, it was said in jest.

Below is a letter from the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Island Services Committee to Mr. Kramer in regard to the future of Main Street Retail.
Dear Mr. Kramer,

We are writing you on behalf of the Island Services Committee of the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA). We are spearheading our committee’s effort to ensure that the voices of our community regarding desired new businesses are loudly heard. Aaron Hamburger, our committee chairman, suggested we contact you as Hudson's point person for the Roosevelt Island Main Street master lease agreement.

We are aware that the RIOC board has approved Hudson/Related as the leaseholder for the retail space on Main Street and that you are waiting on a contract to be executed. We, as representatives of residents on the island, wish to extend our congratulations to you and your company and look forward to working with you on a process that we believe will create a thriving commercial corridor for our community. And we are glad to know that a familiar face will be responsible for helping shape the future of Roosevelt Island for years to come.

In the very near future, we hope to have the chance to meet with you and to discuss how RIRA and other key stakeholders can partner with you so we can ensure that the needs of our diverse community are met. Similarly, we recognize an objective of your company is to identify the businesses that will be most patronized – and therefore successful – on Roosevelt Island.

Please contact us at your earliest convenience so we can begin a dialogue between RIRA and Hudson/Related on move toward a very exciting future for our community.


Alex Fletcher and Max Long

Common Council Representatives

Members, Island Services Committee

Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA)
Mr. Kramer replied:
Great to hear from you, and I’ve cc’d my colleague Andrew Jackson, who will be the point person for us.

We will reach out to you sometime after July 1 to meet and talk and strategize and kickstart our island listening tour.

Best, DK
When will Roosevelt Island residents start to see improvement on Main Street? I don't have an answer for that yet. The deal has still not been completed. The contract has still to be executed though I am advised that will be finished shortly.

One of the best things the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) ever did was to get out of the retail business and select a private sector Real Estate Company to operate the retail portion of Main Street. Of course, that does not mean that I or anyone else will agree with everything that Mr. Kramer and Hudson/Related do on Main Street but it does mean that competent real estate professionals will be in charge of bringing stores to Roosevelt Island and managing the retail component of Main Street instead of government bureaucrats.

UPDATE 6 PM - I want to emphasize this point made in previous post:
RIOC Director Jonathan Kalkin, chair of RIOC's Real Estate Committee, initiated the Main Street Retail Master Leaseholder proposal way back in 2007 when he was a Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) member.  Mr. Kalkin should be congratulated for his vision, hard work, and perseverance in shepherding the Main Street Master Leaseholder concept through to completion despite many obstacles including the fierce opposition of the previous RIOC administration.
Former RIOC President Steve Shane expressed his reasons for doubting the concept of a private sector Master Leaseholder for Roosevelt Island's Main Street in this 2009 post:
The issue is one of service to the community. Rental income to a master leaseholder(now RIOC, but in the hands of a commercial real estate operator?) is not the overriding consideration. So, retaining control of use, both kind of service and income group serviced, with rent adjustments for necessary providers not otherwise able to afford competitive rents (see, for instance, difference between nail salon servicing market rent ladies and one servicing Section 8 ladies, a bread store or a fish market probably can't make it here) (see the last big dustup over chain stores vs. mom & Pop stores), etc, etc, wherein the quality of life as perceived by the Island residents (and of course as effectuated by dedicated RIOC with the advice and suggestion of RIRA)) is the highest priority, not the return to a commercial real estate operator.

The usual market place dynamics are not applicable here because When faced with the reality that there is less than 20,000 sf of vacant space, hard to imagine the master leasee who would want this problem for the sandwich profit it might make of $1-2/sf/year. No one can break the Gristede's lease or any of the other existing leases. I doubt the community would want RIVAA Gallery to be ousted from its space. Boy Scouts, batting cage, Thrift Store, etc.
Mr. Kalkin, thank you for your hard work and demonstrating that a private citizen with a good idea can work hard, overcome entrenched political inertia and make a real positive change for the community in which he lives.

Good job.


Gregor said...

Tell us Rick - did the H/R "pod" take a minute to stop in at Trellis, the deli, the hardware store, the card shop to at least say hello?


Don't know if they did or not, was not with them for their whole visit.

However, probably not appropriate for the "H/R Pod"(nice phrase) to stop by the stores you mentioned since they are not yet the Master Leaseholder.

Saying hello would not be sufficient for the store owners and H/R could say nothing of substance to them at this point.

Anonymous said...

I hope we let the free market decide which stores should come to RI and which don't. We all know what the necessities are and I am very sure they will be met. I don't think the RIRA has to mingle in this too much.

Denise said...

Yes, thank you Mr. Kalkin!

.. and yes, let the market decide. By definition, only stores that island residents patronize will make it.

I for one go to both nail salons - I would like to have a choice of coffee shops and restaurants too. We are big enough to support diverse tastes - or we should be given how much many people like to tout the diversity of the island. Let that extend in ALL directions.

jr said...

yes we must get another pizza shop here . the pizza shop at southtown s,,ks

Anonymous said...

PLEASE bring a Dunkin Donuts / Baskin Robbins here !!!!!!

SML said...

An ice cream store would be great. So would a food store selling better quality items of a wider variety than is available at multiple locations on the island already. Plenty of mediocre bread is available on the island. We need a place where it's possible to get a GOOD loaf without getting on the subway.

I hope the H/R people take the opportunity to observe the shopping bags that people are carrying as they exit the subway. At least some of that business could be local.

A stationery store that sold something worth buying other than lottery tickets would also be welcome. (It could be the same stationery store, actually, with a little professional guidance from people with retail experience.)

breadandcheese said...

Some residents would like to start a type of co-op store to provide good bread, cheese and desserts. What are the possibilities?

RooseveltIslander said...

Put together a business plan and demonstrate that you can pay the rent. Then submit a proposal to Hudson/Related and see what happens.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

CheshireKitty said...

Wow - that's a tremendous idea.  Please try to pursue this - it's impossible to get good cheese in the area.  It's only avail in Manhattan.  Good bread too is hard to fine.  I'm not much into desserts personally but those would be very popular undoubtedly.  Please pursue this excellent idea!