With rents on the rise and the e-commerce industry showing no signs of slowing, the livelihood of small businesses in New York City remains under threat. Council Member Stephen Levin, who represents parts of Brooklyn, hopes to address the high rate of retail vacancies across the city with legislation to regulate commercial rents, as Gothamist first reported. “It’s a complex problem,” Levin, who will introduce a bill to the City Council next week, told the website. “We think it’s time to introduce this into the conversation.”
Image: Steven Pisano via Flickr.
Amid discussions of gentrification and astronomical rents, it’s impossible not to notice the alarming appearance of vacant storefronts in what seems like every neighborhood in New York City. A new report from the Department of City Planning (DCP) has attempted to get a closer look at the data behind this phenomenon to get a better understanding of how the city’s retail and storefront uses may be changing. The report, titled “Assessing Storefront Vacancy in NYC,” looks at 24 neighborhoods as case studies. The very detailed study found that, overall, storefront vacancy may not be a one-answer citywide problem. Vacancies were found to be concentrated in certain neighborhoods, and the reasons appear to be as many and varied as the neighborhoods themselves.
Photo via Nick Sherman’s Flickr
Brookfield Property Partners announced on Monday it has acquired seven retail storefronts across four properties in the West Village, an attempt to rescue retail in a neighborhood which has had a high rate of vacancies for years. The company hopes to attract e-commerce companies that are interested in testing out brick-and-mortar locations. The properties, found along Bleecker Street between West 10th and West 11th Streets, measure 24,000 square feet. Brookfield paid New York REIT $31.5 million to acquire the properties.
Photo via Dan Nguyen/Flickr
In the “it’s about time” department, the New York Post reports that Mayor Bill de Blasio is considering a tax that would discourage retail landlords from letting their properties sit vacant, depriving potential local businesses of opportunity while giving the middle finger to neighborhood morale. Addressing the rising number of vacant storefronts in just about every neighborhood in the city, the mayor said Friday on WNYC that he would like to see a penalty in place for landlords who leave storefronts sitting unoccupied, presumably waiting for big-ticket tenants who have yet to materialize.