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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)
 
 

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209-West-96th-Street-3 Rendering of conceptual design for 209 West 96th Street, and photo of existing building (Compass)
As most residents already know, Manhattan is losing its mom and pops at an alarming rate. The Upper West Side has been an epicenter of the small business meltdown which has washed across its avenues like a coral bleaching event. In this case, the overheated waters of the city's real estate industry are partly to blame - tempting landlords to raise rents and for owners to take many-figured buyouts. Skeletal storefronts remain in their wake.
At 209 West 96th Street, midway between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, is Plant Shed New York Flowers, a seemingly-flourishing business whose tagline is: "Supplying NYC with the freshest flowers and plants for any occasion for over 30 years." The shop was featured in the Christmas tree scene in "When Harry Met Sally" and made a 2012 Huffington Post list of "Five Best New York City Flower Shops For Mother’s Day." The store garners high ratings on review sites for its amazing selection of plants/planters, seven-day delivery, and excellent, knowledgeable staff. Essentially, Plant Shed is the type of institution that makes New York worth living in, offsetting the high rents and the MTA.
The 10,000-square-foot shop blossoms across its entire three-floor building and has a rooftop greenhouse. According to the Columbia Spectator, brothers Othon and Peter Mourkakos opened the store at its present location shortly after immigrating from Greece. The current owner, Eric Mourkakos, is the third generation of Mourkakos men keeping Plant Shed alive, says the publication. City records show the Mourkakos family, under the LLC MWAY Management, acquired the building in 2001 and still retain ownership.
209-West-96th-Street-03 Bird's eye rendering (via Compass)
Earlier this summer, the building was listed for sale as a development site, dimming prospects the store will survive much longer. The Compass listing explains, "The development site with over 24,000 allowed usable/buildable square-feet offers an incredible opportunity to re-position this property and develop into a mixed-use building encompassing high-income producing retail on the lower floors and full-floor residential condos or premium rental apartments on the upper floors." The property has an ask of $18,500,000.
With few vacant sites to develop, developers have been pushing further north into the neighborhood, targeting underbuilt buildings for mid-rise residential developments. Across Broadway, at the southwest corner of 96th Street, Extell Development has shuttered a Gristedes supermarket (good riddance) and is planning to build a large condominium building encompassing more than 200,000 square feet, says The Real Deal. Other forthcoming projects include the redevelopment of a stately, albeit troubled SRO building at 206 West 95th Street into a condo tower, and the redevelopment of a synagogue building at 212 West 93rd Street by Landsea Homes, also for condos.
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