Bleecker St. vacancies

NEW YORK CITY—The glaring retail vacancies on Bleecker Street in one of Manhattan's most celebrated neighborhoods is a problem. In comparing Manhattan's Community Board 2 in the West Village to Community Board 4 in Hell's Kitchen, the Real Estate Board of New York says liquor license denials and landmarking are causing the West Village's empty storefronts. But not everyone agrees.

The report found West Village vacancies more than two times higher than those in Hell's Kitchen. It cited the vacancy rate at 11.3% in three major West Village retail corridors with 284 storefronts compared to a 5% vacancy rate of the Hell's Kitchen retail corridor on Ninth Ave. with 262 stores.

REBNY wrote that Community Board 2 denies 25.3% of West Village liquor licenses contrasted with only a 4% denial rate in Hell's Kitchen. The trade association also stated Community Board 2 is seeking a special permit for all restaurants, bars and clubs, which would add an additional seven to nine months of public review.

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Betsy Kim

Betsy Kim was the bureau chief, East Coast, and New York City reporter for Real Estate Forum and As a lawyer and journalist, Betsy has worked as the director of editorial and content for LexisNexis, a TV/multi-media journalist for NBC and CBS affiliated TV stations in the Midwest, and an associate producer at Court TV.