The owners of Bayside’s Ben’s Deli and its Forest Hills−based landlord have reached an agreement that will allow the popular eatery to remain at its current Bay Terrace Shopping Center locale, the deli’s president said.
Ben’s lease was set to expire at the end of the month and contentious negotiations between the deli and landlord, Cord Meyer Development LLC, had nearly forced the eatery to seek another neighborhood site at which to relocate.
But an agreement was reached late last year and Ben’s Deli President Scott Singer said he recently received a signed lease extension that would allow the restaurant to remain at Bay Terrace for at least another decade. Upscale bakery⁄cafe chain Panera Bread, which would have replaced Ben’s, will now be located in another section of the Bayside shopping center, Singer said.
“Our staff was hugely relieved, obviously,” Singer said. “This is not a good time to be out of work, so we’re very happy.”
The deli, which also has stores in Manhattan, Long Island and Florida, employs 40 people at its Bay Terrace site.
But Singer said the deli will now face a 30 percent rent increase.
“While we really have appreciated the community’s support, we are really going to need their support now to be successful in this location,” he said. “We’re paying a significant increase in rent.”
In a statement, Cord Meyer said it was pleased to keep Ben’s at Bay Terrace.
“After many months of difficult negotiations with Ben’s, we were able to convince an incoming tenant to relocate to another section in the shopping center,” the statement read. “This allowed us to strike a deal with Ben’s and keep them in their current location.”
The deli had originally requested two five−year options to remain at the Bayside center, but Cord Meyer had originally asked for an 86 percent rate increase. The landlord had offered to build a new site for the deli at the center, but the deal fell through amid tense negotiations.
In mid−November, a spokeswoman for the landlord said Ben’s removal from Bay Terrace was a “done deal.” But an accord was reached shortly before the New Year, Singer said.
Singer said the deli will soon undergo renovations at its current site, including an upgrade of the entrance, a resurfacing of its booths, a refinishing of its floors, a renovation of the kitchen area and an upgrade of its computer system. Renovations will be complete in a month, he said.
He said the deli will also launch a new preferred patrons program. He said the program will be a free membership club that allows patrons to earn rewards based on how frequently they eat at Ben’s.
“It will be a way to thank out loyal customers, who helped us to get our extended lease,” he said.
Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.
©2009 Community News Group
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