Even in tony brownstone Brooklyn infrastructure lags behind

Here are some reasons why
January 01, 2017 01:00PM

Are you nonplused when you go shopping near your apartment in Long Island City? Ever wondered why a neighborhood of multi-million dollar brownstones can’t support a grocery store? Or why there isn’t a pharmacy close to your hipster hovel in Bushwick? To ease your confusion, real estate experts weighed in on the problem of lagging infrastructure in NYC’s emerging neighborhoods.

A lot of it comes down to the quirks of individual neighborhoods, David Maundrell TRData LogoTINY, executive vice president of new development for Brooklyn and Queens at Citi Habitats, told Brick Underground.

“Every neighborhood is kind of different,” Maundrell said. “For instance, for a long time 4th Avenue in Brooklyn wasn’t zoned for any retail, and neither was Long Island City when new developments first started coming in.”

And while zoning is often an obstacle to business, it isn’t the only factor by a long shot.

“If you’re a real estate manager for a major retail operation, you’re not necessarily driving around Brooklyn looking for signs of change,” Ken Fisher, a former Brooklyn council member, and a land-use attorney at Cozen O’Connor, told Brick Underground. “Any neighborhood is just one more place on a list of places where somebody is giving you demographic information.”

So while it might seem like everyone on your block would patronize a new Whole Foods or Apple store, the numbers often tell a different story.

“Private services like banks and drugstores, which are dominated by national chains, by nature tend to be conservative and driven by metrics,” Fisher added. “That’s in contrast to bars, coffee shops and galleries, which are willing to locate in changing neighborhoods because they anticipate that they themselves may become destinations. And while those types of businesses have a high failure rate, it doesn’t stand to damage a national brand if they end up having to close a store. It’s different for national chains.”

[Brick Underground]Christopher Cameron