Manhattan’s Empty Storefronts Multiply With Workers Staying Home
(Bloomberg) -- The number of empty storefronts is surging in midtown Manhattan, where an absence of tourists and office workers has hammered the retail industry during the pandemic.
Nearly 30% of 311 storefronts were vacant in the retail corridors near Grand Central and Midtown East as of the end of September, roughly double the historical rate, according to a report Thursday from the Real Estate Board of New York.
Midtown’s recovery has lagged residential neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, where storefront vacancies ranged from about 14% to 20%.
“The data underscores the critical need for workers to return to their offices,” Rob Byrnes, president of the East Midtown Partnership, said in an emailed statement. “With every passing day, our retail and dining sectors suffer, resulting in vacant storefronts and lost jobs.”
Madison Avenue has also struggled, posting a retail vacancy rate of 28% among 289 stores, REBNY said.
As of Sept. 29, only 29% of workers were back at their desks in the New York metro region, according to data from Kastle Systems. The slow return to Manhattan workplaces has led to a rise in office supply, which reached a record high during the pandemic, as companies evaluate how much space they need.
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