Monday, March 19, 2012
Small businesses deserting Union Street
From the Times Ledger:
Small business owners on Union Street have slowly been making an exodus as dealings between the city and the developer of Flushing Commons continue behind closed doors, a business leader said.
Ikhwan Rim, president of the Union Street Merchants Association said that out of about 100 businesses located on the west side of the street, between Northern Boulevard and 37th Avenue — just a block — about 15 longtime tenants have moved their offices elsewhere.
Accountants and beauty salons are some of the businesses that packed up shop and relocated to Northern Boulevard or even other neighborhoods in the city, leaving behind the ones that would be hard to move, like retail stores with large inventories and restaurants, he said.
News Salon, a beauty salon that used to be on Union Street, recently moved to Northern Boulevard, according to Rim, who said the business owners wanted to take advantage of new retail space on the boulevard that might not be open in the future.
Don-A Travel Agency is another business that has made the exodus to Northern Boulevard, Rim said.
The problem scaring the entrepreneurs is the development of Flushing Commons, a $850 million mixed-use complex that is slated to take the place of Municipal Lot 1, a huge parking lot that Rim said is essential for the foot traffic that drives commerce along the street.
The parking lot is currently owned by the city, but according to plans that were approved last year, the city will sell the land to Flushing-based TDC Development, which in turn will construct the 5.5 acre project that includes 275,000 square feet of retail space.