Whether storefronts are empty is a problem for landlords almost exclusively. Are landlords hurting in the East Village? If they lowered the commercial rents, the stores would be filled. That implies the landlords are holding out for high-rent chain stores because they are not hurting. So if they knew chain stores, banks and bars were not available, they'd have to lower their rents, or keep them empty indefinitely. Is there something wrong with empty storefronts? I remember the empty storefronts in the '70's and '80's. I had no problem with it.
That CB3 is worried about filling stores for landlords is troubling to me. Why should the community board serve a group that isn't hurting, is a negligible percent of the community and most of whom don't live here at all. Maybe I didn't understand their comments about emptiness.