Vacancies linger in city’s new developments

March 01, 2011 01:43PM

Vacancies in new developments stick out like a sore thumb and in Manhattan alone, at least 46 condominiums built or converted in the past five years have 69 empty retail spaces, according to That’s in addition to new rental towers and Brooklyn’s condos which also have vacancies. “It looks incongruous,” urban planner Ethel Sheffer told New York Magazine. “It doesn’t continue to provide the kind of animated street life that most people like about cities.” The reasons for the lingering vacancies can be traced back to the recession, as the ground-floor retail market is still recovering. Banks that once occupied such properties are acquiring less space, according to brokers, and discount apparel retailers like Filene’s Basement and Daffy’s, want pedestrian-heavy addresses, which wasn’t a prerequisite for the condo parts of these towers. Some merchants have also taken the opportunity to trade up to previously unaffordable addresses, further impeding developments in less-proven locations. But the vacancies will eventually be filled, as recorded a dip in this category of vacancy earlier this year, before the number climbed back up. [NY Mag]