It’s common knowledge that small, individually owned businesses—affectionately named “mom and pop shops”—have been replaced by large franchises.
New York, like many big cities, has experienced this trend. Rising real estate costs have driven out many small business owners. As these stores vanish, they often take personal histories with them.
One NY couple, Karla and James Murray, have been documenting this evolution through a project titled Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York City. This couple have compiled pictures and interviews of mom and pop stores since the 1990s.
“And sadly in 2018, it’s over 80 percent that are closed now that are included in the book,” Karla says sadly.
The couple have also created a sculptural installation of mom and pop stores inside Seward Park in NYC.
Other New Yorkers, who develop friendly connections with personnel at larger chain stores, are unfazed by this phenomenon. “Some franchising gets a bad rap, but that person is still a small-business owner,” said John Armstrong, the owner of the franchising consulting firm FranNet of New York City. “They’re still putting in their capital, time and effort — they’re just going a different route.”
Office leasing for Manhattaners is finally becoming easier. Landlords are offering significantly sweeter deals these days to make it more attractive for business people to find space to lease. This is a response to companies reducing the space they want to rent as well as the addition of new buildings throughout New York.
The Savills Studley Report showed that in the last three months there was a 32 percent increase in Manhattan leasing to 9.1 million square feet (substantially greater than the historical 7.5 million average). As such, asking rents dropped 2.2 percent in Q3 2017 to $73.21 per square foot.
It is hoped that by June – 18 months early – the purchase of Citigroup’s $2 billion headquarters (Tribeca’s 388-390 Greenwich Street) will be completed. SL Green is already the largest office building in New York and will use the money it receives from the sale – around $1.8 billion in proceeds – to pay back part of a corporate credit line, retiring the property’s $1.45 billion mortgage.
Citigroup will be charged a $94 million fee since it is terminating its lease so much earlier than scheduled. It started consolidation of its offices into the buildings after giving up its 399 Park Avenue headquarters, located in Manhattan.
In other news, blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings (DAH) announced its most recent achievement in bolstering transaction privacy. With its procurement of Elevance digital Finance AG (technology firm that has produced a service giving fiscal bodies the capacity to “model and executive with certainty and finality”), DAH will be better equipped to efficiently serve its customers via its very own Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML), which goes over and above the smart contracts protocol that self-executes contractual negotiations for it.