Study: Eighth St. should focus on food, fashion and furnishings
By Ed Gold
During the past 12 months, 13 new stores have opened or have announced plans to open on W. Eighth St., a key shopping area for the Village Alliance, which operates an expanding business improvement district in Greenwich Village, according to the BIDs executive director, Honi Klein.
The news is not all good, since vacancies on W. Eighth St. have risen from eight to 10 since last fall, Klein reports.
Positive developments along Eighth St. which the BID covers from Sixth Ave. to St. Marks Pl. have been the commitments of several brand chains, including Bank of America, Cosi and Rickshaw Dumplings. Staples is also readying a new store on Sixth Ave. just south of Eighth St.
The Alliances 2007 annual report, issued two weeks ago, includes a study by Economics Research Associates and the architectural firm of Beyer Blinder Belle covering the Alliances trading area and residential population, age, household income and spending patterns to help develop a retail strategy for the Alliance.
ERA defined the Alliance trading area as: 14th St. on the north, Houston St. on the south; Seventh Ave. S. on the west and First Ave. on the east. It recommended that the Alliance focus on the specific markets: gourmet and specialty foods, specialty restaurants, childrens shops, fashion and jewelry shops, vintage clothing and home furnishings.
The survey, covering approximately 58,000 residents in the trading area, found total retail sales in 2005 at almost $1.2 billion, with the three largest expenditures in bars and restaurants ($422.5 million), specialty foods and groceries ($275.4 million) and apparel ($122.2 million).
The survey indicated a median age of 37 in 2005, projecting to 40 in 2010; and household income of more than $118,000, climbing to $135,000 in 2010. But the only income group that will improve will be those now earning over $100,000, while the largest decline in income, 17 percent, will hit those in the $35,000 to $50,000 bracket.
Only two age groups are expected to increase between 2005 and 2010: The number of children between the ages of 5 and 14 will increase by 26 percent, and residents 65 to 74 will increase by 21 percent. The biggest decline is predicted to come in the 25-to-34 age bracket, dropping by 28 percent.
The annual report, distributed at the Alliances 14th Annual Meeting, held at the King Juan Carlos Center on Washington Square S. on June 14, also included the Alliances June 08 fiscal budget.
The BIDs revenues (collected by a special tax on property owners, administered by the city) are projected at $768,000, with program service costs at $574,000. Office and administrative costs are projected at about $258,000. The deficit of $64,000 will be covered by the Alliances reserve fund.
The year also marked the BIDs expansion, bringing the number ofbusinesses in the district to 430.
The BID expanded up Sixth Ave. to 13th St., with the exception of theavenues west side between 12th and 13th Sts. Also added were Ninth to 13th Sts. on University Pl. and Ninth to 10th Sts. on Broadway.
Klein indicated that Alliance service had already begun on Sixth Ave. Sidewalks are being swept daily and new cast-iron litter cans are promised by midsummer. Muni Meters are being installed, which will increase parking space on Sixth Ave. by 18 percent, Klein asserted. Other Sixth Ave. chores planned include graffiti cleaning on street-level buildings, and the painting of mailboxes, light poles and bollards.
The Alliance is one of five BIDs in the city experimenting with automatic crossing light timers at intersections to help pedestrian safety. The timers count down the seconds before the crossing light changes to red. The Village timer location is at Sixth Ave. and Eighth St.