Organic cafe to replace McDonald’s on W. 57th St.

By Lauren Elkies | April 21, 2008 01:58PM

Move over Big Mac and Happy Meals and hello wheat grass and hairspray.

After nearly 10 years, McDonald’s closed its doors at a three-story space at 45-47 West 57th Street. An organic, European-style cafe Danku is taking part of the location.

The high-end Cutler Hair Salon took the rest of it and will open a salon on the second floor tomorrow, an employee said. The West 57th Street salon will have 50 chairs and will replace a 40-chair shop at 115 East 57th Street. The company is keeping the salon at 465 West Broadway.

McDonald’s lease expired and the building’s then-managing agent David Kriss said that he tried to renew the lease even though “we weren’t crazy about having them as a tenant.” Along with paying less than the landlord wanted to charge, the McDonald’s had ventilation and rodent problems and did not draw the kind of clientele the landlord sought, he said.

In the end, “the issue was dollars and cents,” Kriss said.

The chain restaurant paid $800,000 per year for 5,000 square feet on the second floor, 2,500 square feet on the first floor and 1,000 square feet in the basement, and the restaurant could not afford an increase, Kriss said. The landlord is now commanding more than $1 million for the three stories.

“The neighborhood has changed drastically. It’s more of an upscale neighborhood,” Kriss said.

McDonald’s tried to exercise its option to buy the space, but the owners elected to buy the option back.

“McDonald’s strives to be a good neighbor wherever we are,” Dan McVeigh, McDonald’s New York metro real estate manager, said in a statement.

Danku, a company conceived in Holland, is opening a flagship cafe operation on the first floor and basement level at an annual rent of $600,000. The eatery will serve light fare and have fewer than 60 seats.

The $1 million renovation job is slated for completion in the next two or three months, Kriss said.

Cutler Hair Salon’s Rent On West 57th Street is about $450,000 a year, Kriss said. That is 60 percent more than the salon was paying at the East Side location, according to stylist Rodney Cutler, owner of the salon. Cutler is also opening a salon in Miami this week.

“We chose the new location because we were at the end of our lease and the new location is 50 percent bigger than our previous location and is visible from the street,” Cutler said.

Other tenants in the seven-story, 40,000 square-foot building include two high-end tailors, a fitness center, a spa, a hair removal business, a tanning parlor, a hat company, a computer repair company, a physical therapist, a jewelry store, and a wellness center.

“It’s a unique type of building,” Kriss said. “It’s more of a building that is office-retail-showroom.”

Kriss had his offices in the building until recently when he moved to 501 Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street.


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