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Rent Hike Forces Knitting Shop Out of Atlantic Avenue

By Nikhita Venugopal | December 5, 2013 6:20pm
 Knit-A-Way of Brooklyn is being forced to close their Atlantic Avenue shop after its landlord raised the rent and asked its owners to vacate in January. 
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BOERUM HILL — After selling knitting and crochet supplies for almost a decade, a steep rent hike is forcing an Atlantic Avenue shop out of the neighborhood.

Knit-A-Way of Brooklyn, located at 398 Atlantic Ave., will have to vacate its space by the end of January because of a rent increase from $3,000 to $9,000, business owner Seeta Heeralal told DNAinfo New York.

“Per our conversation this is to confirm that your month-to-month tenancy will terminate as of January 31, 2014,” according to a letter from Karina Bilger of Green Tree LLC, sent to Heeralal earlier this week.

Bilger informed Heeralal of the higher rent on Nov. 21, but the business owner is hoping for more time to find another space, Pardon Me For Asking first reported.

“She would be putting me out on the street,” said Heeralal, 56.

When DNAinfo New York tried to contact Bilger, a woman who answered the phone said she was on vacation till the end of January.

The sudden notice has left Heeralal in a stitch. With no other location, she’s searching for a new space for Knit-A-Way to sell knitting and crochet supplies and offer classes for children and adults.

Heeralal started knitting 10 years ago, but stopped in April of 2011 after her second stroke, she said.

The shop has been full of colorful yarn, instruction guides and rows of needles since 2001 when it first opened as “The Knittery.” Heeralal has been managing it as Knit-A-Way Brooklyn since 2004 after the previous owner passed the business on to her.

Heeralal, who is originally from Trinidad and lives in Jamaica, Queens, thought she had a good relationship with her landlord. Bilger had previously lowered the rent from $4,700 to $3,000. But after their lease expired in July, Bilger changed to a month-to-month contract, Heeralal said.

The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District, an organization which represents more than 300 neighborhood businesses, could not comment on landlord-tenant conflicts.

Heeralal isn’t opposed to leaving Atlantic Avenue as long as she can find another shop. She is looking for affordable rentals in Brooklyn and would consider moving the store to Queens as well.

“I need time to move,” she said.