The Real Deal New York

Car dealerships seen as sign of West Side’s changing retail landscape

January 03, 2013 10:30AM

A new Maserati dealership coming to a remote area of 11th Avenue is set to pay more rent than many Soho retailers for a space leased until recently by an industrial tool supplier — a sign of the far West Side’s rapidly changing real estate market, according to the Wall Street Journal. And Maserati isn’t the only car dealership rushing into the gentrifying neighborhood.

Nearby, Mercedes-Benz recently spent $220 million on a five-story dealership, offering free cappuccinos at the base of the aptly named luxury residential development Mercedes House, and Volkswagen dropped approximately $150 million to buy and renovate a former Potamkin dealership into a six-story showcase. Moreover, Porsche is said to be searching for a spot along 11th Avenue, according to Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association.

But the original appeal of the area to ritzy dealerships wasn’t that it was up and coming. Rather it was that it was spacious and cheap. “Nobody wanted to be on 11th Avenue, but the rent was cheap or buildings were cheap,” Schienberg said. [WSJ]Christopher Cameron