May 21, 2019 Staff Report
A long-time Sunnyside bagel shop is closing, following the fate of many stores on the south side of Queens Boulevard.
Dave’s Bagels, which has been located at 43-20 Queens Blvd. since 1982, will be shutting its doors for good on June 2. The closure follows the shuttering of two adjacent stores–AAA Hardware Locksmith, which closed March 31, and Riko Restaurant in 2018.
Pablo Perez, who has owned Dave’s Bagels for 9 years and has worked at the store since it opened, said that the landlord did not want to renew the lease. There was no discussion about a revised rent or new terms, he said.
“He said he wanted to demolish the building and put a new building up,” Perez, 68, said. “He’s going to wait until all the leases [on the block] end and start.”
Perez, who is from the Dominican Republic and lives in Manhattan, said that the landlord, OK Champs, notified him two months ago that he had to leave.
Perez said he was disappointed but the timing was not too bad. “I want to retire…perhaps go back to Dominican Republic.”
The bagel shop is one piece of a 9,500 square foot property that covers half the block, which incorporates the now shuttered AAA Hardware, Riko, as well as Amazon Pharmacy, Bajeko Sekuwa and Taiyo Foods, among others.
The owner of Amazon Pharmacy, which opened in March 2010, could not be reached for comment and an employee knew nothing of the lease. The owners of Bajeko, which opened last year, and Taiyo Foods, which opened in 2013, were unavailable.
The large corner property, comprised of a series of one-story stores, was purchased by OK Champs for $9.9 million in May 2018, according to city records. The property was up-zoned in 2011 to R7A, which typically allows for seven to nine story buildings.
OK Champs has not filed for demolition permits nor has it submitted new building plans, according to the Department of Buildings website as of today.
The closing of Dave’s Bagels comes at a time when business on the south side of Queens Boulevard is suffering.
South Pole, which was a large store located at 44-04 Queens Blvd, closed in 2018 after being there for decades. The storefront has been empty since.
Additionally, several stores were wiped out between 45th and 46th Street on the south side of Queens Boulevard in a fire that engulfed the block in December. The site is still covered in debris.
There is no word as to the cause of the fire. In April, the FDNY said it was “still under investigation.”