Fashion boutiques abandon the LES

June 20, 2011 04:14PM

A lack of daytime foot-traffic and rising rents are stunting the retail growth of the once-emerging Lower East Side, Crain’s reported. Annie Havlicek, In God We Trust, Bag and Convent are among the fashion boutiques that have fled the Lower East Side, which is exceedingly nightlife-driven, since February. “The neighborhood is definitely a destination for restaurants and bars, but it’s more local traffic during the day and not so much an apparel destination,” said Peter Levitan, a managing director at Sierra Realty. Nevertheless, rents are quickly climbing. Crain’s reported that on prime streets rent is as high as $150 a square foot, and $65 a foot on secondary streets. In God We Trust, the seven-year-old apparel store, left in February when rent on its 400-square-foot space increased 25 percent to $150 per square foot. The light daytime foot-traffic doesn’t warrant the skyrocketing asking prices that are beginning to rival those in Soho and the West Village, Crain’s said, and consequently many boutiques are looking across the East River, to Williamsburg, for new locations. [Crain’s]