By Sabina Mollot
Last Tuesday, the City Council passed five bills aimed at helping mom-and-pops, including one that would track retail vacancies and information about those spaces’ leasing history.
Each of the bills passed unanimously, with the exception of the vacancy tracking one, which still easily got through with just two objections.
If signed by the mayor, building owners would be required to submit information to the city regarding ground and second floor commercial spaces. The city’s Department of Finance would then establish publicly available data on those commercial properties, disaggregated by council district. Information would include median average duration of leases, the median and average remaining term to lease expiration, the median and average size of rentable floor area, the number of such premises reported as being leased and vacant, the median and average rent, the length of time a property has not been leased as well as construction information, and the number of such premises where the lease is due to expire within two years of the current calendar year. The bill would also require the release of a list of addresses of commercial properties and an indicator of whether or not such properties are vacant.
The legislation’s sponsor, Council Member Helen Rosenthal, said she thought it would go a long way to fighting retail blight.