L&M Development is divvying up the space of East Side bagel favorite, Ess-a-Bagel, to make way for a big bank and growing chain.
The retail at 359 First Avenue, near Stuyvesant town, will be occupied by a 350 s/f Bank of America ATM lobby and a new 1,000 s/f Tal Bagels.
Mohammed Kamal and Sam Zebib, partners who own three other Tal Bagels shops in New York, will also open a 2,000 s/f shop/restaurant for smoked fish, similar in style to downtown institution Russ & Daughters, at the former Beehives & Buzzcuts at 365 First Avenue.
“It’s an opportunity for us to expand and move downtown and see what happens. I really like the area,” said Zebib.
Sung G. Cho, of Midtown Commercial Real Estate, represented Tal bagels, whose other New York locations are on 86th Street, Lexington Avenue and 54th Street. They are also two locations in Kamla’s native Tel Aviv.
Earlier this year, the longtime former tenant, Ess-a-Bagel, accused the landlord of forcing him out to make way for higher rent paying chains.
However, in a statement to food blog Eater.com, L&M Development CEO Ron Moelis said, “When we purchased the property, our main priority was to keep Ess-A-Bagel as a tenant. Ess-A-Bagel is a tradition in this city and we had no desire to see them leave. In the three years since, we’ve bent over backwards to come to a mutually fair agreement with Ess-A-Bagel’s owners.
“Our offer would have allowed Ess-A-Bagel to remain – and even gave them the option to expand – in the space they are in currently. Unfortunately, it takes two sides to make a deal, and Ess-A-Bagel’s owners repeatedly refused to meet us between their below-market rent and current market value.ˮ