Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rezoning Business on the Upper West Side

On December 8, 2011 I wrote a post about the changing face of the business profile on the Upper West Side. Smaller business were being squeezed out by higher rents and those business who could afford the rent - banks and national retail chains - were moving in, altering the face of the high-street.

Certainly I was not the only one talking about this change, and our Councilwoman Gale Brewer was listening. Tonight, Community Board 7 is scheduled to vote on the city's proposal to limit the size of storefronts in the area. While many residents, as well as local Councilwoman Brewer, are in favor of the new zoning plan, it faces large opposition from landlords, brokers and area business improvement districts.

The rezone proposal plans to limit the street frontage of all new stores to 40 feet. At the same time, the new rules would narrow the frontage allowed for banks far more, to just 25 feet on the avenues.

Of course there are arguments against the rezoning -  the market demand should decide what happens;  larger shops bring more foot traffic, and provide jobs; the rezoning could deter new business from entering the community and would certainly add the need for a broker whose expert knowledge (read 'fees') would be needed to navigate the complexity of the new restrictions and parameters.

The results of this vote will help shape the future of retailing on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Check back for the results.

March 21,2012 Update
The local community board voted 37-0 on March 6 to endorse the Department of City Planning's proposal. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer declined to comment on the plan, but will meet with opponents today to hear their concerns. He has until April 5 to issue his recommendation. A public hearing will be held in April.

Read more: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20120321/INS/120329983#ixzz1pkn2ZQvE

Sources: Crains New York and Community Board 7

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