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Commercial rent stabilization bill is ‘terrifying,’ according to landlords

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Plus, the street safety master plan bill is now law—and more intel in today’s New York Minute news roundup

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Good morning, and welcome to New York Minute, a new roundup of the New York City news you need to know about today. Send stories you think should be included to tips@curbed.com.

Business owners blast commercial rent stabilization proposal

Earlier this month, City Council member Stephen Levin announced that he and small-business advocates have crafted legislation that would create a commercial rent stabilization board that would set increases and “provide predictability” to small businesses. The idea, Levin says, is not to make landlords’ lives harder, but rather to “provide some stability so that business owners can make investments in their companies, and so landlords know what they’ll be getting and can plan accordingly instead of holding a storefront empty waiting for a windfall.”

But some business owners don’t see it that way. The New York Post’s Lois Weiss followed up with brokers and property owners, who, unsurprisingly, are not pleased with the proposed bill. “It’s a topic that has to be shut down as quickly as possible,” Brad Mendelson, a vice chairman at Colliers International, told the Post. “They’re crazy.”

The issues that industry insiders have are myriad, but the complex calculations used to set storefront rents—which take into account everything from neighborhood and foot traffic to ceiling heights—are one sticking point. “I don’t believe the people aren’t well meaning, but they have no experience in retail and how it works,” said Joanne Podell, an executive vice chairman at Cushman & Wakefield.

What does all of this mean? Expect a fight as Levin’s legislation makes its way through the approval process.

And in other news…

  • The city is beginning the sure-to-be-lengthy process of building new borough-based jails to replace Rikers Island.
  • What lessons did NYC learn from its first early voting experiment?
  • An art collector is asking $19 million for a Soho loft … that’s filled with hand-shaped artwork.
  • Flatbush residents want to landmark a stretch of East 25th Street to protect the area from encroaching new development.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio signed City Council speaker Corey Johnson’s transformative street safety master plan into law.
  • New York’s Justin Davidson reviews the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s new visitor spaces, and (briefly) touches on the rezoning fight underway near the green space.
  • And finally, the Manhattan Bridge’s balls are coming back.