Vacant Commercial Spaces Spreading in New York
From Prospect Heights to Times Square, vacant commercial spaces are spreading all over New York. "A survey conducted by Douglas Elliman found that about 20 percent of all retail space in Manhattan is currently vacant, she said, compared with roughly 7 percent in 2016," Corey Kilgannon reports for the New York Times.
A growing economy is pushing up costs, especially in neighborhoods that are becoming wealthy. Other factors cited by retail watchers include the continued growth of online retail and a practice called "warehousing" store fronts. Some believe that property owners with the means to forgo rents will keep properties off the market in order to secure longer leases or higher rents. Mayor, Bill de Blasio, has said he would support a vacancy tax to try to dissuade the practice.
Whatever the cause, the effect is clear. "Soaring rents and competition from online shopping have forced out many beloved mom-and-pop shops, which many residents say decimates neighborhoods and threatens New York’s unique character," Kilgannon writes.