Moss went on to explain that if rising rates do push businesses to relocate, that this spurns revitalization in other areas of the city, and that such developments are a good thing, as evidenced by the blossoming dining scene in Brooklyn.
"What's interesting is that the success of New York is that we create sectors of new activity, and sometimes that has to be done through relocation. There's always a handful of elitists who are opposed to change, but New York is successful because it adapts and accepts new people and activities, it's not wedded to the past," said Moss.
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The claims that exorbitant hikes are pushing restaurants under also is a matter of debate.
"My take on the issue is that restaurants are one of the most, if not the most vulnerable businesses," said Steve Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York. "There's costs, there's other restaurants, there's changing chefs, there's going out of popularity, there's always city regulations and fines."
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Spinola said that a few stories of restaurants going out of business is in no way a significant enough reason to blame rents as the cause of their demise. For proof of his point, Spinola points to the fact that "today we have more restaurants in NYC than ever before and more liquor licenses than ever before."
This, he said, would not be possible if rents were not reasonably tied to supply and demand.
"Owners aren't looking to create vacant space," Spinola said. "They're looking to do two things with their property, they're looking for the right diversity for their space, and they'll also have to take into consideration sometimes owners make mistakes and they charge too much and they find themselves with an empty store for a period of time—that's their mistake. They'll have to pay taxes and they'll have no income coming in."