Koreatown heads east as vacancy rate drops below zero on main stretch

October 07, 2011 10:18AM

The Retail Real Estate Market Is So Tight On 32nd Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue that it’s forcing Manhattan’s Koreatown to expand its traditional borders.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the retail vacancy rate on the one block stretch is less than zero — as all-night restaurants, karaoke bars and frozen yogurt eateries take space on floors above ground-level — and there’s nothing coming on the market anytime soon. Moreover, rents are about $200 to $300 a square foot, surpassing shopping strips in Soho and the Upper West Side.

As a result, the one block stretch is slowly expanding across the Fifth Avenue to the east side of 32nd Street.

Dong Chun Hong, being opened by a Korean restaurateur with two eateries on West 32nd Street, is coming to 312 Fifth Avenue between 31st and 32nd streets. Plus, Korean restaurants KyoChon and Crazy Bananas have crossed the avenue and opened spaces on the east corners of Fifth Avenue and 32nd Street. But the Journal notes that Korean establishments being opened off the traditional stretch are less authentically Korean, and in some cases, more expensive. [WSJ]