Actor Tony Danza, Mayor de Blasio concerned about rent for UWS businesses

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- There are scores of businesses, stores and small shops, but seemingly more noticeable are those that have closed, like those on the Upper West Side.

The "For Rent" signs are not lost on local resident and actor Tony Danza who called into the mayor's radio show.

"Where I live on the Upper West Side, on one block, and this is the truth, this is what is really kind of startling, is that Starbucks had to leave because they couldn't pay the rent," Danza said.

"You know you have a problem when Starbucks can't afford the rent," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

"That's what I'm saying," Danza said.

While rising rents might be one reason, business experts say there are many factors that can lead to the closure of stores, and new businesses are opening.

Tim Hinton is the manager at Joe Coffee Company.

"My store has been going strong since 2009, and we're not going anywhere. I've actually seen three stores open on this block in the last week," Hinton said.

Others who live and work on the Upper West Side wonder if it's getting more expensive for store owners.

"Commercial real estate is out of control," said Maria Zachmanoglou, a resident.

"If you charge $30,000 a month, I mean how many stores can afford to make that kind, are capable of making that kind of money," said Rita Loughlin, an area worker.

Danza circles back to the rent issue.

"You know what happens, they come and they throw you a big increase and then what do you do? You see what I'm saying. Maybe if we can moderate that," Danza said.

The mayor admits there is little the public sector can do and believes the free enterprise system is not particularly warm and friendly to older stores.

"I would urge the landlords to be less greedy. If you've got a store that is part of the fabric of a community, guess what? You can stop overcharging them and let them survive," Mayor de Blasio said.
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