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SAN FRANCISCO—New York City and San Francisco are 2,900 miles apart, but seem to be in the forefront of an attack on retail landlords. Not so long ago, the New York City Department of City Planning, responding to complaints from residents of the upper west side of Manhattan, established limitations on store fronts in three corridors, which were rezoned as special districts. This followed an action in San Francisco, establishing strict formulas for retail businesses throughout the city. Now Manhattan’s East Village is attempting to obtain municipal support to establish restrictions on retail space in order to protect small businesses by creating an environment where national chains, global boutiques and banks and other institutions cannot offer higher rents as an inducement to landlords to not renew leases of long time tenants. Although this presently seems like isolated incidents that are not an area of concern, it could also be the first steps on the slippery slope to commercial rent control.

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