Senator Squadron, Chair of Senate Cities Committee, to host a hearing on Retail Diversity and Neighborhood Health

Daniel L. Squadron

August 28, 2009

SUBJECT:           Retail Diversity and Neighborhood Health

PURPOSE:          To identify and disseminate best practices for supporting and               facilitating the preservation and revitalization of retail in urban neighborhoods.
DATE:                  Friday, September 18, 2009

LOCATION:        Senate Hearing Room
                             250 Broadway, 19th Floor
                             New York, New York 10007

TIME:                   10:00 A.M – 3:00 P.M.

Healthy Retail Development

As the economy suffers, a change that has long been in process becomes ever more obvious: upstate and downstate, in large and small cities, across wealthy and struggling neighborhoods, there is less and less retail diversity. While it is impossible to identify any single reason for the broad loss of local and diverse retail, it is important to understand common features and potential statewide solutions.

The devastating common features of many of our mid size and smaller cities is that both the neighborhood commercial strips and downtown business districts have been hollowed out because of “big box” retailing and strip plaza development on the outskirts of urban centers.

New York City neighborhoods tend to suffer from either a drought of retail or such high rental prices that locally owned small businesses are driven out and replaced by nationally owned chain stores. The lack of retail options in struggling neighborhoods leads to inadequate supplies of retail goods—and often to higher prices in less prosperous neighborhoods.

Recreating urban density is essential for the survivability of walk-in spaces in urban neighborhoods, and for the long-term health of the neighborhoods.

Senator Daniel Squadron, Chairman
Senate Committee on Cities

James F. Brennan
Member of Assembly
Chairman, Committee on Cities

Robin Schimminger
Member of Assembly
Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry



Committee on Small Business


Healthy Retail Development

•    How can New York promote and facilitate appropriate retail development? What “best practices” should be employed?
•    What policies should New York be developing to support small business in this economic downturn?
•    How can New York promote retail diversity in both affluent neighborhoods and low income neighborhoods?
•    What new and innovative policies should the Empire State Development Corporation be advancing to promote, develop and grow diverse retail environments in cities across our state?
•    The statute authorizing Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) saw its last major revision in 1989. Are BIDs functioning as intended?       
•    Should New York develop Community Improvement Districts and take a more holistic approach to neighborhood retail development?

Persons wishing to present pertinent testimony to the Committees at the joint public hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form as soon as possible. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation. Oral testimony will be limited to ten (10) minutes’ duration. In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committees will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances. These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to the Committees’ staff as early as possible. Twenty (20) copies of any prepared testimony should be submitted at the hearing registration desk.
The Committees would appreciate advance receipt of prepared statements. In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committees’ interest in receiving testimony from all sources. In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Senate and Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities. For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Senate and Assembly facilities and activities.

Persons wishing to present testimony at the joint public hearing on “Retail Diversity and Neighborhood Health" are requested to complete the attached reply form as soon as possible and mail, email or fax it to:



Kim Drofitz
Senate Committee on Cities
Room 946, Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247
Email: Drofitz@Senate.State.NY.US
Phone: (518) 455-2625
Fax: (518) 426-6956