Empty retail space in the Big Apple doubled over the last decade as local shops struggled with soaring rents, red tape and competition from Amazon, a troubling new study says.
The amount of empty retail space in the city climbed to 11 million square feet in 2017, double what it was in 2007, the analysis by city Comptroller Scott Stringer found.
“We have a retail vacancy crisis in our city,” said Stringer. “We can’t roll back the clock, but we can do more to protect our mom and pops and adapt to our changing economy.”
He added: “We need our city government to act faster and in a much more coordinated fashion.”
Stringer blamed “burdensome regulatory hurdles” and the “Amazon effect” for the troubling stats.
“You know we’re all shopping online,” he said.
Stringer suggested solutions including streamlining the city’s permitting process and giving businesses tax breaks to move into high-vacancy neighborhoods.