New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

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Co-op and Condo Boards Can Turn Empty Retail Space Into Cash

New York City

Empty retail space, co-op and condo boards, revenue stream, COVID-19.

Savvy co-op and condo boards can turn empty retail space like this into a revenue stream.

July 26, 2021

Brick-and-mortar stores were struggling long before the pandemic hit, and now the availability of retail space is at an all-time high in the city. But savvy landlords, including co-op and condo boards, are discovering a new way to keep their revenue streams flowing. They’re trading in their “For Rent” signs for money-making advertisements – worth thousands of dollars a month – complete with high-tech screens to engage passersby, liven up their vacant real estate and keep the cash flowing, Crain's reports.

“Something is better than nothing,” says Daniel Sherman, a general manager at Stellar Management. “As New York makes its recovery, it’s nice to identify every income stream you can.”

Stellar, as well as other city landlords like CIM Group, Rockpoint Group and even RXR Realty are amplifying their empty real estate with Frontrunner, a company that connects them with the advertisers and even sets up the storefront with the right technology to get the ads playing. “As you know the pandemic has not been kind to retail businesses and restaurants and has led to an increase in empty window fronts,” says Frontrunner's founder, Nathan Elliott. “This increase in window supply has created a great repurpose these vacant spaces to create a temporary revenue stream for landlords while they search for new tenants.”

Frontrunner partners with building owners to market their space to advertisers who can then pick and choose which addresses they’d like their ads playing at. They pay Frontrunner to place the ad and the landlords also get a check for the use of their windows. On average an installation can generate $25,000 to $30,000 per month and, building owners typically earn between 5% and 15% of that revenue. Way better than nothing.

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