Study Finds East Village Losing Local Businesses

The East Village economy is crumbling, a new study has found.

About 19 percent of the neighborhood’s storefronts — 331 out of 1,776 — were vacant as of October 2021, a 5 percent increase from the same time in 2019, according to a report by the Cooper Square Committee, Village Preservation and the East Village Community Coalition.

They concluded that the main causes were pandemic-related shutdowns, rising advertising costs, rising rents and difficulties in finding qualified workers.

“The number of vacant storefronts in the neighborhood grew as many retailers struggled to keep their businesses open and some were forced to close their doors,” the study said.

Kristian Sorge, who opened the Limited One Record Shop at E. 10th Street five years ago, landlords said they weren’t interested in providing space for small businesses.

“Landlords want to rent to something big like a bank or a franchise,” he said. “They’re just waiting for the big paycheck, so they’re really keeping the rents up instead of trying to cultivate a community around the East Village.”

Rob Rossi says East Village is
Rob Rossi says East Village is “just getting really messy” due to rampant crime.
Helayne Seidman
An empty storefront on First Avenue in the East Village.
An empty storefront on First Avenue in the East Village.
Helayne Seidman

Businesses are also grappling with rampant crime, as petty thefts in the 9th Precinct, which patrols the East Village, are up 140 percent since this time last year.

“People in the neighborhood steal from bodegas all the time and they don’t get charged. How are you supposed to pay the rent like that?” said Rob Rossi, bartender at the International Bar on 1st Avenue. “You walk down D and C avenues and a lot of these shops are gone. The whole neighborhood is getting very chaotic right now.”

The types of businesses most likely to disappear include tailors, tattoo shops, dry cleaners, ice cream shops, hardware stores, bars and restaurants, the study found.

Record store owner Kristian Sorge claims landlords are asking for leases from banks instead of small businesses.
Record store owner Kristian Sorge claims landlords are asking for leases from banks instead of small businesses.
Taidgh Barron
Local residents blame rising crime for leaving small businesses.
Local residents blame rising crime for leaving small businesses.
Helayne Seidman
Kristian Sorge owns the record store Limited To One on East 10th Street in the East Village.
Kristian Sorge owns the record store Limited To One on East 10th Street in the East Village.
Taidgh Barron

On the other hand, bookstores, bike shops, record shops, art galleries, wine and liquor stores, pet shops and bodegas are thriving.

The study identified hotspots for untapped potential, such as the retail space attached to the New York City Housing Authority’s First Houses on Avenue A and the luxury condos in the Steiner East Village, which will have over 11,300 square feet of vacant commercial space even after completion feature 2017.

https://nypost.com/2022/08/13/east-village-losing-local-businesses-study-finds/ Study Finds East Village Losing Local Businesses

JACLYN DIAZ

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