Joe’s Crab Shack to open first city location in Harlem on July 30

Joe’s Crab Shack, a Texas-based chain, is coming to Harlem. What’s next, Red Lobster? Actually, that’s not a joke. Red Lobster is coming next.

Harlem is about to go on a seafood diet.

jcspolesignlogoJoe’s Crab Shack will open July 30 on W. 125th and Frederick Douglass Blvd., the first city location for the Texas-based, national seafood chain known for its buckets of southern-style crab and lobster bakes.

The first 100 piscivores through the door at the opening will get free crabs for a year. And one lucky diner will get the biggest catch: free crabs for life.

 The grand opening will double as a fundraiser. Joe’s patrons who donate to Autism Speaks will get coupons for key lime pie, crab nachos or the Classic Steampot redeemable on a future visit.

Joe’s is the most recent big chain to drop anchor uptown, following Designer Shoe Warehouse, Blink Fitness, and Whole Foods.

And Red Lobster plans to open next to the Apollo Theater, though its opening date remains unannounced.

For now, Joe’s is the only big fish plying Harlem’s waters — and the restaurant’s president is looking forward to taking the uptown plunge.

“Harlem is such a vibrant neighborhood,” said Jim Mazany. “We can’t wait to bring Joe’s brand of excitement — along with great southern seafood — to the area.”

Joe’s Crab Shack, 2349 Frederick Douglass Blvd. and 125th St. in Harlem, (212) 222-0445, opening July 30, 11 a.m.-midnight. For info, visit


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Shoes, food and fitness coming to 125th St., Frederick Douglass Blv.

As development continues across Harlem, several projects are progressing, bringing more big-box stores and chain restaurants to the neighborhood. One of the most significant projects is occurring at 301-303 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

301-303 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Blv

301-303 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Blv

A site once occupied by a KFC, an urban clothing store and more famously Bobby’s Happy House music store is now going to be filled by a four-story 100,000-square-foot development that will house DSW discount shoe store, Blink Fitness and Manhattan’s first-ever Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant.

Expected to be finished by mid-2013, DSW will take up the second and third floors, totaling 32,000 square feet, after signing a 10-year lease. Blink Fitness, a more budget-friendly version of the highbrow Equinox Fitness, took a 15-year lease and will take up 16,000 square feet. Signing a 10-year lease, Joe’s Crab Shack will take up two floors, totaling 11,000 square feet.

The building is a joint development between Aurora Capital, ASH Acquisitions and the Sigfeld Group. The asking rent is a reported $150 per square foot. The building comes as the announcement of seafood chain Red Lobster builds a new location just steps away on 125th Street next door to the Apollo Theater.

Jared Epstein of Aurora Capital told the AmNews that the corner is desirable and that Harlem is starting to attract chain retailers.

“It’s a dynamic retail neighborhood that has some national retail chains … but there is a lot of room for growth,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of foot traffic and the corner is close to subways, buses and colleges and community residents. It has all of the right components, and that’s what national retailers look for. They are excited to come to the Harlem market.”

Preparations are underway for the upcoming opening scheduled later this month of My Image Studios (MIST) at 40 W. 116th St., between Malcolm X Boulevard and Fifth Avenue, on the ground floor of the Kalahari. The $21 million, 20,000-square-foot arts, dining and entertainment center will celebrate Black and Latino culture and serve as a space for established and up-and-coming film and musical artists.

“This is a very exciting time for MIST. Our investors have understood our vision, which is to create a cultural center reflective of the diversity and history that has and continues to breathe life into Harlem,” said Roland Laird, CEO of My Image Studios LLC. “The renaissance in Harlem rages on, and we are ecstatic that MIST will be a part of it.”

The entertainment center will feature three performance spaces with a total of 344 seats, post-production facilities for digital media and a state-of-the-art 7,000-square-foot restaurant and lounge with both indoor and outdoor seating. Entertainment options will include live music, spoken word and comedic and theatrical performances.

There will also be screenings of domestic and international feature films and documentaries centered on multicultural narratives and a 130-seat restaurant featuring African, Caribbean and Latin American cuisine.

“It will truly be a place of discovery for exciting entertainment offerings from all over the world,” Laird said. “MIST Harlem will truly be a cultural diamond for all of New York City.”

DSW Opens in West Harlem Retail Center

DSW is heading north and opening a new location in West Harlem.

The discount shoe store inked a ten-year lease deal for 32,000 square feet of retail space at 301-303 West 125th Street.

The West Harlem retail center is a four-story, 100,000 square foot joint development between Aurora Capital, ASH Acquisitions, and the Sigfeld Group. DSW will take 10,000 square feet on the second floor and the entire 20,000 square foot third floor.

In addition to DSW, Blink Fitness and Joe’s Crab Shack signed leases at the center. Blink Fitness will take a 15-year lease for 16,000 square feet and Joe’s Crab Shack signed a 10-year lease for 11,000 square feet split between two floors.

The center is in proximity to famous Harlem attractions such as the Apollo Theater and the House of Hoops.

The asking rent was set at $150 square foot for DSW’s space and ground floor units. Jared Epstein represented the landlords and president and COO of Katz & Associates, Brian Katz, represented the tenant in the transaction. Mr. Katz did not respond for comment.

Earlier this year, DSW opened a three-story 33,000 square foot store on 34th Street. The company also signed a lease to take over Filenne’s Basement location at 79th and Broadway on the Upper West Side. That location will measure around 32,000 square feet and is set to open in June. All of the lease transactions will bring DSW’s hold to four stores in the city, including its other location on 14th Street. On a national level, DSW operates over three hundred stores in forty states and a e-commerce site at