Will the Mandated Storefront Vacancy Database Solve High Rent Blight?
City Council last month passed a bill that would require all business owners to register their storefronts with the city. This move toward cataloging aims to be the first public database of retail spaces with corresponding vacancy status in the country.
“Int. No. 1472” was introduced earlier this year by the office of Borough President Brewer, Council member Rosenthal, and Council Speaker Johnson. Now that it’s received the green light, the bill will “require building owners to register their vacancy on a public database managed by the city with their properties are empty and can be used to form the basis of possible solutions.”
It’s unclear if prior rents or current asking prices for new tenants will be included with vacancy listings. Or whether or not landlords will be involved with the process. After all, empty storefronts are usually a sign of exorbitant inflation, colloquially know as “high rent blight.”
“You can’t fix a problem when you can’t even begin to measure it,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “This database will be a boost for business owners looking for possible places to rent, those facing lease negotiations, and countless other possible services…”
Now, if only there were a database to solve the issue of mom-and-pops being pushed out of their storefronts to begin with.