Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Development Strategies

My understanding of capitalism is that the price of a commodity is never so high that no one can afford it. But that is not so with certain commercial real estate properties in this city, which just sit there mute, unfriendly, to say nothing of their unaffordability.

What is the advantage of keeping these spaces unleased? Are these spaces like those at the base of new buildings, street level spaces that are mandated as “retail” by those who grant development permits, but once completed are deliberately advertised at above-market rates so that the losses in potential revenue can be written off against profits made on the residential condominiums above, where the big money is?

How many times I have I walked past a new building that has people living upstairs, only to find the street level retail spaces sitting empty -- for what, the three years the developer-owner is allowed to write off the losses these spaces “generate”? Sometimes the owners have blackened out the windows, and the effect is like that of an obsidian mirror reflecting a figure that stands somewhere between despair and disbelief. 

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