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Wed Oct 14, 2020, 11:08 AM

Downtown Manhattan's Different Sectors Feel Each Other's Pain

(Commercial Observer) Lower Manhattan’s resurgence following 9/11 revolved around the idea of turning office-focused neighborhoods, such as the Financial District, into 24-hour, live-work-play centers. As the slowdowns and shutdowns of the COVID-19 era seem likely to last deep into 2021, many analysts and real estate figures see a significant and sustained drop in demand threatening the ecosystem of restaurants, retail and residential developments that has attracted so much energy and so many residents.

The shift threatens the mixed-use development strategy that has proven so successful over the past two decades.

“At the end of the day, it’s all connected,” James Famularo, president of Meridian Retail Leasing, said. “There are three categories — tourists, commercial office workers and residential — that make New York City as diverse as it is. With two components missing, it’s not really the same city anymore.”

The numbers from the retail and restaurant sectors are bleak. Nearly 90 percent of New York restaurants couldn’t pay their full August rent, and national retail chains are abandoning the city in droves. Add that to the decline in tourism, which employs nearly as many New Yorkers as manufacturing, according to the Center for an Urban Future, and it’s clear the slowdown has always had the potential to wallop a Lower Manhattan reliant on that 24-7 ecosystem. .................(more)


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