With how populated the city of New York is, it’s astonishing to find so many vacant stores within its boroughs. It’s a problem putting a hold onto its urban evolution as smaller shops are being put out of business with the rise in its rent. As are most things recently, rent in Manhattan has been on the rise and it hasn’t been looking good for small business owners.
Being New York’s most populated borough it’s understanding why the city council is trying to bring a tax break to help small business owners with Manhattans rising rent. On Thursday, the council is expected to pass a bill that helps tackle one part of the multipartite problem that the commercial rent tax issues even though it only affects businesses south of 96th street that pay a quarter of a million dollars or more.
The tax last changed back in 2001 when it’s cost went up a huge $100,000. Since that rise in price, commercial rents have erupted in most of Manhattan. For example, data collected by the Real Estate Board of New York, in SoHo alone the rent went up by an astounding 431 percent between 2001 and 2016.
The bill, introduced by democrat Daniel Garodnick who represents Manhattans central and upper east side segments would raise the rent threshold to $500,000 a year This would mean over 2,000 or so businesses would be free of the taxing currently in place.
“So many storefronts today are vacant for a variety of reasons,” Mr. Garodnick said. “But also because we are not doing enough as a city to support our mom-and-pop businesses.” With the current commercial rent tax bracket, he said, “the city is stepping on the neck of small businesses. And we have an obligation to help them survive.”
The bill Mr. Garodnick is trying to pass through is cosponsored by another 42 of the 51 members of council and is backed by Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“We’ve worked closely with the Council on the bill and look forward to its passage and to the relief it will give thousands of small businesses,” said Eric F. Phillips, Mr. de Blasio’s press secretary.The quick succession of vacant storefronts has been a discussion point among the Council for quite a while now as they’ve been trying to come up with possible solutions to put it to an end.
One of those solutions was to fine owners who left their store vacant for too long in the hopes that it would bring in big-ticket renters. Unfortunately, previous legislative efforts have hit nothing but dead ends and in doing so hasn’t been able to solve any of the problems the Council faces due to vacancies.
“You don’t want every neighborhood, every block to just be pharmacies and banks,” Ms. Mark-Viverito said. “You want there to be opportunities to be smaller retailers that are locally owned, that have a history in the community. Being able to provide some relief for them is something we have to take seriously as a city.”