Some of the busiest streets in midtown Manhattan are plagued with vacant storefronts as a drop in tourism and office workers have severely punished the retail industry during the pandemic.
A new report released Thursday from the Real Estate Board of New York outlines how 30% of 311 storefronts in retail areas around Midtown East and Grand Central are vacant, which is more than double the historical rate. The report also said Madison Avenue had a retail vacancy rate of 28% among 289 stores.
Rob Byrnes, president of the East Midtown Partnership, told Bloomberg in an emailed statement that "the data underscores the critical need for workers to return to their offices."
"With every passing day, our retail and dining sectors suffer, resulting in vacant storefronts and lost jobs," Byrnes said.
Kastle Systems, whose electronic access systems secure thousands of office buildings across NYC, showed that only 29% of workers were back at their desks in late September.
Even though housing and rentals are booming, the slow return of workers back to office buildings has been detrimental for retail businesses that line city streets. This has led to a glut of commercial restate, such as storefronts and office space.
Louis Rossmann, who fixes gadgets in a shop in NYC, has 1.7 million YouTube followers, frequently documents the collapse of NYC storefronts, and warns the metro area is facing a crisis.
Rossmann's latest video details an empty storefront.
He said entire city blocks have over 50% of the real estate vacant.
The reality is, NYC could take years to recover, and really, who wants to stick around as violent crime soars?