Manhattan’s retail loss is outer boroughs’ gain

Rents and occupancy in Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island near pre-pandemic levels

New York /
Apr.April 13, 2021 10:00 AM
Clockwise from left: Flushing’s Main Street, City Point in Brooklyn and Bronx’s Fordham Road (Getty)

Clockwise from left: Flushing’s Main Street, City Point in Brooklyn and Bronx’s Fordham Road (Getty)

Manhattan retailers are still waiting for the return of tourists to 5th Avenue and employees to Midtown offices, but some retail corridors outside of the central business district have seen metrics return almost to where they were before the pandemic.

Vacancies and rents in the Bronx’s main retail area, Fordham Road, are near normal, the New York Times reported. The vacancy rate is 3 percent, according to the Fordham Road Business Improvement District.

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, new residential development has aided projects such as City Point where nearby residents have frequented Trader Joe’s and Target. Regina Myer, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, said this boosted pedestrian counts to 91 percent of 2019 levels on the corner of Fulton and Hanover Place in December, benefiting Fulton Mall shops.

In Queens, about 1,000 of 6,000 restaurants have closed, according to Thomas Grech, president and chief executive of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. As reports of anti-Asian crimes flow in, businesses in Flushing and Brooklyn’s Chinatown have also been hurt.

But consumer interest in shopping, restaurants and food on Main Street has risen 16 percent since the pandemic, according to Yelp.

New York’s so-called forgotten borough, Staten Island, is also seeing retail come back to life, the Times reported. Empire Outlets, an outdoor mall near the ferry terminal, has lost about 65 percent to 70 percent of its visitors and four retailers, according to Joseph Ferrara, a principal at the mall’s developer, BFC Partners. But foot traffic jumped 20 percent between February and March and parking increased 140 percent.

Manhattan is showing signs of coming back, but not all of its mainstays will. Noted Italian restaurant Del Posto will close permanently, the Times reported, and a similar eatery will open in its place. Its executive chef, Melissa Rodriguez, and a group of investors are behind the effort.

[NYTimes] — Keith Larsen


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