Ask almost any New Yorker and they'll probably tell you they've noticed a lot more vacant storefronts around the city.
"I'm not sure what's going on, there are stores that are empty," said one woman.
"It’s a little bit depressing seeing good places going out of business," said one man.
Now, a new report shows the extent of what the city comptroller calls the retail vacancy crisis plaguing neighborhoods like Jackson Heights, home to a zip code with one of the highest vacancy rates in the city. Many we spoke with easily guessing one of the reasons.
"I actually see a lot of stores close down in 2017. I think the rent," said another woman.
Figures show between 2007 and 2017, commercial rents rose an average of 22 percent. In neighborhoods like SoHo rents doubled. Some find it frustrating.
"Landlords should really give the person a break, they spend all their money to fix up a place, take a long lease and they gotta break the lease and the place stays empty and how to make up for a place that's been closed now for almost a year," said another man.
Smaller businesses finding it hard to compete with national chains like Old Navy. And all retailers are feeling the pressure of the Amazon effect as more people turn to online shopping.
Nationally, Amazon logged nearly $15 billion in sales in 2007. In 2017, nearly $178 billion.
Painting a bleak picture for the future, comptroller Scott Stringer says city officials need to come up with a plan to give retailers some help.
One recommendation to ease regulatory burdens that’s driving the crisis is by providing incentives in the form of tax credits for small business in retail corridors plagued by high vacancy rates.