Take a stroll down historic Charles Street in Beacon Hill, what you’ll see are numerous For Lease signs on street-level retail stores. But behind each of these For Lease signs, there’s an individual story, that would make you cry. 

Unlike Newbury Street, It’s usual to see For Lease signs on Charles Street, why, because its a tight nit community. As a business owner, I can say we all take care of each other. I can also say that Charles Street has had the same established business in the same location for many years. But times are changing, or as Bob Dylan would say; “They are a-Changin'”

Here are some examples of stores that are permanently shutting down:

  • 39 Charles Street  NRO Sporting Shop in business for 10 years 
  • 53 Charles Street – Holiday Stay Closed down
  • Red Wagon Kids Clothing Store on Charles Street in business for 25+ years
  • 62 Charles Street –  Closed down
  • 67 Charles Street – Closed down
  • 75 Charles Street – Art Gallery 
  • 76 Charles Street Antique Ship – in business 25 plus years closed down
  • 83 Charles Street –  Fastachi – 5 years in business Shut down
  • 88 Charles Street – Clothing Store 
  • 99 Charles Street – Antique Store
  • 123 Charles Street – Period hardware store -Closed its Beacon Hill location (still in business online)

Please note: These stores are NOT temporarily closed – they’re permanently shut down.

There are 5 more where the landlords told me their tenants are on the fence of collapse.

 As stated above, behind each of these store closings, there is a hardworking owner with a story. In the next week or so, I hope to interview these owners and the store owners who are still trying to still survive on Charles Street.

Boston Real Estate Retail

Not surprisingly the Boston retail sector is the hardest hit of all real estate sectors, as government mandates have ordered the closure of non-essential businesses in almost every MA neighborhood. As it’s predicted that more than half of job losses to come will be in the services sector, Boston real estate experts – expect more closings in the retail space in all downtown Boston neighborhoods.

Ten million square feet of negative absorption has already been recorded in the first quarter. This is all the beginning, the most recent modes indicate, retail vacancies will outpace levels seen in Great Recession and negative demand will persist for many quarters moving forward, totaling nearly 360 million square feet of space lost, or 3.3% of occupied stock. In the baseline scenario, commercial rents will drop 12% and take four years to return to normal, while a severe downside prediction expects rents to plunge by 19% with a full year of negative growth through 2023.

Beacon Hill landlords – brace yourself – most mom and pop small retail shops won’t make it. Please understand I don’t want to sound like Debbie downer on Saturday Night Live. But the bottom line is, a one time $10K bailout is not going to help most Charles Street retail stores.

new report from a Swiss bank and money manager UBS estimated the U.S. retail sector stands to lose 11% to 17% of its total store count by 2025, with 100,000 to 150,000 retail stores closing over the next five years. The same report estimated that e-commerce’s penetration will rise to 25% from 15% last year, as the pandemic hastens the sector’s disruption already caused by online shopping.

Beacon Hill and Charles Street – The Bottom Line

As I was doing my research for this Charles Street retail storefront blog. I was reminded of one of my favorite songs.

if you’re a consumer in Beacon Hill – please support your local Charles Street store. Sadly each Sunday without a sale is Sunday Bloody Sunday. Unless you want to see chain stores moving into the neighborhood – please support them.
 

 

 

 

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