Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Brian Paul, the author of the City Council report, is presenting. CB3 hopes to support actions from this report. (You can find a PDF of "Planning for Retail Diversity" here.)
The meeting is open to the public... it starts at 6:30 p.m. (Wednesday, April 25) in the University Settlement at Houston Street Center (273 Bowery).
Friday, July 14, 2017
Last evening at 5:30, a group of residents, small-business owners and activists gathered on St. Mark's Place and Avenue A to speak out about the incoming Starbucks coming to this corner as well as the proliferation of chain stores in the East Village.
EVG regular Peter Brownscombe shared these photos...
At the rally, participants called for the approval of a Special Retail District that would limit the size and number of chain stores and promote retail diversity that is currently under consideration by Community Board 3 and draw attention to the need for a City Council hearing on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act.
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, East Village Independent Merchants Association, and the East Village Community Coalition organized the event.
City Council candidate Carlina Rivera attended the rally, and said that she supported a special zoning district for the neighborhood.
As reported by Bedford + Bowery: "It’s an important step for us to show that we are done," Rivera said, adding that local residents "want to keep our neighborhood authentic and we want to make sure that how it remains authentic is having the local mom and pops that you know."
In an article published yesterday morning, DNAinfo's Allegra Hobbs spoke with a few East Village business owners who are concerned about "the impact the chain’s move eastward will have on their operations, the local economy and on the neighborhood’s broader culture."
Photos below via Steven...
There was also free coffee courtesy of Mud over on Ninth Street...
"[T]his is one of the most special, unique neighborhoods around," James Armata, Mud's general manager, told Patch at the rally. "It keeps on getting less and less so with constant chains moving in. It could be Starbucks, it could be anything."
Previously on EV Grieve:
Steve Cuozzo: 'A new Starbucks will make the thriving East Village an even better place to live'
A look the incoming Starbucks on St. Mark's and Avenue A, site of a rally on July 13
Public forum set to discuss special business district in the East Village
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
[Image via the EVCC]
Via the EVG inbox…
The East Village Community Coalition (EVCC) announces the release of "Preserving Local, Independent Retail: Recommendations for Formula Retail Zoning in the East Village." The report analyzes the growing presence of chain stores, proposing a framework for limiting the expansion of formula retail.
Three possible methods of formula retail zoning are proposed within the report. These options — aimed at informing decisions by East Village policy makers — have been crafted using case studies, legal suggestions and preexisting zoning frameworks from other parts of the country.
"As the trend toward homogenization progresses in New York, with respect to both the built environment and retail landscape, a timely solution is needed to preserve the individuality of the city’s neighborhoods," said Sara Romanoski, EVCC's managing director. "Placing restrictions on formula retail establishments via zoning amendments provides a path to preserving the rapidly changing East Village. An East Village Special District using the proposed framework will emphasize the importance and uniqueness of the community."
The full report (PDF!) is available for download here
Learn more about the proposal at the Preserving Local, Independent Retail Roundtable on Wednesday, June 24 from 6-8 p.m. at Downtown Art, 61 E. Fourth St. between Second Avenue and the Bowery. Register to attend here.
Friday, June 6, 2014
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.
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Community Board 3 has been working on a letter to send off to property owners and real-estate types with the aim of helping persuade local landlords to rent "to a diverse mix of commercial renters, not just to nightlife businesses, banks and chain stores."
The letter has been making the round in various inboxes... The Lo-Down posted the whole thing on Tuesday. Here's most of the letter from CB3 Chair Dominic Pisciotta:
Residents and business owners in CB 3 are working together to ensure the economic vitality of our neighborhood. We believe it is important to involve property owners in this planning as well. Among our chief concerns are maintaining economic diversity and serving local retail needs. Our community has a high demand for more daytime retail business such as grocers, butchers, shoe stores, stationery stores and other businesses that serve our local residents. Research and public input have indicated that our current condition of too many bars and eating/drinking businesses works against promoting a diverse economy.
We want to ensure that you as property owners are aware of these community needs and priorities and that you relay them to your prospective commercial tenants. It is important for new prospective businesses to understand community priorities and plans before finalizing leases and investing money. In this effort, we welcome your participation in our planning and outreach. Please consider the following factors before signing a lease with your next retail tenant:
• Business owners who live and participate in the neighborhood are considered more community‐ friendly than absentee owners.
• Businesses should have diverse price points for our diverse community.
• Businesses open during the day and that attract daytime street traffic are a current priority.
• Businesses that offer a product or service other than eating and drinking are a current priority.
Some areas in our neighborhood have been overwhelmed with bars and restaurants. Our community does not have the infrastructure to be an entertainment zone. CB3 recommendations to approve liquor licenses will reflect this. It is important and fair for potential businesses to be aware of these priorities and areas.
Let's hope that it does some good... in just the last week, we've seen two small restaurants close (Polonia and Itzocan Café) and two small businesses shutter (Vampire Freaks and the Autumn Skateboard Shop). ... and the arrival of yet another Subway...
Previously on EV Grieve:
Of the 147 storefronts on Avenue A, 70 of them are bars, restaurants or vacant