UWS zoning proposal could raise store rents by as much as 20 percent, source says

March 19, 2012 03:00PM

Approval is likely for an Upper West Side zoning proposal that’s intended to protect small neighborhood businesses from the approach of big banks, retail chains and pharmacies, Crain’s reported. As previously reported by The Real Deal, the controversial zoning revision would limit the size of retail stores. Now, if approved, these shop owners could face rent hikes.

Rafe Evans, a real estate broker with the Upper West Side’s Walker Malloy & Co. told Crain’s that store rents could increase as much as 20 percent.

“It’s an enormous concern,” said Carol Baer, owner of the Popover Cafe at 551 Amsterdam Avenue at 87th Street, to Crain’s about the increased rents. “That would be deadly.”

The plan faces opposition from unspecified neighborhood chambers of commerce, business improvement districts and the Real Estate Board of New York. However, Crain’s wrote that the Bloomberg administration, local residents, elected officials and owners of smaller stores support the plan. Moreover, local Community Board 7 voted unanimously in favor of it. Supporters see it as a necessary step to preserve the Upper West Side’s tradition of independent commerce.

The proposal itself aims to limit the size of new ground-floor storefronts to 40 feet, limit bank frontage on Amsterdam and Columbus avenues and Broadway to 25 feet and would rezone the retail strips of Columbus Avenue between 72nd and 87th streets and Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway between 72nd and 110th streets. [Crain’s]