Editorial: Grading Main Street Retail

It has now been more than six years since the 54-page “Main Street Retail Study” was released in October, 2009. The study contained six specific goals that would, ostensibly, lay the groundwork for the revitalization of Main Street.

So how has the “master plan” worked out so far? Here are the goals and the grades:

1. Bring in a master leaseholder to handle the marketing and leasing of retail space.

This part of the plan was intended to allow potential tenants to avoid the red tape of working with RIOC (always a good thing), and to put the leasing function in the hands of those with expertise in marketing commercial real estate (what a concept). Mission accomplished; as of fall 2015, Cushman & Wakefield now handle this function.

But, try googling “Roosevelt Island commercial space.” No Cushman & Wakefield results. Okay, now try looking for Roosevelt Island on the Cushman & Wakefield website. Nothing there either!

While RIOC did find someone to handle the master lease, marketing, beyond signs on Main Street, is not happening.

Grade: D

2. Revitalize the Roosevelt Island Chamber of Commerce. Let’s be generous...

Grade: Incomplete

3. Fix up the “streetscape.”

Mission accomplished, sort of. The changes to the Roosevelt Landings facade happened, and they are something of an improvement. But there’s more to do. Obviously, the benches need turning around and there many other suggestions the Main Street Retail Committee has, but nobody seems to listen.

Grade: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

4. Get rid of those icky, low-end, non-profits that are taking up such in-demand real estate!

Grade: A+ Who cares that the Thrift Store performed a valuable community service? And that the community has been speaking up about this loss ever since.

5. Revitalize Good Shepherd Plaza.

Grade: A- thanks to exhaustive resident efforts, led by Vicki Feinmel. But we are dinging you half a grade for killing the 9/11 tree. (What? It’s not dead!?)

6. Create a “Gateway to Main Street.”

Grade: Is this a thing? If so there would need to be some signage, perhaps when you get off the Tram. A large map of the Island with eateries and other places of interest clearly pointed out perhaps?

So after six years, the groundwork has been laid. Responding to community complaints, here we have focused on the negative. Next issue we will look at what has been accomplished.BW

Tags: Editorial Briana Warsing Retail Island Life

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