Hunters Point residents “dying” for more retail

November 09, 2011 09:07AM

Vernon Boulevard retail near new development in Hunters Point
The rebirth of Long Island City and Hunters Point has been well documented, but the influx of new residents are frustrated that retailers haven’t followed them to the neighborhood, the New York Times reported.

The Hunters Point population has grown 64 percent in the last 10 years to 11,311 residents, and September rents were up 18.1 percent from a year ago, the Times said, suggesting the new residents are bringing greater wealth with them.

“You had certain types of retail there that may have accommodated long-term residents,” said Long Island City Partnership President Gayle Baron, “but may not be the same requirements for newer residents because of the difference in age and income level.” She believes clothing boutiques are needed for the newcomers.

Though bars and restaurants comprise about 80 percent of new business in the neighborhood and are proliferating along main corridors such as Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue, locals say there is a demand for hardware stores and shops selling clothing, housewares, toys and electronics. Retail rents on Vernon Boulevard are about $50 per square foot and $40 per foot along Jackson Avenue.

“I think the residents are dying for retail over here,” said Eric Benaim, CEO of residential brokerage Modern Spaces, who noted that more units are flooding the area over the next couple of years. “If a retailer were to come here, they’d do well.”

But the Times quoted independent retailers in the area that say they haven’t found resounding success because residents often travel elsewhere in the city to do the bulk of their shopping. Meanwhile, chains, such as a Dunkin’ Donuts that opened recently, are not well-received by the community. [NYT]