In recent months, Brooklyn’s Smith Street corridor has seen the opening of Lucky Jeans, Starbucks and American Apparel. And go-to retail-real-estate quotemonger Faith Hope Consolo tells The New York Times that Aldo Shoes and L’Occitane are looking for space on the street. The reporter himself caught scouts for Sephora asking the man in the street what he thought of the giant cosmetic-retail chain.
What’s the reason for all this? Well, it’s the numbers. Rents keep going up on Smith Street, putting them on the scouts’ national radar; the neighborhood can back up the high rent with good neighborhood demographics and a more well-balanced overall retail scene than competing neighborhoods like Park Slope and Williamsburg.
Despite the neighborhood’s predilection for remaining under the radar, compared with more-famous borough destinations like Park Slope or Williamsburg, the cost of opening a store along this stretch of Smith Street can now be twice as high as in those neighborhoods, said Faith Hope Consolo, chairwoman of the retail leasing and sales division of Prudential Douglas Elliman. Stores that rented for $50 to $75 a square foot earlier this year now are $100 or more, she said, “and by year end it will be closer to $125 to $135 per square foot.”
Williamsburg is basically not stable enough as a residential neighborhood to support that level of retail, Ms. Consolo said:
Williamsburg, she said, has not developed as quickly as had been expected. “Williamsburg needs everything — schools, children’s stores, good food stores,” she said. “What they have is a lot of expensive apartments.”