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High-Rent Blight in the West Village


The recent closing of a West Village knickknack shop left a single block with four vacancies. At a glance, the area’s got it all: a $110k per capita income, a vibrant nightlife scene, rich history, and a central location with great transit access. But businesses that have done well for years just can’t pay the rents there anymore, and at times the result is a spate of empty storefronts that harks back to the blight-filled 1980s, the New Yorker reports. One Gray’s Papaya location in the neighborhood closed after a $20k/month rent increase. Even Starbucks has closed some NYC locations citing high rents. The Small Business Congress is pushing for regulating lease renewal by making it subject to mandatory mediation and arbitration. Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer wants zoning that discourages landlords from sitting on retail sites for too long as they wait for a national chain that can shell out big bucks. [NYer]