Report: Mayor Mulls Retail Vacancy Tax for Greedy Landlords
The practice of warehousing retail properties – intentionally keeping stores empty to attract high rents – could potentially conclude. Mayor de Blasio is reportedly mulling a plan to implement a “vacancy tax” on these greedy landlords.
According to a dispatch in the New York Post, the poshest city neighborhoods are hardest hit. “Retail corridors in prosperous Manhattan neighborhoods are struggling with double-digit vacancy rates, from 27 percent on Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side to 20 percent on a stretch of Broadway in Soho. Five percent or less is generally considered ‘healthy.'”
The Lower East Side is no exception, either. Just take a stroll around; some commercial stores have been dormant for several years at a clip, supplanted at times with useless pop-ups meant to draw attention and raise rent values.
“I am very interested in fighting for a vacancy fee or a vacancy tax that would penalize landlords who leave their storefronts vacant for long periods of time in neighborhoods because they are looking for some top-dollar rent but they blight neighborhoods by doing it,” Hizzoner admitted to WNYC on Friday. “That is something we could get done through Albany.”
The fact that de Blasio is publicly talking about this is proof that the #SaveNYC campaign is gaining traction. This conversation would have been unheard of a couple years ago.
Nevertheless, will something change or is this just lip service?