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Rent hike! Bedford Avenue’s Deli Mart is closed

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A popular corner store on Williamsburg’s busiest block closed this week after its landlord demanded a 40-percent rent increase by the end of month.

Mike Al-Humaidi, proprietor of Deli Mart, which has been on the southeast corner of Bedford and N. Seventh Street for 25 years, shuttered on Wednesday after rejecting a proposed $25,000 per month lease — up from the current $18,000, which had already been hiked from $12,000 earlier this year, according to neighborhood sources.

But the building owner evicted Al-Humaidi for not paying rent for the past two months, a source said.

The Deli Mart’s surprising closure has left neighborhood residents — and even its Bedford Avenue competitors — stunned.

“This is sad,” said Maher Abid, who runs the N7 Market across the street from Deli Mart. “He has a wife and four kids and his brother died, and he has a family, too. The landlord just wanted more money. Every year the rent goes up,”

Deli Mart is not the only store on the street that has received significant increases over the past year.

The Northside Pharmacy, located across the street from the Deli Mart absorbed a rent increase of nearly double this year.

And the owner of The Bagel Store, Scott Rossilo, has decided to close his Bedford Avenue bakery next year instead of signing a new lease that was twice as expensive as his previous one.

Residents believe that the only businesses that can afford rents as high as $25,000 are high-end chain stores, a restaurant or a bar.

“How about an Apple store?” said Phil DePaolo. “That would seem to fit the demographic and price point. Everybody around here is walking around with those white ear buds.”

Concerns about rent-driven exoduses of local mom-and-pop stores is nothing new in Williamsburg, but it flared up again last month when Duane Reade drug store opened across the street from Kings Pharmacy a few blocks south of the Deli Mart.

Some locals are boycotting the Duane Reade, though others appreciate the store’s longer hours and beer.

Updated 2:15 pm, December 6, 2010: Story has been updated to remove a reference to a former owner of the building.
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Reasonable discourse

Dave from Clinton Hill says:
Who asks for a 40% rent increase in one year? that is f'ed up esp given the economic conditions right now. Sorry to hear. That stretch of Bedford Ave gets more gentrified week by week.
Dec. 3, 2010, 12:12 pm
Griff from Williamsburg says:
Yes, we certainly do appreciate the beer. In growlers no less, for 2$ a pint. Chew on that Kings.
Dec. 3, 2010, 2:45 pm
Hopper from Los S-S says:
Prime spot for a (insert crappy poisonous retail name here). They can afford it and the kids will suck it up.
Dec. 3, 2010, 4:36 pm
A girl on a stoop from Greenpoint says:
You wanted gentrification you got it... 8-)
Dec. 4, 2010, 12:01 am
pete from windsor terrace says:


Raising rent 40% is just bad business- i hope it stays
empty for years!
Dec. 4, 2010, 10:39 am
Landlord from park slope says:
The landlord obviously wants the tenant out. That's why the 40% increase. I doubt he really expected him to agree.
Dec. 4, 2010, 11:30 am
Ellen from Northside says:
I know for a fact that Deli Mart still had a lease in effect, until beyond 2010 - The real owner of Deli Mart, Ali, also known as Al, died January 2010 (he was a really nice guy, and a true gentleman), and his brother Mike, took over the business, screwed up the business, screwed the landlord out of his rent (approx. 5 months worth), screwed the neighborhood out of a deli. end of story.
Dec. 4, 2010, 6:26 pm
jj from Brooklyn says:
Maybe Ellen has a point. I notice your story doesn't cite the source of the 40% report, and does not even quote the "evicted" merchant. If he's a deadbeat, and his store's dead, so we're supposed to feel sorry for him? Some story!
Dec. 4, 2010, 9:01 pm
N8 resident from Northside says:
Al & mike where honest hard working people
and every body knows that even the landlord himself
I saw mike work hard every day he worked hard when
his brother was alive and worked hard after his brother
passed away .I heard his land lord Jerry was getting
offers even before al passed away and the whole community was hearing about it so who ever talks bad
About them he or she should be ashamed about themself.
For the past 2 years I heard Al & Mike where trying to
renew the lease with their landlord but he always wanted
$25,000 a month that was his respond ,even though
both brothers were good tenant
I belive strongly like all the other residents of north side
that mike was the victim here like any other bussines owner who closed because the outrageous rent increase
I wish mike and all those honest bussines owners sucsess
and the best luck.

Dec. 6, 2010, 7:52 pm
Vinnie from Williamsburg says:
I liked Delimart, because it was bigger and more brightly lit than some of the other delis. However, a lot of the other delis moved in a long time ago and bought their own buildings. Delimart guys bought the business from someone who was leasing in that space. There seem to be way too many delis in Williamsburg already, so there is probably not much incentive to lease to that kind of business when restaurants and other businesses are willing to pay more in rent. After reading the thread, I'm starting to buy the theory that they were deadbeats on the lease, though it would be good if someone from Delimart could chime in (not that they would admit to being deadbeats).
Dec. 7, 2010, 4:18 pm

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