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Can Urban Retail Help Preserve Post-Pandemic Downtowns?

  • Growth of remote and hybrid work options raise questions about the future of downtown commercial ventures
  • Richard Kestenbaum looks at the potential for a New York City neighborhood for growth
  • While uncontrollable factors remain, integrating urban businesses into communities can help increase their odds of success

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

As many companies expand their remote and hybrid work options, there has been greater uncertainty about the future of urban downtowns. If office workers are coming in to a downtown workplace less frequently or not at all, will there be a decline in the restaurant, stores, and other commercial ventures that rely on these professionals?

Richard Kestenbaum, co-founder and partner at Triangle Capital LLC, recently offered a look at the future of downtown retail in an article for Forbes. He focuses on Manhattan West in New York City and how it compares with Rockefeller Center, which drew little attention when it was first built but later became a major commercial and tourist draw.

  • Kestenbaum says Manhattan West offers new opportunities for commercial operations due to recent extensions of commuter rail and the popular High Line park
  • The presence of a residential tower and hotel also allow these businesses to be part of a neighborhood rather than setting aside retail in isolated shopping centers and malls
  • The pandemic still creates a great deal of uncertainty, including questions over how many workers will return to the office, whether the hotel and residential developments will be successful, and how many passengers the commuter rail will draw

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