[UPDATE BELOW] Hipster olde tymers may recall the big Williamsburg Starbucks scare of Aught One, when anti-chain activist Reverend Billy rallied his troops to protest outside a rumored location at the corner of North 5th and Bedford. Funny enough, during the rally, the new tenants suddenly appeared to explain away the rumor—it was "Fabiane's Pastry and Cafe, an Independent Pastry Experience," on the way, not Starbucks. Nine years later, the ubiquitous coffee corp. has yet to find a foothold in the neighborhood, but all that may be about to change.

The owner of the popular Bagel Store on the corner of Bedford and North Third has confirmed rumors, first fanned on Eater, that he's being pushed out for a Starbucks. Owner Scott Rossillo says his landlord, Yehuda Backer, first tried to double his rent, which Rossillo couldn't afford. According to Rossillo, Backer told him that when the lease expires in November 2011, Starbucks will take over. (Backer denies this.) In an angry phone conversation, Rossillo explained the situation:

I talked with the landlord two weeks ago. He asked me if I wanted to stay and I said of course! Right now I'm paying $7,300 a month. He told me, okay, I'll give you a break and only raise the rent to $14,500 a month. We can't afford that, but he says that's what Starbucks can pay. Right now I have to borrow money from my other store to cover the rent on this one! You can't squeeze blood from a rock. He said I had until this Tuesday to decide. That day came and went, and then I heard one of his sons told the owner of the cell phone store down the street, "The deal is done. You should have expected this. It's Williamsburg, you know."

Well, we're not going to be raped. It's like organized crime. Our landlord, Yehuda Backer, essentially said, "You've been here a long time, you've always payed your rent on time, and for that we're going to double your rent." When we moved in here in 2001 it was a dead man's zone. Everybody wanted North 7th Street, as they still do, but nobody wanted to move in here; it was just a big empty warehouse. We were the first to move in, after that came King's Pharmacy and Millennium Market. Now Duane Reade is going to open across the street from the pharmacy, and I'm scared for them! I know the owners, I know their families. They're from around here, I'm from Bensonhurst. Starbucks isn't from here.

Rossillo continued:

I'm the first one in this warehouse to have my lease up for renewal, and the others are going to face the same situation. The landlord said to me, "Scott, this property is going to be all big businesses who can pay me the price I want." It's very sad. You know, I'm the first on the plumbing line, so over all these years we've had lots of problems, and when things get backed up, it all comes into my space. You know what I'm talking about? And when this happens on the weekends, and Yehuda is upstate or having religious observances, I've always taken care of all this stuff by myself. Had plumbers working through the night. My wife always said to me, "Why don't you bill him." And I told her, "It'll come back to us." That's the way I am; you take care of me, I take care of you.

We're upset, but we're not leaving the neighborhood. We have another location, and we'll reopen this one somewhere nearby. I've got a couple spaces I'm considering on the southside, where it's a little more reasonable.

But Backer insists he has no deal with Starbucks at this time. When asked if he is negotiating with Starbucks, he told us, "I myself haven't been in touch with anybody [about taking over the space]." Backer confirmed that he wanted to double The Bagel Store's rent, telling us, "We gave him an offer and he refused. Taxes have gone up 20 times on this building."

We're waiting to hear back from Starbucks, but naturally, this wouldn't be complete without a word from Rev. Billy, who says, "The definition of Williamsburg is that it is the birth of culture. The definition of Starbucks is that it is the death of culture. The definition of Billyburg is that it is the defiant, complex, always surprising birth of new culture. The definition of Starbucks is that it imitates cultures that are original and uses images of cafe society back when it was dangerous, i. e. Cabaret Voltaire, Paris, the beats... to sell its non-Fair Trade bad coffee. Williamsburg should break the windows every morning and surround the landlord with shame. Bring back the Bagel Store!"

UPDATE: An associate from the Starbucks "press team" sent us a statement in response to our email inquiry, but ironically declared that she is "not a spokesperson and cannot be quoted." Enjoy!

Choosing a site for a new Starbucks location is a key element in providing customers with the Starbucks Experience. Starbucks carefully considers many factors when opening a new store, and one of the most important is that members of the community have shown support for a Starbucks coffeehouse and the unique experience it provides. Starbucks looks for sites that are visible and easy to find, and buildings that can support Starbucks signage and have large windows that allow natural lighting in the stores.

Starbucks is always looking for great locations to better meet the needs of their customers and reach others who may not have the opportunity to visit Starbucks stores. At this time, the location referenced cannot be confirmed for a Starbucks store.