Monday, April 22, 2024

Amid absurd rent hike and landlord turmoil, Milana’s Brooklyn Squares to relocate

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30%. This is the rent hike the landlord of the property which houses Milana’s Brooklyn Squares—the popular spinoff sister of Downtown Long Beach’s Milana’s—served owner Adriel Fasci upon the pizzeria’s end-of-five-year-lease coming in April.

And Fasci did not mince words: “Landlords are actings like pimps—and they need to stop treating small businesses like hookers. It’s certainly not a way to build a community or a partnership with small businesses.”

After five years near Traffic Circle, Milana’s Brooklyn Squares to temporarily move menu to Downtown location

“Typical landlord I’m-a-pimp mentality,” said Fasci, who manages both Milana’s New York Pizzeria and Milana’s Brooklyn Squares with his son, Cameron. “Milana’s has been a great tenant: We paid rent on time every month of the pandemic… Their entire approach is wrong.”

Fasci is baffled in two senses: Milana’s could have taken part in the large moratorium on rent that was in place during the pandemic but opted not to, which in their eyes, counts them as a good tenant; a normal lease extension with a reasonable rent hike was to be expected—and rightfully so.

Secondly, he calls the landlord’s approach “bad business” in that people go to the center because of Milana’s—not vice versa. And certainly no one is going to go to an empty space.

“We’ve been the only consistent tenant in the area,” Fasci said, noting that multiple businesses have come and gone across their five-year tenure. “And when we were told that the square-footage cost was non-negotiable, then our presence is non-negotiable.”

Fasci has already opened up multiple conversation with others, from the Long Beach Exchange to spaces across the Orange Curtain—and until he finds a permanent home for Brooklyn Squares, he will have the menu featured at the Downtown pizzeria.

“Downtown Long Beach is great in ways that the space Brooklyn Squares is at isn’t,” Fasci said. “I don’t have the traffic from the Convention Center or events or what not at the Traffic Circle like I do in Downtown.”

Milana’s Brooklyn Squares is not alone when it comes to rent hikes and issues with landlords

Fasci is but one of many businesses that have continually faced issues from what they feel are greedy landlords and/or too high of rents.

Former Portfolio owner Kerstin Kansteiner left her space of 30 years after consistent rent hikes throughout the pandemic led her to open Alder & Sage.

Shady Grove Foods, after a positive meeting with the mayor and a massive increase in business, have officially closed with owner Dennis Robicheau saying they would have to “sell over double the product we currently do in order to make rent,” on which the business was backlogged several months on.

And many restaurants are up for sale, some of which are due to rents they can no longer keep up with.

“We did not skip a beat, we did not miss one month of rent—and they never helped us, they never let up, but we kept up,” Fasci said. “And now, they think they’re here to take from us and that mentality is so off, so wrong. Instead of building from the bottom up, all they’re going to see is more turnaround because this model isn’t sustainable.”

Milana’s Brooklyn Squares is located at 2000 Ximeno Ave. near the Traffic Circle. Their last day of service at that location will be Mar. 31. Following that, you can find the full Brooklyn Squares menu at Milana’s New York Pizzeria, located at 165 E. 4th St.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I am a Landlord
    I used to own 48,000 sq ft Retail center in NW Huntington Beach.
    I used to keep our rents 10-25% below market because we wanted help our tenants succeed.
    SHAME on YOU Mr.Landlord
    ( of the Ximeno space)
    I bet You kicked your dog… and gave the tooth fairy .25 per tooth.

  2. There are several businesses in the block containing Milana’s that have been there longer than they have. Just saying.

  3. The public pays the rent through patronage. The landlords are looking for better cash flow. They are not invested in LB businesses, residents or neighborhood stability. Unfortunately boycotts would hurt the businesses. The buying public has no tools to express their interests. Landlords deduct the losses on their taxes. Lose/lose for retailers and residents!

  4. Likening something to a pimp/hooker scenario is very unbecoming. No one is human trafficking Milana’s.

    Sad to see this happen to ANY restaurant.

  5. I tried out this pizza joint, and let me tell you, it’s been a real challenge finding good New York-style pizza around here. Yeah, the slices might be a bit pricey, but honestly, I couldn’t care less because the food is awesome and the service is top-notch. I gotta give a shoutout to this one dude working there he was like a one-man army, handling a line of nine people all by himself. He took orders, whipped up the grub, cleaned tables, and restocked stuff like a pro. Seriously, it was impressive to watch him work. I told him I’d leave a review, ’cause you can tell he really digs his job. But it’s kinda sad to see cool places like this struggle because of greedy landlords. It’s like they’re the new Is modern day mafia bullies , making it tough for businesses to stay afloat with crazy high rents.

  6. Adriel Fasci is a con artist. He has recently scammed many people out of millions of dollars (check the Orange County courts). The real reason for closure is likely due to his mobster like businesse practices and several lawsuits.

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