Mission Statement

The major goal of BID formation is to create a formal organization to act as an advocate, liaison, promoter and problem solver for the business community, and enhance quality of life for all who live, work, dine, shop, stroll, and invest in businesses and properties on Third Avenue. The BID formation Steering Committee is focused on creating an organizational structure to deliver those goals in an efficient and cost effective manner, recognizing that every dollar spent will directly impact the avenue in a positive way. The BID formation aims to unlock the long-term potential of Bay Ridge Third Avenue, ensuring that the corridor maintains its vibrance and economic viability in perpetuity.

The Bay Ridge Third Avenue Business Improvement District formation Steering Committee consists of business owners, property owners, residents, government officials, and community representatives who share a common mission to maintain Third Avenue’s reputation among all of NYC’s shopping corridors as a preeminent avenue to Shop, Dine and Stroll. Bay Ridge Third Avenue is currently an active and vibrant part of the Bay Ridge community, hosting parades, strolls, receptions, networking opportunities and festivals.

The rapidly changing and improving landscape of NYC draws our residents to distant areas of the city to shop and dine. Additionally, as a result of the e-commerce trend, local brick and mortars are losing major profits to online retail. The committee understands the need to maintain our resident shopping base and expand it by inviting residents of other neighborhoods to visit us. Marketing and an online presence, both of which is currently lacking due to insufficient funding and volunteers, will be an important component of the BID effort.

Property owners on Third Avenue must understand that they are in partnership with the commercial tenant and must invest in the avenue to maintain the avenue’s attractiveness and desirability. The successes of BIDS citywide is due to the 100% involvement of business and property owners; a concerted effort is needed to maintain and improve the business atmosphere and experience.

Make A BID on Third

Support the formation of the Third Avenue Bay Ridge Business Improvement District (BID)

Bay Ridge Third Ave BID Map4site.jpg

 What is a BID?

 A Business Improvement District (BID) is a private/ public partnership in which property owners and commercial tenants make a collective contribution to the maintenance, development and promotion of their commercial district. Currently, there are 76 BIDs in NYC, and 23 right here in Brooklyn. BIDs provide programs and services in their own community, increasing commercial business and solidifying the overall strength of their district. In 2017, NYC BIDs invested $148 million in NYC neighborhoods, serving 93,000 businesses, collecting 4.0 million trash bags, and maintaining 127 public spaces.

Why Now?

We get asked that question a lot lately. Today Bay Ridge Third Avenue enjoys a great reputation for shopping, dining and strolling, but it wasn’t always that way. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, Third Avenue had a lot of vacancies and not much retail. Storefronts were bricked up, and many building owners rented out their storefronts as apartments. The construction of the Verrazano Bridge displaced thousands of Bay Ridge residents.  What is today known as “Restaurant Row” only had a handful of restaurants. Ridgewood Savings Bank was a plumbing supply, Rite Aid on 79th was a garage, and the parking lot for Brooklyn Market was a Mobile gas station.

Then in 1978, Mayor Ed Koch and Al Nahas, an art dealer on Third Avenue, struck up a relationship (check out this article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle). The Mayor started to visit Third Avenue on a regular basis and Al Nahas opened a spectacular restaurant called Nightfalls. The avenue started to become known as Restaurant Row.

About the same time, in 1981,  NYC enacted legislation to create BIDS, Business Improvement Districts. This was an effort to support struggling commercial strips. Almost 40 years later, NYC has 76 BIDS.

Today, Bay Ridge Third Avenue has 30+ eateries, women’s boutiques, professional offices and salons of every type. We have festivals, strolls, parades, summer lights, holiday lights, and are the envy of many other shopping avenues. Things are great, so why do we have to change?

Well for the past 25 years, much of what happened on Third Avenue was the result of a handful of volunteers.  25 years later, some volunteers have dropped off and the remaining volunteers are 25 years older. No one is lining up to volunteer nights and weekends to produce the events we now have. Even if there were more volunteers, there is much more that can be done on the avenue such as marketing, streetscape improvements, additional events, government advocacy and facilitating a meaningful internet presence, so that Bay Ridge businesses can adapt to the digital era. All of this is not possible with just handful of volunteers.

Also, take an honest look at the avenue. Are we able to attract a vibrant mix of quality retailers? Are the current vacancies a harbinger of a brick and mortar decline? Did we ever foresee our kids and neighbors driving to Williamsburg and Bushwick for dinner or shopping, as they do now?

So as we look forward, the property owners and business owners have a decision to make for the next 25 years. Do we do nothing and hope for the best? Do we become a homebound community defined by Amazon, Uber Eats and Netflix?  The members of the Bay Ridge Third Avenue BID Formation Steering Committee want to define the future of the avenue and not be defined by other forces. A BID will provide a structure to grow for the future and still maintain the events that the Bay Ridge community currently enjoys. Third Avenue is doing fine in 2019 so we don’t need the word “Improvement” in the BID definition. Rather we insert the word “Investment” -- if we do not invest in our avenue, some not so good things could happen, and may be happening already.

We hope you all will support the effort to define, stabilize and strengthen the avenue for the next 25 years. Join us as we start to invest in our avenue.

-Robert Howe, Bay Ridge Third Avenue Steering Committee, co-chair

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