Brooklyn Heights undergoes retail revival

June 11, 2012 10:00AM

Thanks to growing residential populations in surrounding neighborhoods, Brooklyn Heights has seen a surge in occupancy and rents for its retail spaces. Crain’s reported that after the vacancy rate on Montague Street, the Heights’ main corridor, topped out at 6 percent in 2008 thanks to a flurry of closures, the rate has returned to 1.7 percent. Rents average between $100 and $115 per square foot, but reach as high as $250 for some spaces.

In recent months Le Pain Quotidien, Starbucks, clothing retailer Ruby and Jenna and Yoga & Spa Center moved in. Meanwhile, developer David Bistricer’s planned revival of Hotel Bossert into a luxury, five-star hotel, has real estate insiders salivating. Locals attribute the influx of retailers to the growing populations in Downtown Brooklyn, which has seen its number of residents grow to 15,000 from 8,000 in 2009 thanks to the opening of new residential developments.

But with their arrival comes the consequences typical of gentrification. “There aren’t too many of us left,” said Thomas Calfa, whose family started gourmet deli Lassen & Henning in 1939. “Who’s going to come and open on this street now? Chains. No little guy can afford it, unless he owns the building.” [Crain’s]