District 6 Storefronts
The storefront vacancy crisis that plagues the Upper West Side preceded and now has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our storefronts face long term threats from Amazon and the costs of rent. Two proposals in City Hall and the State Assembly are on the table right now - 1. rent control and 2. vacancy penalty taxes. To this crisis, I am proposing a third, and more novel idea:
START UP RETAIL -
My Start Up Retail Program will provide a route for Landlords to demonstrate good faith efforts to fill stores. Landlords will offer pop up entrepreneurs/artists/non profits/and the like a revenue sharing and utility paid arrangement as opposed to rent. With a proposal like this, obvious issues emerge like liability, mortgage consequences, and revenue loss. Here's where the City comes in. Our city is eminently capable of managing the first two problems, while the revenue loss for the landlords will pale in comparison to consequences of any other current proposal on the horizon.
Looking at the result for all parties involved, I see 4 big wins for:
1. Community - We all want to see these stores filled, as they have long been loving characters in our beautiful neighborhood. By filling the stores we will emerge from the pandemic a thriving community once more. The Upper West Side now has the opportunity to be a leader for the city at large as we recover from a crippling crisis.
2. Entrepreneurs - The American Dream is born in a land of opportunity and what better place to properly champion this core American value than the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This is a perfect opportunity for someone to start their own business in NYC without one incredible barrier of entry: rent.
3. Landlords - Faced with the option of seeing their space rent controlled or the building taxed, landlords will happily take a gross 10% + Utilities from a local baker (etc.). Landlords want more pop ups and short term leases.
4. Bankers - The vacant stores hurt landlords, but they are concerned about disrupting their mortgage. Looking down the barrel of the current proposals, bankers will be eager to cooperate with landlords and retail startups in order to avoid the looming regime of penalties and rent control.