Riverdale begins to shake off recession

June 01, 2012 08:30AM

Riverdale’s retail real estate market was hit particularly hard by the downturn, but it’s showing renewed signs of life, according to the Wall Street Journal. While many families moved to the area for its proximity to Manhattan, its well-reputed schools and the convenience of local business corridors, the latter part of that equation began to weaken — Especially Along Riverdale Avenue, where there were at least 12 empty storefronts.

But since 2010 a bevy of new eateries have opened along the thoroughfare. Yo-Burger, Orgenao Bar & Bistro, Tin Marin tapas restaurant, Greek Express and Ha-Makolet Shoshi’s Market have brought life to an area that was “in major decline,” according to Vasco Da Silva, the executive vice president of nearby Exclusive Properties Sotheby’s International Realty.

The neighborhood’s secondary retail strip, along Johnson Avenue, hasn’t fared as well. The block between West 235th and West 236th streets alone has three empty storefronts. Nearby businesses blame rising rents and shrinking margins, which is a product of the sudden lack of diversity.

“We used to have more diversity in the kinds of businesses here—but it’s mostly restaurants, beauty salons and banks now,” said Alex Katechis, owner of Blue Bay Restaurant On Johnson Avenue. [WSJ]