Are Small Businesses Really Fleeing New York? This Tool Can Tell.

Are Small Businesses Really Fleeing New York? This Tool Can Tell.

A first-of-its-kind law will give New York City data on small businesses fleeing the city as retail rents skyrocket. But skeptics fear that won’t be enough.

Key findings

A study released in May 2019 by the NYC's own Department of Small Business Services (SBS) found that the average rate of empty storefronts citywide is 8.9 percent; other numbers indicate that at least 20 percent of spaces in Manhattan are vacant or about to be, with higher figures on particular avenues.

Intro 1472, otherwise known as the “storefront tracker” bill, will require all commercial storefront and second floor spaces citywide to register, creating essentially a vacancy database of Gotham.

The storefront tracker bill enjoyed a wealth of support from food truck groups, block associations, and artists. According to its description, occupancy data will be dissected by council and census districts, and include information on rent, lease duration, rentable floor area, and the properties that are due to expire in the next two years. Owners will have to submit the data next year alongside their annual income and expense statements to the city’s Department of Finance.

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