Study reveals variety of reasons for retail vacancies
By Sabina Mollot
While too-high rents and competition from Amazon are often blamed for the state of the city’s struggling retail sector, when there’s a high vacancy rate in a particular neighborhood, it can’t necessarily be pinned down to one specific obstacle.
At least, that’s the conclusion drawn by the Department of City Planning (DCP), which has released a study of the city’s retail storefronts to determine vacancy rates and the possible reasons for them.
The report was done after assessing 10,000 storefronts in 24 retail corridors around the boroughs using data from a tech platform put out by the company Live XYZ as well as on the ground surveys. Looking at trends from late 2017 through Fall 2018, the study also used demographic, land use and real estate data, and input from local business associations. The survey defined a vacant space as vacant and available. Those not included in stats were vacant spaces with active construction or known redevelopment plans as well as empty stores with signage announcing a future tenant. Occupied stores with a “for lease” sign were also excluded from the vacancy figures.
Overall the study found, when comparing similar data from a decade ago, vacancy has increased from 7.6-9 percent over the studied neighborhoods.