Saturday, December 02, 2006

i told ya so

it's been going on since well BEFORE blue back. the rents in the center are going up and up and up. many businesses have left and i'm sure many will leave in the future. i've been on the soapbox for years. it's NOT the center i know and USED to like. the cool little shops are going to be taken over by big old chains. nothing wrong with that, just NOT all over MY TOWN. it's full of suv driving designer clothes wearing super duper pedigree dog walking see and be seen it-jits (i'm not saying i'm better, i'm just NOT them). now osaka is gone. i loved that joint

Thriving Center Feeling Pressure Business Rents Jump In West Hartford

By DANIEL P. JONES Courant Staff Writer December 2 2006 WEST HARTFORD -- Osaka, a popular Japanese restaurant, is already gone from West Hartford Center, a casualty of rising rents.Now Max's Oyster Bar, one of the center's premier restaurants and part of the reason for downtown's recent renaissance, is facing the possibility of a significant rent increase - because of what owner Rich Rosenthal says was an innocent mistake in missing a June 30 deadline for extending the lease.No matter how the fight over Max's rent gets settled, the issue magnifies the fact that West Hartford Center is becoming an increasingly pricey place to do business, even before Blue Back Square opens its doors."A customer said it best. The town of West Hartford is going through growing pains. It's becoming a city," said Rich Zacher, who recently relocated his camera and photography store in the center partly because of rising rents."I'm an optimist, but I would say they'll get through the growing pains," he said. "Whether it's good or bad, that's to be seen."Zacher, whose father moved the business from Hartford to West Hartford in 1955, left his South Main Street location in September and relocated to a Dale Street store with a Farmington Avenue address. He acknowledged he moved to a more reasonably priced space not only because of the rent sought by a local landlord when his lease expired but also because of competition from big box stores and the change from film to digital cameras.Still, the rising rents mean the center and West Hartford as a whole are changing, he said.When Osaka's lease expired in September, the building's management firm, Midwood Management Corp. of Manhattan, wanted to nearly double Osaka's rent, according to Paul Lewis, one of Osaka's partners who is also a partner in Szechuan Tokyo, an Elmwood restaurant. Osaka balked at negotiating a new lease - Midwood's starting point for negotiations was $15,000 a month - and left a few weeks ago, Lewis said.............

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