Council Member Feliz plans to tackle rising vacant storefronts in the Bronx

City Council Member Oswald Feliz plans to formally introduce those two bills for consideration in the coming weeks.

Amanda Bossard and

News 12 Staff

Apr 25, 2024, 11:38 AM

Updated 34 days ago

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More than 1,500 storefronts are currently empty across the Bronx, and one City Council member plans to do something about it.
Empty storefronts are a growing issue citywide as vacancy rates skyrocket. City Council Member Oswald Feliz says the city has seen a drastic increase in storefront vacancies, specifically in 2007 when the rates were at about 4%. Today, the rate is about 11.2%.
The storefront vacancy rate in the Bronx is lower than the citywide average at 8%, according to city data. But in Fordham, the Business Improvement District says it's higher at 12%.
"We've also seen retail theft really destroy retail business. In some cases, we have landlords simply redeveloping their property. But at the same time, we do have some landlords that are warehousing their properties and they have no intention of renting it out," says Feliz.
Feliz is applauding state lawmakers for including tax credits to equip small businesses with security features in the just-passed budget. Now, he wants them to consider taxing landlords who intentionally don't rent vacant spots.
At the city level, Feliz thinks grants could attract new shops to areas with high vacancy rates. He's also proposing to waive any fees related to getting empty spaces ready for business.
"Every commercial vacancy, that's an opportunity lost. Not only for foot traffic, to help the surrounding neighborhood businesses, but also jobs that would have otherwise gone to the local community," he says.
The council member plans to formally introduce those two bills for consideration in the coming weeks.


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