The Real Deal New York

Williamsburg’s independent retailers are retreating

Over the last year, rent increased 60 percent in Williamsburg
June 01, 2014 03:00PM

 As Williamsburg rents continue to soar, an all-too-familiar cycle is playing out. The hip independent retailers that helped make the neighborhood a hipster hot spot are being forced out.

“It became one of the main retail blocks in the neighborhood, and we were part of that and then got kicked out,” Mike Davis, who for a decade operated Academy Record Annex on North 6th Street, said referring to his shop’s location. “I didn’t feel great about it.”

In the last year alone, rents rose 60 percent, to $150 a square foot or more, Faith Consolo, chairman of Douglas Elliman Real Estate’s retail group, told the New York Post.

And as small retailers are forced out the big chains are moving in. A Whole Foods Market Is Currently Under Construction On Bedford Avenue, and J. Crew and Apple have recently expressed interest in the neighborhood.

“Independents give color; they give flavor and make the neighborhood what it is,” Halina Jankowski, who co-founded Northside Pharmacy, said. Recently the pharmacy was forced out of Its Bedford Avenue space and replaced by a Dunkin’ Donuts. “If they disappear, then you are just like everybody else.” [NYP] Christopher Cameron