Connecting Businesses with Rental Prospects in the Bronx

A vacant storefront on Third Avenue near The Hub. (Photo by Joe Hirsch via Mott Haven Herald)

The Third Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) in the Bronx is leading an initiative to track vacant storefronts and find tenants for them in an area known as The Hub, BID executive director Michael Brady told Juan B. García of Mott Haven Herald.

Nancy Testa, who owns Capri Bakery at 306 E 149th St., says business has not been so hot this summer. Recently, she went a whole week without any business. She has more than 10 employees and doesn’t want to reduce anyone’s pay.

While walking down Third Avenue, Testa points out a vacant storefront that a phone store once occupied.

“That’s been over a year,” she said. “Another store across the street, right there, in The Hub. There’s like six vacant stores on the street. Big, good stores in a good block and they’re vacant.” She wondered if the landlords are holding onto the spaces until they can find tenants willing to pay higher rent than she or other area small businesses can afford.

The new pilot project is just one more effort to help keep small businesses like (…) Testa’s solvent, said Brady, adding that each vacant storefront has its own back story. While some have given up due to the rising rents, others have left because the buildings their businesses are in are not getting needed repairs. And some who have inherited a business from a parent or grandparent are simply disinterested in keeping the business running.

“When we take a look at vacancies, we really have to understand the nuances of each vacancy because we can’t just do a broad stroke that says ‘Storefronts are vacant because landlords want money,’” Brady said. “Sometimes that’s the case, but not always.”

The tracking technology will offer potential business renters information about locations, such as whether they need repairs or offer exactly the features and space the potential tenant is seeking. Read more about the effort, and hear more from local business owners, at Mott Haven Herald.

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