Our latest REBNY Retail Report confirms New York’s top rank as a global marketing center and shopping destination. Rents and vacancy rates are improving in all prime areas despite a sluggish economy, except for downtown whose circumstances are unique. In fact, at the Board’s November Members Luncheon, the panelists agreed that strong retail rents were elevating building sales prices in these sections of town. But vacancies are on the rise in secondary retail districts, however, another sign that any significant realty tax hike could also dim hopes for a near-term recovery in most of the city’s shopping districts. Raising taxes in these tough times would force many stores to go out of business and deprive New York the payroll and sales levies they generate.