Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The most expensive real estate in America is used to sell hot dogs.

$362,201 per year for the right to locate a hot dog cart -- a non-exclusive right.

In what may be the epitome of the location-is-everything maxim, the Parks Department has auctioned off the food-vending rights to the north-side entrance of the Metropolitan Museun of Art on Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street for $362,201, and the south-side entrance for $280,500, both to first-time vendor Pasang Sherpa...

"That [north] side is more busy," explained Sherpa. Many museum visitors use the nearby 86th Street/Lexington Avenue subway express stop to the north.

"It's just the flow of traffic," agreed competitor Dan Rossi, who set up shop without permission and isn't paying the city a cent, citing a regulation that lets veterans like himself bypass the bidding process.

Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe said all bidders were made aware they wouldn't be getting an exclusive franchise...

With more than 5 million visitors a year, the Met is a hot-dog seller's paradise since the nearest eateries are blocks away.

The location has also become a cash cow for the Parks Department, which has been able to increase vending rents steadily on what might be the most expensive retail space per square foot in the country.

But Sherpa's now got a big beef with the city. The Health Department hasn't certified one of his two carts ... Parks officials said they're trying to be accommodating and pointed out that Sherpa - who hails from Nepal - had six months to get the required permits... [NY Post]
Hmmm ...

For more than $640,000 per year, you'd think the city could expedite those permits.

"Location location location": That's a rental difference of more than $81,000 between two locations only 100 feet away.

How many hot dogs does one have to sell to make a decent profit after paying $640,000 to locate your two carts?

That's one heck of a nice veteran's benefit Mr. Rossi has! Being how these locations are "non-exclusive", I'd think every veteran in New York would be set up with a hot dog cart in front of the Met.