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Gentrifying NYC neighborhoods are leaving minority business owners behind: Report

Minority-owned businesses are on the decline in the

Minority-owned businesses are on the decline in the NYC neighborhoods, including Central Harlem, that have seen the most recent gentrification, per a report. Photo Credit: Linda Rosier

A report released by the city’s comptroller office Tuesday highlights the degree to which the growth in business across New York’s gentrifying neighborhoods has left behind many minority residents.

Between 2000 and 2015, the 15 areas to have undergone the most gentrification (as defined by a report from NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy) have seen a 45% jump in total businesses, from 29,132 to 42,261, Comptroller Scott Stringer said.

Minorities have seen a decline in ownership of those businesses and accounted for just 21% of total employment, the comptroller said.

“We need to create an economy based on fairness,” Stringer said.

Black-owned businesses represented 6% of Bronx businesses and 3% of Queens businesses in 2012, down from 2007’s 13% and 5%, respectively, according to the report, which utilized the latest U.S. Census data.

Brian A. Benjamin, the chair of Manhattan’s Community Board 10, which represents Central Harlem, said he has seen a dip in minority-owned businesses in his district. He said the popularity of the commercial strips along 125th Street, which were rezoned in 2008, has made it harder for many entrepreneurs to stay afloat as costs have shot up.

“The retail rents are growing exponentially and the number of [women and minority-owned businesses] that are occupying there are facing pressure,” he said.

Stringer recommended that city take a number of steps to close the gap in those neighborhoods, including a short-term subsidized rent program for entrepreneurs and increased funding to nonprofits that connect local businesses with eligible community employees.

The mayor’s office and the Department of Small Business Services didn’t return immediate messages for comment.


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