Retail revival takes hold on West 8th Street

March 23, 2012 10:00AM

Once known for its concentration of shoe stores, West 8th Street in Greenwich Village is seeking a new identity as retail corridors proliferate around it. According to the Wall Street Journal, nearly 12 new business have emerged on the two-block stretch in the past two years, including fashion boutique GiGi K, restaurant Alma 33, textile store Textile Art Center and a wine bar called Amelie.

Those business are counting on the future arrival of Stumptown Coffee Roasters, at the corner of MacDougal Street, and BD Hotels forthcoming project, at 5 West 8th Street, to cement the strip’s resurgence.

It’s a marked change from when some of those businesses first open. “I hesitated to open this store because 8th Street was dead,” said GiGi K owner GiGi Kwon, who opened shop four months ago.

Dozens of shoe stories lived on the strip during the 1990s, but the combination of the falling economy and the rising popularity of retail in Soho, Union Square and Bleecker Street punished West 8th Street. While foot traffic is still weaker than it once was, more retailers are becoming interested in the area. But Buchbinder & Warren, which represents 13 retail spaces on the block, said landlords are selective with who fills the spaces and they seek to protect the Village’s charm. [WSJ]