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Store vacancies ‘will be the norm,’ state Senator Hoylman says

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Downtown small businesses were suffering, with streets blighted by rows of empty storefronts. 

It’s been an ongoing story, with Bleecker St. its poster child.

And now the coronavirus effect: “Nonessential” businesses have been ordered closed during the New York State on Pause shutdown, and even those still open are suffering.

Speaking to the Village Independent Democrats club on April 2, state Senator Brad Hoylman described the grim new reality.

A bill introduced by Hoylman — with an Assembly version sponsored by Deborah Glick — would impose a tax on ground-floor commercial spaces vacant more than six months in cities of 1 million or more people. 

But, clearly, everything has now changed, and it’s unfathomable to imagine such a bill passing in Albany.

“I think commercial vacancies now are probably going to be the norm,” Hoylman said. “Whereas before we had a bit of the moral high ground because landlords were evicting longtime tenants — friends and neighbors of ours who ran shops like dry cleaners and shoe stores. Now I think the economics have changed the reality of getting a bill like that passed. 

“The small landlord is [now] probably in as difficult a position as anyone else, to be honest,” Hoylman said. “We’re going to have to look at incentives for these landlords to keep them afloat. Their mortgages are coming due, for those who own buildings.

“So this is not simple by any means,” he said. “Whereas I was looking at more of a stick to keep landlords from evicting our cherished businesses, now we have to figure out ways to support even the landlords. It’s a whole new world.”


  1. Jameson Doe Jameson Doe April 9, 2020

    The Senator needs to address how awfully run NYC Small Business services is run by Greg Bishop. How he was not fired ages ago is a big mystery and he should call out Deblasio about the mismanagement of this agency.
    The Senator also needs to address what the heck does the Empire State Developments Small Business Department do? ESD Executive Management Team
    Eric Gertler – Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate
    Kevin Younis – Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Commissioner
    Richard Newman – Chief of Staff and EVP, State Marketing Strategy
    Elizabeth Fine – EVP, Legal and General Counsel
    Rhoda Glickman – SVP, Film, Arts and New Media Development
    Ed Hamilton – EVP, Administration
    Elaine Kloss – Chief Financial Officer
    Holly Leicht – EVP, Real Estate Development and Planning
    Pravina Raghavan – EVP, Small Business Services and Community Economic Development
    Valerie White – EVP and Executive Director, Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development
    Matthew Gorton – EVP, Public Affairs and Communications

    For more information, contact:
    ESD Office of Public Affairs
    (800) 260-7313

    You have any agency that does nothing for small businesses. Why is the Senator remain quiet about how these agencies are run?

    • savenycjobs savenycjobs April 11, 2020

      What do they do? They work to maximize big developers profits and eliminate their risks. Which has made NYC the epicenter of real estate speculation in the world. Next they create worthless programs and BIDS to give lawmakers political cover for doing nothing to save a single small business . The outcome of this bias economic policy are the empty stores on every main street of NYC where once thriving businesses were. The Department of Small Business Services and Empire State Development are political organizations with the worst records for a healthy business environment in the nation. Their failed policies have made NYC the worst city in the world for established businesses to survive.

  2. Pamela Wolff Pamela Wolff April 9, 2020

    Brad, bless him, is a realist. When this mess is over, and it WILL be over, the landlords will realize they must reduce rents to something manageable, and with cheap government loans the small businesses will find their way back. Meanwhile, yes, there will be blocks and blocks of empty storefronts. I mourn.

    • savenycjobs savenycjobs April 11, 2020

      If Brad were a “realist” he would have long ago seen long established Village businesses closing when their leases expired and taken action to stop the closings. Making the statement that the norm will be empty stores is ridiculous when the entire Village area has had empty stores for years! His fake study of Bleaker Street with useless suggestions should cause outrage from Village small business owners. Why didn’t he do a study on how to keep the businesses from closing in the first place? The destruction of the most iconic neighborhood in the nation and NOTHING is being done but excuses should be the call for Village voters to bring in a new team of lawmakers who represent the will of the people and not the political machine and big real estate.

  3. savenycjobs savenycjobs April 9, 2020

    Shameful statement from lawmakers promoting useless legislation instead of
    calling for the immediate passage of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act .
    Do anything but give small business owners rights needed to survive. He is not alone in doing nothing as businesses close , the entire Democratic party is controlled by REBNY and nobody has the courage or integrity to stand up to them and do the right thing.
    What he is pedaling is not new but created by REBNY years ago . Would not save a single store. How about lawmakers doing something to KEEP BUSINESSES FROM CLOSING!

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