Happy Hour Creates Buzz For SBJSA - Bedford + Bowery

On October 22, small businesses in New York City may or may not get a lifeline they’ve been waiting on for 30 years. It will come, if it comes, in the form of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA). The bill, which has been languishing in the City Council for three decades, could change the face of commercial real estate in the city. It has a simple premise: next time the owners of your favorite local bakery/bodega/barber shop need to renew their lease, they might actually be able to do so.

Last night, buoyed by this prospect, about 50 New Yorkers gathered at Dream Baby in the East Village for an SBJSA-themed happy hour hosted by #SaveNYC. (The bar’s location on Avenue B is, of course, not currently among the 20% of retail spaces currently sitting vacant in NYC, up from 7% just two years ago.) Attendees were offered $4 off beer and well drinks, $2 off everything else, and got a chance to organize ahead of the City Council hearing on the SBJSA scheduled for the fourth Monday in October.

The current version of the bill states that commercial tenants in good standing would have the automatic right to a 10-year lease renewal. If their landlords attempted to, say, triple their rent in the process, then tenants would have the right to take the rent increase dispute to arbitration…