New York (June 1, 2011) – In a proactive effort to attract new and expanding businesses to the city’s neighborhood commercial districts, the Department of Small Business Services launched a Neighborhood Retail Leasing Program with the goal of helping communities to fill vacancies in their commercial corridors and to create a vibrant mix of businesses that serve local neighborhood needs.
The SBS Neighborhood Retail Leasing Program provides four pilot neighborhoods with targeted technical assistance to help communities identify the range of retailers that can be supported by their local markets. The program also includes extensive outreach to local property owners, as well as technical training and marketing material necessary to successfully pursue prospective retailers.
The participants in the inaugural Neighborhood Retail Leasing Program are:
- Bedford-Stuyvesant Gateway Business Improvement District (Fulton Street, Brooklyn)
- Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (Bradhurst, Manhattan)
- Long Island City Business Development Corporation (Long Island City/Queens Boulevard, Queens)
- Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (Crotona East/Southern Boulevard, Bronx)
The marketing material created through the pilot program highlights the retail opportunities and unmet retail demand in each of the four pilot neighborhoods. A few highlights include:
- In Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, consumer demand within the trade area exceeds retail supply by $785 million each year, including 34.8 million in unmet demand for full-service restaurants alone. That’s enough unmet demand to support over a dozen full-service restaurants.
- In the Bradhurst area of Harlem, consumer demand exceeds supply by $124 million each year. With over 2,000 new residential units, including many new luxury condominium developments, retailers like Starbucks indicate strong sales and New York Sports Club recently expanded its square footage to meet higher than expected demand.
- In the South Bronx along Southern Boulevard, the trade area is home to 158,000 people and another 20,000 employees. Every weekday, nearly 17,000 people board the 2 and 5 trains at the three stations within the trade area.
- In Long Island City, the employee population is growing rapidly. The Gotham Center has already opened, bringing 3,000 employees from the New York City Department of Health. In addition, Jet Blue’s new corporate headquarters on Queen’s Plaza North will add another 1,100 employees. These employees will join the tens of thousands of additional annual visitors, hotel guests, students and employees who visit the district every day.
In addition to the marketing material, the City is working closely with each pilot neighborhood to identify vacancies and market the program to property owners, conduct broker outreach, and send direct mail to prospective retailers and tenant representatives.
“This pilot program reflects an intensely focused approach to business attraction that gives these communities the tools necessary to market their districts to the kinds of businesses they want – and those that can also be supported by the market” said Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh. “We know that these neighborhoods are profitable areas to do business, and the City is working hard to ensure that community organizations effectively communicate these opportunities to entrepreneurs in search of good locations.”
The campaign is part of an 8-month pilot program that began in January 2011 that also includes targeted technical assistance and on-going training in retail attraction to all of the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) -eligible communities engaged in commercial district management.
About the Department of Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to start, operate, and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. For more information on all of SBS’ services go to www.nyc.gov/sbs