Thursday, April 7, 2011

Empty Storefronts on Seventh: Is Fifth to Blame?

It's no secret that the economy has had a negative effect on storefront vacancy rates in Park Slope. In fact, the alarming number of store closings has been a hot topic on local blogs over the past couple of months (see Park Slope Patch, The L and Fucked in Park Slope (FIPS)).

Yesterday, FIPS highlighted an article on a real estate news site about the recent increase in Seventh Avenue vacancies. The article acknowledged the link between high rents and empty storefronts and showed that the real story behind some storefront vacancies is often more complicated than it seems. Some of the people interviewed blamed improvements on Fifth Avenue for Seventh Avenue's woes.

What do you think? Is Fifth Avenue harming Seventh?

"Slippery Slope" [The Real Deal]

Note: we decided not to post the obligatory photo of a shuttered storefront. You get the idea, right?


  1. I think greed is harming Seventh Avenue. A good number of empty storefronts are owned by landlords who've had the properties for years. Surely many of them could make good money renting them at rates that would attract numerous local businesses. But instead they choose to hold out for exorbitant prices, which leaves us with empty spaces for extended periods of time, or the chains that are the only businesses that can afford the rent.

  2. Interesting- someone in the comment section of the article said that many landlords received loans to fix up properties, backing up the loans with the value of the buildings (which is partially determined by the rent collected). So, they got the loans when the market was hot and rents were high and if they lower the rents the banks will call their loans.

  3. Fifth has an influence, as cheaper, as the best restaurant row in BKLYN, a narrower and more intimate street. If i had a resto, i'd rather be on Fifth. Feels cooler, too.

    Seventh has some weird owners, many won't pay fees, doesn't have the right spaces for tenants that can pay 80,90 and is overpriced for those who cannot.

  4. Fifth has plenty of empty stores too, though! There are half a dozen just within a block or two of me in the South Slope. Fifth may not be as expensive as Seventh (yet), but the economy hurts all businesses. Seventh does seem more stagnant though, partly because many of the newer stores there tend to be on the bland side, and because the pedestrian traffic is far less economically diverse. I love some of the older businesses on Seventh, but most of the newer places are pricey & kind of dull. Fifth may well go the way of Seventh down the line, but in the South Slope at least there are still a few cheaper places to eat and shop, and there's still a feel being in an actual city rather than a wealthy suburb.

  5. who needs a bustling 7th avenue anyway? with atlantic center coming, ps needs to divert everything towards the gowanus that it can.

  6. I am a 5th avenue landlord. I also read the comment made by the person who stated that the stores are kept vacant because they took out a loan against the building and can't rent it for less because the bank won't let them (since lower rent will mean a lower value for the collateral). I find this very hard to believe and would take everything that person said with a grain of salt. A landlord has no incentive what-so-ever to keep a store front vacant.
    In my experience I had brokers who promised me that they would rent my store for much more then I am getting now. If I gave it to a broker who insured me $10,000 per month....I would have to wait a very very long time for that to happen. To me the answer was a no brainer....keep my tenant who brought character to 5th avenue by insuring that the rent was low enough for him to turn a profit and grow.
    Last weekend my wife and I drove down 5th avenue and then up to 7th. My wife was shocked at the difference in foot traffic. She stated that 7th seems dead compared to 5th. 5th has definitely gone a long way since the early 90's. I am proud to see it develop and grow. I am also very proud of the 5th avenue BID for making the block so much better.

  7. Fifth has definitely come a long way but the commenter who said there are empty spaces on Fifth, as well, was right. There are about 50 along the BID, from Dean to 18th. That's nothing to sneeze at. Still, it seems to be moving in the right direction.

  8. the same syndrome... is happening already on 3rd, as people living in the new rich folk tenements on 4th...will seek new amusements that have the air of ...authenticity.