More empty storefronts

To the Editor:
Re: “Support the Chinatown B.I.D.” (Downtown Express editorial, July 20)

Could a Business Improvement District hurt Businesses in Chinatown? Years of the LMDC-funded Chinatown Partnership have not made business better in Chinatown. Within blocks of Councilmember Margaret Chin’s and Chinatown Partnership’s offices, there continues to be vacant storefronts since the post 9-11 closure of Park Row. The same leadership would be at the helm of the Chinatown B.I.D.

The already financially-burdened small property owners and businesses would have to pay at least $1,300,000 per year for the B.I.D. The bad economy will probably put some out of business, but adding a B.I.D. could be the lethal blow for even more.

So, ironically, putting a Business Improvement District in Chinatown will not improve business. The B.I.D. will employ some people to tie up and replace bags at the corner garbage cans and perhaps pay for some frill features as “window dressing”. Sadly, the Chinatown B.I.D.’s budget of $1,000,000 for sanitation costs, which comes to almost $3,000 per day, will not improve business anywhere close to what the B.I.D. will cost. Meanwhile, the B.I.D. will pay over $200,000 a year in administrative costs. Will Wellington Chen continue to benefit with the lion’s share of this cost in salary? Will the cost of a Chinatown B.I.D. mean not only higher prices in Chinatown, but more storefront vacancies?
Sandy Goldstein