HUNDREDS OF EMPTY STOREFRONTS ON NEW YORK’S BROADWAY


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In late August, 335 storefronts stood empty along New York City’s Great White Way, compared to 188 at the same time in 2017, according to Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer.

About a third of the vacancies were along the avenue’s 44-block stretch that includes the Garment District.

Foot traffic through the area fell 93 percent last spring, compared to a year previous,  when the shutdown was imposed and was still down 66 percent in early September, according to data gathered by the Garment District Alliance’s pedestrian-counting cameras.

Empty storefronts were on the rise throughout the city before the pandemic arrived. Vacancies rose from 4 percent in 2007 to 5.8 percent in 2017, said a report last spring from the city comptroller’s office.

TREND FORECAST: From big to small, the lockdown and exodus from New York City spreads far and wide.

One Vanderbilt, a $3-billion, 1.5-million-square-foot Manhattan office tower four years in the making, opened this week, at a time when the economic shutdown has driven demand for office space to its lowest rate since the Great Recession a decade ago.

Although charging premium rents, developer SL Green Realty says it has leased 70 percent of the space to TD Bank, investment manager The Carlyle Group, and prominent law firms.

While the company predicts that 72 percent of the space will be leased by year-end, and expects more space to be taken after the 1,401-foot-tall tower’s observation deck opens to the public next year, our forecast differs.

There will be few tourists to go to the observation deck, workers will be afraid to go back to work, new restaurants will be weary to open, and rental costs will decline as supply continues to greatly outstrip demand.

Indeed, TD Bank has not set a date to bring home-workers back to its offices, and one law firm has delayed its move to 1 Vanderbilt from next March until June.

SL Green has been reportedly selling some properties and refinancing others. The company’s share price is down about 45 percent since January.

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