“Planning for Retail Diversity: Supporting NYC’s Neighborhood Businesses” sets forth a comprehensive policy agenda to foster retail diversity, affordability, and access throughout all New York City neighborhoods.

Our retail and food service businesses employ over 600,000 people, provide important opportunities for small business entrepreneurship, distribute critical goods and services to the city’s residents, and contribute to each neighborhood’s unique character. However, our storefront businesses are increasingly under threat from rapidly rising commercial rents and the continued growth of e-commerce, and some neighborhoods continue to lack essential goods and services.

Throughout 2016 and 2017, the Council has studied these issues, undertaking extensive background research including a public hearing in September 2016 at which we heard concerns and proposal from a wide variety of advocates including chambers of commerce, community-based organizations, trade associations, business improvement districts elected officials, and small business owners.

This report represents the culmination of this research and analyzes data from the Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages, Economic Census, and City land use data to reveal trends affecting neighborhood retail across the city.

To address these problems, this report calls for innovative uses of the City’s zoning, land use, and planning powers as well as new financial assistance and economic development tools to improve retail diversity and preserve neighborhood character.

It is our hope that this report will serve as a blueprint for comprehensive policy to foster retail diversity, affordability, and access throughout all New York City neighborhoods.