Columbus Ave. retail corridor sees spike in vacancies

UWS neighborhood's BID reported zero retail vacancies three years ago

341 Columbus Ave
341 Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side

The Columbus Avenue retail corridor on the Upper West Side ain’t what it used to be.

Three years after the area’s business improvement district reported zero retail vacancies in a 15-block stretch along Columbus Avenue, that number has climbed to 14, according to a retail vacancy map posted on the BID’s website last week.

“We were bragging a couple of years ago we were at 100 percent occupancy,” Columbus Avenue BID executive director Barbara Adler told the New York Observer. “Now there are some vacancies.”

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The area in question houses 185 retail spaces between West 67th and West 82nd streets. But thanks to availabilities like clothing boutique Pookie & Sebastian’s, at 322 Columbus Avenue, and pet daycare center Spot, at 452 Columbus Avenue, vacancies along the corridor are on the rise.

The spike in retail vacancies is due to “a lack of equilibrium between tenant and landlord expectations,” according to broker Rafe Evans of Walker Malloy & Co., with landlords getting overzealous in their asking rents.

“You can’t be 100 percent [vacancy-free] forever,” Evans said. “And then among the well-known shopping avenues, there’s a slight case of retail malaise. There really is.” [NYO] — Rey Mashayekhi