One retail leasing agent in New York foresees bleak consequences in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, with retail vacancy rates hitting 50%.
“Prior to this situation, we were working on around 32 deals, and 30 of them were about to go to lease. In response to the pandemic, those 30 deals pulled the brakes and are now completely halted,” said James Famularo, president of Meridian Retail Leasing.
“For the two deals that are still open, the process has slowed down tremendously. It's taking weeks to do what used to take days," he said.
As for the bars, restaurants, and cafés that were forced to close in the city, Famularo thinks as many as 40% of them will not re-open.
“It's not simple to start from scratch again after you've gone weeks or months without income. You need to pay rent, rehire employees, restock food that went to waste, and more,” Famularo said.
Though New York State is putting a moratorium on foreclosures and evictions for 90 days, Famularo thinks it realistic that the current New York City retail vacancy rate of about 25% will double.