Friday, June 6, 2014

CB3 study: More restaurants, higher rents and less retail diversity

[Random EVG photo]

The Villager this week summarizes the results of an East Village retail diversity study that Columbia University students recently presented to CB3's Economic Development Committee.

Among the not-really-shocking bullet points for the CB3 area (the East Village, the Lower East Side and part of Chinatown):

• Struggle to retain affordable housing stock
— 42% increase in average rent between 2000 and 2012
• Struggle to retain local businesses
• Rapid displacement of family owned businesses
— Ever growing bar and restaurant industry
— Increasing rents
• Increase in liquor-licensed establishments
— Decreased quality of life
— Nighttime noise complaints
— Inactive daytime storefronts
— Little attraction to residents
— Lack of local retail services
— Increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic congestion

From the Villager article:

More startling perhaps was what the data showed about full-service restaurants and watering holes. In 2004, there were 248 food-services and drinking places in Alphabet City. By 2012, that number had ballooned to 514, significantly outpacing any other kind of business and increasing these businesses’ area "market share" to 32 percent.

Yet, Alphabet City’s number of bars has actually fluctuated, from 24 in 2004, up to a high of 80 in 2008, and back down to 59 in 2012. Meanwhile, full-service restaurants have simply exploded, from 175 in 2004 to 380 in 2012.

The study also found a big increase in median household income — by an average of nearly 45 percent, from just under $37,000 in 2000 to $62,000 in 2012. (In some census tracts in the study area, the median household income jumped 100 percent to $144,821, as The Villager noted.)

Back to the article:

The data also added some weight to claims that city planners under former Mayor Bloomberg targeted the East Village as a "destination neighborhood" for tourists. This is a view with which Stacey Sutton — a Columbia urban planning professor and mentor to the students who did the report — somewhat agrees. A 2012 report prepared for CB3 by Mary de Stefano, the board’s former planning fellow, reached a similar conclusion about the former mayor's intentions.

The area’s food-services and drinking places drew in a hefty $200 million in 2012, according to the report. These were also far and away the area’s chief employers among types of businesses studied, with more than 6,100 workers, up from more than 5,200 in 2006.

The report included some recommendations, including:

• Maintain existing but limit future restaurant, bar, and chain store openings
— Develop initiatives to inform and persuade building owners to look for and keep small business tenants
Materials to support these initiatives:
1) An updated land use inventory
2) A list of retail needs other than restaurants and bars
Require special permits or special zoning regulations to make it difficult for these retail types to open in the area

The meeting was May 7. As The Villager article noted, "Despite the issue’s purported urgency, however, turnout was low at the meeting, which drew few local community members."

We don't recall hearing anything about it … outside the usual monthly email listing all the committee meetings, a number which can be as high as 15.

Find a PDF of the study here.


Walter said...

Bloomberg has damaged this city beyond repair.

Walter said...

PS: The horse has left the barn.

Walter said...

"(In some census tracts in the study area, the median household income jumped 100 percent to $144,821,"

Yeah right. I'm surrounded by people earning 144 K annually.

Go back to 116th Street, you sub-geniuses.

9:00 am said...

Just confirmed, validated, and quantified what this blog has been chronicling. WOOOOOOOOOO!

Anonymous said...

It is hard to imagine the "quality of life" point would ever hold up to 1000 new jobs even if those new jobs are service positions in bars and restaurants politicians will tell us jobs trump sleep and a pleasant place to live. Bloomberg saw this neighborhood as a barren patch of land which could generated tax money and fees for the city so he seeded the EV with tax incentives for the developers and as we say the rest is our current predicament. When you get a businessman as a leader you get someone that only understands how to generate money and ideas like quality of life, preservation and diversity are necessary sacrifices to reach his end. Now that is report is finished what is the next step? Does the NY Times pay any attention to the story or is this just study that will stay in academia and be studied by students for years to come?

blue glads said...

it took a study to tell us what we who live here already know.
how much did this study cost?

few community people attended the cb meeting because they're happy campers in locavore wonderland; are two busy working two jobs to pay their rent; didn't know about it; or know there is nothing they can do about it.

pinhead said...

After delivering their report, the students played beer pong at 13th Step and puked on each other. (Woo.)

10:00 a.m. said...

And oh, I'll drink to this study. Now, if only I could decide where to do that. So many choices!

Crazy Eddie said...

In the words of President Thomas Whitmore from Independence Day:

"Then we're being exterminated."

Anonymous said...

throw all these recommendations in the garbage, it's from college kids and I bet 99% if not 100% are out of towners who
have no idea how business works in new york city, leave the businesses alone,they already have enough limits, permits and regulations to deal with and let whoever wants to pay these crazy ever increasing rent prices that these landlords are asking do so.

I guess since Columbia University is in the mood to for recommendations I will give one to them...I recommend whoever the teacher was who initiated the students into doing this to come up with a better, more useful report, like on the homeless, the poor, the mentally ill, handicapped people
living in NYC.

Anonymous said...

The meeting on May 7th would have been a good one to advertise more than just listing it on CB3 calendar. On the other hand not surprising given the small staff.

bowboy said...

I could be wrong, but my guess is that long-time locals can just sit back and watch these 2 worlds collide:

a. The rise in income is driven by young, rich families.

b. the # of 4am bars will continue to grow.

c. long-time locals unhappily put up with noisy late-night streets, but rich people will not tolerate their children not being able to sleep at night.

d. So, these 2 money driven changes in the area are on a collision course, and the ones who will most pay the price are on the CB3 SLA committee. Pity them.

Bar owners think that old nimbys are a pain in the butt, well, just wait until the people paying the most in taxes, unhappily living in new luxury condos, get fed up. We'll see whose money talks and whose money walks.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting if they looked into how many people now buy things online from places like Amazon and etc. With fewer retail, especially mom-and-pop stores disappearing, it wouldn't surprise me if one of the major reasons is that people are finding cheaper products online. Mom-and-pop retail stores can't really compete with online shopping...

Anyway, just thinking about other factors as well...

Anonymous said...

So what? I totally agree with the findings, If you are not into bars or the newest restaurant, there is really no other life down here. It's been sucked up into a txt zombie vortex.

Anonymous said...

Bowboy hits on a good point. EV seems to be simultaneously catering to the moneyed yuppie crowd with all its glassy new condos, and the B&T crowd with all its fun vomitorium bars. A neighborhood cannot be both a family-oriented yuppie enclave AND Liquorlicenseland at the same time, can it? Whatever, the writing has been on the wall--the future of this place is not looking very cool.

Anonymous said...

Small mom and pop stores can adapt to changing buying habits by shifting the products to reflect the new or changing population in the EV. What mom and pop cannot do is sign or renew a lease which is triple their previous rents. As the owner of a small store I have gradually modified my inventory to attract this customer and it has kept me in business for nearly 15 years. Fortunately I have not had to deal with a greedy landlord or I would have had to moved or worse shut my business.

Walter said...

"After delivering their report, the students played beer pong at 13th Step and puked on each other. (Woo.) "

You, Sir, win the gold medal

Glenn Belverio said...

I agree with anony 10:46am.

Walking to work this morning, I could not believe the number of baby carriages and happy, couture-clad white children taking up every square inch of the sidewalks. The rich family quota is at an all-time high in the EV now and many of them are not even annoying hipster parents--so these are not people who are going to be hanging out at bars until 4am. Something's gonna give eventually.

Anonymous said...

The poster who posted at 10:46 a.m. writes about something I have been thinking about. As more people with money move into the neighborhood, they are going to expect a higher quality of life, and there is no way they are going to put up with the out of control noise coming from so many bars. There will be a clash, and the people with money, who will be able to afford to lawyers to go after the bars and the state liquor license authority, will likely have an impact on nightlife in the area, though it could take years for them to drive out the bars that have a foothold now. It will be interesting to see the battle if I can hang on long enough to still be here to see it. Chances are, I won't!

nygrump said...

Its not that the bars are open until 4 am - they've always been open until 4 am - it is the base quality of their patrons and the incessant need for the bars to have pounding pulsing music until then, to cover the sound of snorting. Its like invasion of the body snatchers, one day I woke up and all the kids are being led around by their pods, watch them, they walk around with their hands out before them being led around by their little pod device, connected right back to the Central State apparatus. And they LIKE IT!

Anonymous said...

"long-time locals unhappily put up with noisy late-night streets, but rich people will not tolerate their children not being able to sleep at night."

This is already happening. For example, no sooner had that ugly residential block appeared on 4th & Bowery, than the residents complained about the long-running Beige party (which started in the early 90s) and killed it.

Per the Times (2011):
"But next Tuesday, Beige is coming to an end, at least in its current spot. Mr. Conrad blames the new luxury apartment across the street, whose residents have already flooded the local community board with noise complaints."

This was actually one of the few EV nightspot parties that I enjoyed attending. In my times there, it was never a particularly noisy party.

- East Villager

Anonymous said...

@Walter...I dropped the comment about Richmond yesterday on the Merchant House thread. If you are interested looking around, Google neighborhoods Fan District, Church Hill, Jackson Ward, Museum District and check out and Style Weekly if you want to get a sense of what life is like here. Another side note, my half of the rent in one of the city's best neighborhoods is $462 a month.

Walter said...

Thank you, 4:15 PM

Walter said...

" sooner had that ugly residential block appeared on 4th & Bowery..."

This building can legitimately claim to be the ugliest structure down here. What a f*cking red brick eyesore. It looks like something out of the central planning committee in Moscow, circa 1959. Kind of ironic that any moron who would choose to live in such an environment would file noise complaints. We all should file EYE complaints. What a bunch of ........

Walter said...

2nd Avenue is teeming with Bros in flip-flops. (EVG, sorry for the double post. I originally posted this in the wrong thread. This is the one I meant to post it to.)

Anonymous said...

EV to that report: It's like you know me!

Anonymous said...

Walter wrote: "2nd Avenue is teeming with Bros in flip-flops"

I don't understand how anyone can wear flip-flops in the city. Not only is it ugly and rather disgusting to others, but does the wearer ever consider what is on NYC streets and sidewalks, and is now crawling on their skin?

Walter said...

Exactly. I never understood that either.