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Storefronting: Muji to NYT, Cue Muji Backlash

While we continue the march towards the Bowery Whole Foods opening, let's dish up some more retail doings around town, shall we?

1) Midtown West: As rumored, Muji, known as Japan's version of Ikea, has signed a lease to open a flagship store in the new Renzo Piano-designed New York Times building on Eighth Avenue near the Port Authority this fall. And in what's surely a Storefronting record, the backlash has already begun. Cue blogger Speedbird: "Something tells me they may have missed their moment with this, and (especially) that the clear ambition to rebrand the neighborhood I perceive as being embedded in this announcement is foredoomed." Click through for the full rant. [NYSun, Speedbird]

2) Financial District: Wall-Street dwellers will finally be able to shop locally for groceries: Gristedes has signed a lease for a space on Maiden Lane between Pearl and Williams Streets, reports Lois Weiss. It'll be the first major grocery store to open an outpost in the Financial District. Of course, the chain will have competition from Whole Foods—the organic purveyor is planning on opening a location just north of the World Trade Center site. Whether or not any of this makes the Financial District livable is your call. [NYPost]

3) West Village: A tipster emails, "Greenwich Ave is gaining on 8th Street. I walked by Olde Good Things -- the outrageously good architectural salvage shop -- on Greenwich @ 10th, and they lost their lease. They are closing at the end of April. I spoke with a gentleman there and he believed the landlord wanted $19,000 a month for the space. The village is losing another of its treasures. Maybe the rent is high because the place isn't being overtaken by rats? Thoughts?" [Storefronting Inbox]