The Manhattan Crisis
The future is online. It sounds like such an intimidating phrase, but it’s the truth. Just as your parents sat down at the breakfast table years ago and read the newspaper, your social media is a constant stream of news, tweets, updates, and general notifications that make looking at a newspaper seem irrelevant. One of the latest industries that is suffering from this same transition, is shopping.
When was the last time that you went shopping before looking online to see if you could just simply order that item with the press of a button? That definitely sounds like a much better alternative than going out, spending gas money, wasting time looking, and then waiting in the check out line. This is the exact reason why so many stores are going out of business, especially those in Manhattan.
Storefront retailing is a dying business, and walking down Broadway between 57th and 48th street proves just that, with a tiny shop to buy drones being the only one you’ll find (Cuozzo, 2018, n.d.). In such a popular area, you wouldn’t think that business would be suffering bad, but the most notable thing you will find is “store for lease” signs.
Surprisingly enough, landlord, real estate, and storefront owners don’t seem to be swayed by the lack of business. They believe it is just another one of the business lows that seem to cycle back and forth. What’s different this time? These vacancies are “at a time when the economy is taking off.” (Cuozzo, 2018, n.p.).
Several years ago, when the business in broadway region was rocketing, many developments were planning ahead for the good business that was expected to come in a few years, but online shopping is robbing them of exactly that. Douglas Durst, who talked to The Post, stated that he doesn’t think that the issue needs city assistance, but he does believe that there won’t be any growth in the areas until companies start taking the leases the store owners are offering.
So what is being done to fix this? Mayor Bill de Blasio recently spoke up on an idea of his that he thought could help the issue. He proposed to fight retail vacancy with a vacancy tax that targeted landlords who left their storefronts empty for long periods of time (Rosenberg, 2018, n.d.). These landlords were refusing most offers in the hopes of receiving a better one, but hopes are the tax spurs them toward leasing their buildings for a cheaper amount.
On a better note, in the midst of all these dead shops, Nordstrom is opening a store dedicated to men’s clothes, with three floors and a lounge where they can enjoy wine and snacks between purchases. Nordstrom is also building a women’s store the following year, and though it may seem a risky time to build in that area, they are integrating an online gifting service and digital style boards (Noto, 2018, n.d.).
Cuozzo, S. (2018, April 7). The world’s hottest shopping city is becoming a ghost town. New York Post. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2018/04/07/the-worlds-hottest-shopping-city-is-becoming-a-ghost-town/
Cuozzo, S. (2018, April 9). Why NYC’s empty retail space surplus isn’t fazing developers. New York Post. Retrieved from https://nypost.com/2018/04/09/why-nycs-empty-retail-space-surplus-isnt-fazing-developers/
Noto, A. (2018, April 10). Nordstrom opening Manhattan men’s store. Bizwomen: The Business Journals. Retrieved from https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2018/04/nordstrom-opening-manhattan-mens-store.html
Rosenberg, Z. (2018, April 2). De Blasio hints at ‘vacancy fee’ for landlords of empty storefronts. Curbed New York. Retrieved from https://ny.curbed.com/2018/4/2/17188918/de-blasio-retail-blight-new-york-vacancy-fee