Property Grunt

Monday, October 05, 2009

This isn't No Man's Land. This is Central Ave.

I am doing recon in the theater known as Westchester and the specific front I am looking at is Central Ave.

Here is some background from the NYT regarding this Ave.

Central Park Avenue runs for eight and a half miles from the City of Yonkers through Greenburgh to White Plains. For years it has been considered Westchester's most aggressively commercial street. It is replete with large shopping centers, strip malls and individual stores, accompanied by large, garish signs and haphazard development.

This particular strip plays a key role in the commercial needs of the population and to say that it acts as the barometer of the local economy would be an understatement.

When it comes to real estate, I consider myself pretty jaded but some of the s**t I saw really took the wind out of my sails.

When I saw Cascade Florists vacant, my heart skipped a couple of beats. You see Cascade Florists was an institution on this block. It has been here since forever, well as I have long as I have known. As a business, it was as solid as they come or so I thought. I have no doubt that the economy has played a key role in its demise. Flowers are really not high on the list of essentials. And if you need flowers on the cheap, you just go to the A&P that is further south down Central Ave.

On the same block, you can see there are more vacancies.

I ate here for a family celebration once and the food was quite good. What sucked was the parking, which I will touch upon in a later entry. This place shutting down is not surprising to me since the restaurant industry has been getting ass raped recently.

More vacancies on that block.

Now this is really interesting.

This was actually an Exxon station. I know this for a fact because I used to get gas here all the time and I was completely surprised that not only had it closed down but it turned into a Gulf station. I did some digging and found out some interesting news about Exxon Mobil.

After a making copious amounts of profits in gasoline sales, Exxon Mobil has decided to get out of the service station business in North America. Already a transition has begun according to these articles.

Exxon won't exist anymore but Mobil will be around and will only be in the gasoline distribution business to service stations. I guess the best way to describe what they are doing is a reverse monopoly. They are giving up control of certain markets to their competitors which actually make sense. Service stations are real estate and with the current state of the market, it is in the best interest of the company to get out of the real business and focus solely on the distribution of gas to these service stations.

Which brings me to that particular service station. I suspect it went out of business is because customers freaked out when their exxon mobil cards did not work and it was not worth the aggravation, money and time to get a Gulf card. And the owner was already getting his ass whupped by the economy but when he saw a significant drop in profits, that is probably when he decided to throw in the towel.

I guess the gas sale didn't do the trick.

Any talk of recovery or that recession or depression is over does not jibe with what is really happening out there. Small businesses are getting clobbered out there because people are not spending money because there is no money nor is there credit.

I plan on more stomach churning coverage of the burbs. So keep the Pepto nearby.