The original Bicycle Habitat opened on Lafayette Street in 1978. It is now being forced to close due to a massive rent increase.
photo: Andrew Burton, NY Times
Reader Wendy points us to a report from Bicycle Retailer: "Rent for the 244/242 Lafayette Street store, which encompassed two storefronts and about 2,300 square feet of space, was $21,000 a month. And [owner Charlie] McCorkell said his rent was going to increase by nearly 3 1/2 times to $72,000 per month, which wasn't sustainable with the revenue from bicycle sales."
The shop and its owner have long advocated for a bike-friendly New York. It is also a favorite of celebrities. Wrote the Times in 2012, "On any given day, you might see Jake Gyllenhaal. Or Matthew Broderick or David Byrne. David Beckham has been said to swing by, just for some much-needed air."
But in today's New York, doing good business and making money won't keep you afloat. Not when landlords can hike the rent to enormous heights--and favor national chain stores.
"I am concerned about the future of SoHo," Charlie McCorkell told Bicycle Retailer, "as more and more of the stores, galleries and artists who transformed the area are being replaced by eateries and high-end chain stores. Will SoHo become another high-end suburban-like mall, lacking local flavor?"
Bicycle Habitat's last day will be September 30. The store will merge into its other location three doors down.
If you want to the city to put a stop to these insane rent increases, join #SaveNYC and support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act.