For the moment, the most important new opportunities for inner-city employment and revitalization are in retailing. With he overbuilding of suburban malls, developers and retailers are increasingly turning toward the untapped inner city market. With the aid of the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), a new shopping center and movie complex for Newark and a new Pathmark in East Harlem are being planned. In forlorn New Haven, developers are competing to build a million square feet of shopping space in a city that's only twenty-one square miles.
The older cities are ... "underretailed." From 1967 to 1992... New York lost more than 4% of its retail stores and more than 52,000 retail jobs as high taxes and excessive regulation pushed, and prices at suburban superstores pulled, city people to shop outside the city. More than two-thirds of the the people who live in Harlem shop elsewhere because there are so few local stores. Reports the city's planning commissioner, Joe Rose, New York exports about $3.1 billion of retail activity a year because one-third of households do major shopping outside the city.
In recent years Ben and Jerry's, Rite Aid and Blockbuster Video have opened in Harlem,
and the Gap, Disney, Sony, Home Depot, and Caldor are looking for sites.
(Fred Siegel, The Future Once Happened Here, p. 237)