A neighborhood revitalization group in New York City called miles (Made in the Lower East Side) is working on a new concept to address the proliferation of empty storefronts that dot the neighborhood. Calling it Zipcar or Airbnb for storefronts, the group is trying to maximize the utilization of that space by offering it up as a short term rental for startups or not-for-profits trying to get off the ground.
This phenomenon exists precisely because many landlords are comfortable waiting for the perfect long term landlord and so choose to leave storefronts vacant until such a candidate can be found.
I’ve seen this phenomenon in the restaurant industry in San Francisco where kitchen and restaurant space is rented to “pop-ups” so they can have a restaurant a couple nights a week. The share economy is all about maximizing use of available resources and in real estate constrained environments like New York and San Francisco, I could see these concepts having legs.