NYC Council Introduces Legislation to Exempt Certain Grocery Stores from the Commercial Rent Law

by Alexina Cather, MPH

The New York City Council introduced Int 1779-2019 today, a Local Law to amend the administrative code of the city of New York in relation to exempting certain grocery stores from the commercial rent tax (CRT), outside of the Morton Williams Supermarket on Bleecker Street.

City Council Member Margaret Chin was the prime sponsor of the bill on behalf of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. City Council Members Keith Powers, Ben Kallos, Ydanis A. Rodriguez, Donovan J. Richards, Mark Levine and Helen K. Rosenthal sponsored the bill.

The Commercial Rent Tax (CRT) is charged to tenants in New York City who occupy or use a property for commercial activity in Manhattan, south of 96th Street. Tenants are subject to the CRT if space is rented in this area for any trade, business, profession, or commercial activity, and:

  • it is located in the borough of Manhattan, south of the center line of 96th Street;
  • the annual or annualized gross rent paid is at least $250,000; and
    you do not meet any other exemption criteria, such as short rental periods, residential subtenants, use for theatrical productions, and not-for-profit status.

If passed the bill would exempt grocery stores from the CRT if they meet certain floor space and affordability requirements.

A previous attempt to exempt grocery stores from the CRT in 2017 did not pass in its entirety. See the Center’s testimony on the initial bill, Int 1472-2017, here.

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