The folks who make the decisions at Yale University Properties may believe that demand for its many downtown New Haven retail properties is bottomless. We are not so sure.
Barrie Ltd. Booters, a fixture on Broadway for nearly seven decades, will close its doors for good by years end as the result of a dispute with University Properties over renewing its lease.
According to the retailer, Yale demanded a 70-percent rent hike, a maximum five-year term and would require the store to remain open six nights plus Sundays each week with just four holidays each year.
As Barrie Vice President John Isaacs points out, "Yale itself has the majority of students in residence about 30 weeks a year, but expects [commercial] tenants to operate 71 hours a week, 361 days a year."
Isaacs and his father, Barry Isaacs, declined to relocate their store and will run a liquidation sale over the next few months.
The retail landscape has changed dramatically since Robert Isaacs opened his shoe store in 1934. The Yale student clientele is less rich, less white, and immeasurably less well-shod than their predecessors of the Depression and World War II years.
According to Barry Isaacs, "When coupling the issues of the lease negotiation with industry factors such as declining footwear quality, domestic and European factory closures and the long-term shift away from traditional better-grade shoes, it doesnt seem like moving is a good proposition." The Isaacs loss is likewise Yales - and New Havens