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Rather than buying retail space outright, many shop owners are starting to buy ground- and first-floor apartments. In pricey neighborhoods like Nolita, Soho, Greenwich Village, and the West Village, owners prefer to muddle through the onerous application process to convert them from residential to commercial use. It's apparently quite the money-maker?as one source told The Real Deal, "owners would be able to lift revenue per square foot by as much as ten fold." Something that turns more profit than a regular apartment... boggles the mind, don't it? [TRD via Racked NY]