Home > Austin St., real estate, retail > Empty Stores? Just You Wait… and Wait

Empty Stores? Just You Wait… and Wait

There’s a good article on YourNabe.com about all the store vacancies on shopping strips like Austin. Basically, the article brings out that we will most likely be waiting a long time for those empty store fronts to fill up.

As Congressman Anthony Weiner tells the business owners about the landlords: “They think four lean years are better than getting into a rent they’ll regret in five years.”

There’s logic in that, but only if you believe that this Recession is nothing more than a typical one, like the cyclical one’s we have experienced in the past. The other point of view on that, of course, is that it isn’t: that we have just experienced a fundamental shift in our economy and must all now adjust to a different world. In other words, we may not be emerging from the “lean years,” as Weiner put it, for a long time. And these “lean years” might be the new normal.

I tend to agree with this latter, rather pessimistic view, for a variety of reasons which I won’t get into here. (If you are really interested email me or tell me below and I will go into it.) So, what I take away from the article is that these landlords are most likely deluding themselves. They will be waiting a long, long time before they get the rents they seem to think they can from these Austin St. stores. Times have changed, and we all must adjust.

At the same time, I think new businesses will still be coming into Forest Hills and the very desirable Austin St. We see new places opening all around us: NY Falafel Bar, the new Mediterranean Seafood restaurant where Piu Bello used to be, just to name a few. But few of the empty storefronts will be filled unless rents come down.

This is a big part of the reason why I support landmarking the Tennis Stadium and then finding new uses for it such as new tennis tournaments, concerts, a museum, etc. Anything that will take advantage of a well-known landmark in New York City and draw tourists here after their stops at Flushing and Jackson Heights. A visit to the Stadium followed by lunch or dinner or some shopping on Austin St. — what’s not to like about that?

  1. Crossing Queens Blvd
    August 20, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    I always thought these two empty stores would be ideal for NYSC. Since they opened new clubs in both Atlas Park and Rego Park, Forest Hills is woefully inadequate in comparison. There is just only so much that can be done when equipment, locker rooms & group classes are scattered over five floors. I’m sure they have a long-term lease and it wasn’t financially feasible to move across the street to a new facility.

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