from Spanish Original story
– El Diario/La Prensa | Translated by Carlos Rodríguez Martorell
A couple of weeks ago, the businesses of an entire block in Washington Heights, mostly Latino owned, had to close because of the high rent. (Photo: Mariela Lombard | El Diario)
Silvia Smith’s business, which offers multiple services, including immigration, tax and travel services, has been in Washington Heights for 36 years, but she has had to move her offices further north four times.
“The last time I moved I realized that if I need to do it one more time I’ll be out of the neighborhood and in the Bronx, and I do not want that,” she said. “I’m a lifelong member of the Washington Heights community.”
But this entrepreneur says that the progressive rent hikes are all but displacing her. She is one of many small business owners who claim that things need to change.
Smith’s was one of many Latino voices heard Wednesday night at the Malcolm X Ballroom [Editor’s note: The Audubon Ballroom where Malcolm X was killed, now the Shabazz Center], during a packed meeting of local entrepreneurs and several organizations seeking to convince the city to approve the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA). This legislation would give tenants renewing commercial leases the right to demand a 10-year lease. If the landlord wants to raise the rent, non-binding mediation would occur, followed by binding arbitration if an agreement with the tenant is not reached.
Read more: Embattled By High Rents, Small Businesses Press For Action – Voices of NY
Last Minority-Owned Business on Wiped-Out Washington Heights Block Ordered to Close | Village Voice
A Lightning Strike of Guerrilla Art as Rents Become ‘Artisanal’ | NY Times
We invite you to subscribe to the weekly Uptown Love newsletter, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter, or e-mail us at UptownCollective@gmail.com.