By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
While Barclays Center is a positive development for Brooklyn, many building owners in the area are too quick to price their small-business tenants out, hoping for a big payday.
So says Anthony Lolli, CEO of Rapid Realty, a large franchise-based real estate rental brokerage in New York with more than 60 offices. Lolli, who grew up in Brooklyn Heights and Park Slope, is also a special correspondent on Fox Business News and has appeared on The Today Show.
“As a broker, I love turnover, but I like natural turnover,” says Lolli, who started out at a single location on Fourth Avenue in South Park Slope. “I don’t like turnover coming from an increase of five, six times in rent that is unwarranted.
“We have 33 locations in Brooklyn, both residential and commercial” he said. “Why does this concern us as realtors? They’re [the owners] not leaving room for negotiations.
“If you’re being a tough negotiator, you’re not a good negotiator. The owners in the area have this fictitious impression about the revenues that local businesses are getting from Barclays.
“They are making the strip radioactive,” he continued. “They’re asking big-box retail rents from smalll mom-and-pop locations.”
Business stemming from events at Barclays, he said, will spike on certain days, “but it’s not an ongoing busienss. The problem is that Barclays has great food vendors, and people fill up there.”
In addition, he said, local business owners haven’t done enough promotion to steer Nets fans and concert-goers to places outside. “When you walk out, all you’re looking at is Pathmark and Modell’s. There’s no channel to steer people elsewhere.”
Reminded that in other parts of the city, small business are also being pushed out by rising rents, Lolli said, “Here’s how this is different. Elsewhere in the city, the pushing-out is a slow, organic happening based on real facts and real data. I own an office in Chelsea, and I can understand the rising rents. I can see popular brands coming into the area.”
In the area near Barclays, however, these rising rents are based on a “fictitious assumption,” according to Lolli. “At the end of the day, they’re [landlords] going to get bit by the vacancy.”