Wed. May 18th, 2022

MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NY-New York City’s much-discussed pandemic comeback has not quite arrived in Midtown, where once thriving retail corridors are largely empty, according to a new study.

The report from the Real Estate Board in New York examined store windows along Madison, Park, Lexington and Third Avenue between 39th and 57th streets — a network that researchers described as “office-dependent” for its reliance on neighborhood office workers as customer base.

Of the 311 total shop windows in this area, 93 were vacant from the summer – as much as 29.9% vacant space. It included 15 vacant corner stores, which are typically in high demand.

The same report contrasted with Midtown’s high vacancies with several residential neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, whose vacancies were both about 14 percent.

“With vacancies well below 20%, it is clear that retail in these local, service-oriented retail areas has had stronger foot traffic,” the report said.

The study contrasted with Midtown’s storefront with the Madison Avenue shopping corridor as well as residential neighborhoods of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. (REBNY)

The Midtown area surveyed includes sectors in the Grand Central and Midtown East, selected because their retail businesses were particularly profitable before the pandemic. In the prosperous years, companies in this area of ​​Midtown accounted for $ 6.5 billion in annual sales – more than 11 percent of Manhattan’s total.

“It is clear from these findings how critical the connection is between recovery and success in the city’s once vibrant retail sector and a full, safe return of office workers,” REBNY President James Whelan said in a statement. “The health of the retail sector plays a significant role in New York City’s full economic recovery.”

As part of the investigation, REBNY – a large lobby group – put forward a series of policy recommendations asking the city to issue more aggressive vaccination mandates and encourage employers to bring workers back to the office.

Read the full REBNY report here.

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