June 6, 2017
Jamie Rogers, Chair
Community Board No. 3, Manhattan
59 East 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
Dear Chair Rogers:
I am writing to express the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative’s support for new legislative and other means to assist local “mom and pop” retail stores to stay in business.
Small independent businesses have traditionally comprised the very heart of our Lower East Side neighborhoods. With ever increasing rents and the demolition of the city’s older, smaller buildings for replacement by much larger structures with larger retail space, “mom and pops” are increasingly being displaced by corporate chains and franchises. This affects the very character of our city, and undoubtedly affects democratic governing, as national corporations and franchises are likely to be less rooted and involved in community affairs.
We believe that small independent businesses should be actively nurtured and protected. State Senator Brad Hoylman has proposed measures that should be seriously considered:
– Eliminate the Commercial Rent Tax for small businesses
– Eliminate tax deductions for income loss for landlords who “warehouse” commercial space for one year or more, to hold out for higher rent
– Create new zoning districts that limit “formula retail”
– Compile a state registry to identify small businesses 30 years old or older, for future benefits.
As a preservation organization, we know that “mom and pops” typically fit well within the smaller commercial spaces available in historic buildings, such as those found in the Lower East Side. The human scale of historic buildings and small retail provide an excellent urban environment for those who live, work and visit historic neighborhoods.
We respectfully ask that Community Board No. 3 issues, at the earliest opportunity, a resolution outlining specific strategies for supporting “mom and pop” businesses. Thank you.
Richard D. Moses