[2 storefronts for rent on 1st Avenue between 13th and 14th]
Last week, State Sen. Brad Hoylman released the findings of a new report examining the growing specter of vacant storefronts in Manhattan.
Per a release on this report:
Combining on-the-ground data collection with firsthand accounts from small businesses, "Bleaker on Bleecker: A Snapshot of High-Rent Blight in Greenwich Village and Chelsea" looks at the causes and impacts of storefront vacancies and recommends solutions to address the problem.
The New York Times (here) and Jeremiah's Vanishing New York (here) reported on some of the findings.
The data Hoylman's office collected includes commercial sectors in the East Village:
· 18.4 percent vacancy rate along Bleecker Street from 6th to 8th Avenues
· 9.8 percent overall vacancy rate along First Avenue from 10th to 23rd Streets, Second Avenue from 3rd to 14th Streets, Eighth Avenue from 15th to 22nd Streets, and Bleecker Street from 6th to 8th Avenues
"Bleecker Street serves as a cautionary tale of how high rents in the Village and Chelsea are pushing out longtime independent business. We can’t simply allow market forces to run roughshod over our community any longer," he said.
His report provides a few solutions to address the growing problem of small business vacancies:
· Creation of a New York City Legacy Business Registry: The registry would track and maintain a list of small businesses that have been in operation for at least 30 years. This would enable New York State to recognize important businesses that in the future could potentially merit historic preservation tax credits and other benefits.
· Creation of Formula Retail Zoning Restrictions: This legislation would enable New York City to place limits on national chain stores.
· Phasing Out Tax Deductions for Landlords with Persistent Vacancies: Though landlords who leave retail storefronts vacant cannot deduct lost potential rental income, they are able to receive deductions for depreciation of property and operating vacancies. This proposal would disincentivize vacant storefronts by phasing out these deductions for building owners who leave retail spaces vacant over a year.
·Eliminating the Commercial Rent Tax: The Commercial Rent Tax (CRT) is an onerous and outdated burden on many small businesses. The tax only applies to commercial tenants in buildings below 96th Street in Manhattan, putting them at a distinct disadvantage compared to businesses elsewhere. State legislation could prevent the city from levying the Commercial Rent Tax on small businesses.
"I hope the ideas in my report will ignite a conversation about how we can assist small businesses before — not after — they face the seemingly inevitable reckoning of enormous rent increases," he said.
You can access a PDF of the report here.
On this topic, Community Board 3's Economic Development Committee is hosting a public forum next Wednesday night to discuss a proposed special district in the East Village "to encourage retail diversity and promote small and independent businesses."
Find the details here.