The stores are all closing! Or are they? Today we’re going to dig a bit deeper into the Bay Ridge Vacancy Rate. We’ll be exploring the psychology of empty storefronts, and why the problem is perceived as worse than it is. More importantly, we’ll discuss how a “vacancy” narrative centers property owners and landlords at the expense of workers and small business owners.

We’ll also go behind the scenes at our mapping methods, discussing how we came up with our numbers, how we’ve updated them over time, and how we ensure accuracy.

We’ll also be discussing the importance of placemaking as an urban planning concept. Placemaking influences our preconceptions about our avenues, which in turn dramatically influences their economic health. We are their primary customers, after all, and what we think matters. A strong sense of place can help our merchants withstand challenges from online retail, changing consumer demands, and more.

Sancho's, a formerly closed and now recently rented storefront in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn announces it's grand reopening.
“Coming Soon” sign in front of the formerly-closed Sancho’s | Photo by Daniel Hetteix

Show Notes

Our Bay Ridge Vacancy Rate Map…

A map showing the Bay Ridge vacancy rate for each sub-area of the neighborhood. Includes closed and open stores and retail shops.

Our interactive map lets you highlight specific areas of Bay Ridge, filter your view to see specific store categories (vacant, for rent, rented, etc.), and look at data from past months.

Help out with the neighborhood Business Needs Analysis…

We mentioned that there is also a big three-year study happening across all of Bay Ridge, led by the Bay Ridge 5th Avenue BID. Community Board member Michael Devigne will be leading the study, which is called a Commercial Needs Assessment. The study is funded through an Avenue NYC grant.

A major part of the study is a consumer survey, which is available now! Be sure to fill it out if you have a few minutes and help out your local small businesses.

Other nearby neighborhoods have already finished their own studies. Check out the reports from Coney Island and Downtown Staten Island to get an idea of what the final report will include!

Further Reading

More About Vacancy Rates…

More About Placemaking…

  • Project for Public spaces does a great overview on what placemaking means, and how it can be a tool for more vibrant, healthy communities.
  • We mentioned that the Bay Ridge 5th Avenue BID is conducting a placemaking study in Bay Ridge. The study will be led by Sarah Aita through NYC’s Small Business Services Neighborhood 360° program. Learn more about Sarah in her fellowship profile.

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