When times are tougher it pays to be a little creative. And since I've been working on some sign leasing lately I found this story interesting.
In short? Outdoor ad companies are paying retail landlords money to use the vacant storefronts for advertising. From what I gather it is sort of like the ads you see wrapping buses. The ads can look pretty creative. Some even include motion sensors that trigger the projection of images as you walk by.
If you are a landlord you still have to be careful about these types of deals. The tenant has to get all the necessary permits, perhaps within a given time frame. What if the city demands that the ads be removed? What about content? You also need to make sure there is flexibility to terminate the deal if a tenant comes in to play. Found money is great and all that, but not at the cost of losing a long-term retail tenant.