(The following post was written by Steve Barrison, the executive vice president of the Small Business Congress)
It is impossible to be supportive of small business, as just about everyone in NYC government claims, and at the same time be supportive of Flushing Commons. This project hurts small business. Can anyone in the City Council look in the mirror and say with a straight face, that over 2,000 retail small businesses in the immediate area of the proposed development will not have to compete with the 300,000 square feet of retail national chain stores coming to the new Flushing Commons? And that 630 luxury apartments, a 250 room hotel, large new YMCA and the claimed Rockefeller Center in Flushing, all will not require any additional parking, and at the same time, believe that small businesses will not be hurt by the several years’ loss of the parking lot. DO they expect people to walk roughly half a mile or so in 95 degree heat or freezing in the winter to shop at their stores? LOL. Or use a shuttle like Boro BP Marshall exclaimed, just like attending the Olympics!
YEA! Just like going to a once in a lifetime multi hour event - "the Olympics!" Now that is comedy. But I suppose she is close. After all, walking or hiking a half mile for a quick local business drop in, for what is now maybe a block or two at most with the big muni parking lot right there, will in itself, without that public parking lot, become its own "Olympic event!" We have a crisis in NYC, that biggest elephant in the room the city has ever seen, but we will only afford our small businesses with empty praise, but do nothing more than talk about them! That is the loss of over 1 million small business jobs during the present and previous city administrations. With over 170,000 evictions and about 162,000 bankruptcies or just going under small businesses, with each one employing 5-7! Do the math!
These muni lots should never be sold again. Each one sold in the long run is a loser for the citizens of NYC and makes no sound financial sense except for the immediate balance sheet, but is plain crazy for the long term monetary future and stability of NYC! Many muni lots have been sold already and the only one benefiting is the developers and the new tenants on that property. The surrounding businesses and community have suffered with greatly reduced sales. The time has come for the City Council to stand up and say, NO MORE SELLING these prime locations needed for serving the public for transit and community shopping main streets!
However, if the City were to lease for development, these remaining publicly owned parking lots for say, 100 years, with all kinds of requirements for more parking for the future, in addition to what is there now and to be run as a muni lot, with muni rates forever, we as a city could get from the new development the same benefit for jobs and construction and also get: rent, taxes, revenue and serve the local community and small businesses, as our civic duty as a city should, so that these valuable locations can continue to help serve mass transit and the local shopping strips on our main streets. All this creates a positive revenue stream for our city! It Creates jobs, prevents hurting existing small business, generates revenue and at the end of 100 years we still have the valuable prime property!
Flushing Rally Saturday
Union Street Small Business Association
For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Contact: Jo-Ann Yoo, 718-496-7290
COMMUNITY RALLY TO SAVE FLUSHING SMALL BUSINESSES
Flushing, Queens: On July 27, 2010, the entire New York City Council is expected to vote on whether or not to approve the redevelopment of Flushing Commons, a project being spearheaded by New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC). The proposed $850 million Flushing Commons project would take away the biggest parking lot in Flushing to build luxury housing. The parking lot is heavily used by thousands of residents and customers who patronize the small businesses in Downtown Flushing. Once the parking lot is gone, the very small businesses that made Flushing a regional economic hub will be destroyed.
Over a hundred concerned Flushing residents will be joined by elected officials, community leaders, and small business owners at a rally to voice community concerns before the proposed vote along with a series of requests to the EDC and the New York City Council that will help protect the Union Street small businesses.
WHO: Elected Officials, Community Leaders, Small Business Owners, and Flushing Residents
WHAT: Rally to Save Flushing Small Businesses
WHERE: Lippman Plaza, Flushing, Queens (Main Street & Roosevelt Avenue)
WHEN: Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 3:00PM
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org