Many NYC retail spaces are going unleasedMany small New York City retailers and restaurateurs are taking advantage of the altering real estate market as retail space rental prices fall dramatically. Big name brands and chains are reducing their amount of stores and moving out of desirable locations. Landlords and real estate agents are looking to reel in small businesses looking to expand or open up shop for the first time, and they are biting. Independent businesses and boutiques that have the cash to expand are grabbing the affordable spaces. This is also the opportunity for small businesses to stake their claim in better locations they couldn’t penetrate in the past. Retail rents declined by 11 percent between fall 2008 and spring 2009. Certain neighborhoods in New York City have even seen price declines of as much as 50 percent. A noticeably large volume of vacant retail spaces that remain unleased are also popping up around town. Retail vacancies in New York City have risen sharply in the past year due to stores closing, unable to survive the economic downturn. Because of this, landlords are becoming more lenient about what businesses take up residency, whereas before it had to be a national tenant. Also, small longtime tenants who have struggled in keeping up with rent are now able to relax with a better chance at renewing their leases.