UWS Fights Back Against Chain Stores

Maybe the Fulton Mall just needs some zoning changes to save its mom and pop shops. That’s what they’re doing on the Upper West Side, tired of all the giant Duane Reades and Chases. New zoning requirements would limit the size of stores on Columbus and Amsterdam avenues, protecting the character of the neighborhood and possibly discouraging national retailers, who tend to prefer bigger spaces.

Not surprisingly, landlords are not happy about the proposal, according to The Journal.

It’s opposed by leaders in the real-estate industry who say the zoning rules are a blunt instrument. The Real Estate Board of New York, an industry association and lobbying group, said a similar regulation along East 86th Street during the late 1970s didn’t deliver what supporters hoped.

Property owners had to grapple with cumbersome rules, and in the end, chain stores opened along the thoroughfare anyway, said Michael Slattery, a senior vice president at REBNY. McDonald’s and other fast-food chains don’t need as much space as major retailers or banks were able to move in. The regulation was eventually repealed.

“This was tried before and failed,” Mr. Slattery said. “It’s ignoring the changing nature of retail.”

Funny that developers hate the cudgel that is New York City zoning, except when it benefits them. This is only the latest showdown for REBNY on the Upper West Side, as the real estate group is vehemently opposing plans for a West End Avenue historic district, fearing it will diminish development. Heaven forefend.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

UWS Fights Back Against Chain Stores