Planning Department Study Documents Storefront Vacancy in NYC Neighborhoods

A new report from the New York Department of City Planning has found that 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 varied.

August 15, 2019, 1:00 PM PDT

By Joey788


New York Vacant Storefront

Jazz Guy / Flickr

Michelle Cohen reports:

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. 

Cohen also lists a few of the study's key findings: 

  1. The retail industry is changing rapidly across New York City and the country.
  2. Vacancy rates are volatile, vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and street to street, and cannot be explained by any single factor. 
  3. Vacancy is concentrated only in certain neighborhoods and is influenced by local and citywide market forces and spending patterns. 

The "Assessing Storefront Vacancy in NYC: 24 Neighborhood Case Studies" [pdf] report is available online.

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