Upper West Side’s Caesar’s Palace Pizza is closing after 36 years as landlord nearly doubles rent

People rally outside of Caesar’s Palace Pizza on July 3, 2017. (PIX11 News)

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan — Caesar’s Palace Pizza is closing after 36 years in business.

Pizzeria owner Dimitri Vezrakis said that the building’s new management company planned to nearly double the rent. A lawyer for the realty company says Vezrakis voluntarily vacated the building when the lase ended.

A survey by the Manhattan Borough President’s Office found that there are 188 empty street-level storefronts on Broadway. More than a third of those vacant storefronts are uptown, DNAinfo reported.

People rallied outside of Caesar’s Palace Pizza, located at Amsterdam Avenue and W 84th Street, on Monday to show support for other local businesses at risk of closing.

“Our neighborhood is no longer welcoming to essential local businesses like Caesar’s — the kinds of businesses that weave our community together,” Mel Wymore , a candidate running for New York City Council, said in a statement.

NYC Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, who represents the area, says she has focused on protecting local-retail shops by organizing clinics for small businesses in District 6.

“My bill to eliminate the Commercial Rent Tax will help 4,800 businesses in Manhattan. Although retail vacancy rates have NOT changed over the years, it’s shops like Caesar’s Palace that keep Amsterdam Avenue vibrant,” Councilmember Rosenthal said.

The owner says he has not ruled out the option to open a pizzeria at a different location.