Bedford Avenue tops Brooklyn retail

New REBNY report shows W'burg shopping spot leads borough with asks near $350 psf

Ben Fox John Banks
From left: Cushman's Ben Fox and John Banks

Bedford Avenue is now Brooklyn’s version of Fifth Avenue, as far as retail prices are concerned.

Asking rents on the trendy Williamsburg strip between Grand Street and North 12th Street were the most expensive in Brooklyn, at an average of $347 per square foot, according to the Real Estate Board of New York’s inaugural retail report for the borough.

“The Bedford Avenue corridor has changed tremendously through its several phases of development and now has the highest average asking rent of any Brooklyn corridor,” read the report, which REBNY top brass and members of its Brooklyn retail report committee released Tuesday.

The shift in Bedford Avenue retail could be illustrated by Red Sky Capital’s record purchase of a pair of building’s on the strip late last year for $3,200 and $2,500 per square foot. One of the brokers on the deal, Peter Levitan of Lee & Associates, was appointed chairman over the summer of REBNY’s newly-created Brooklyn Commercial Committee.

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The Fulton Street Mall ranked second in the borough with average asking rents of $287 per square foot. The Downtown shopping strip was named most expensive earlier this year in CPEX Real Estate’s annual report, which has been the authoritative look at the borough’s retail landscape.

One thing REBNY’s new report lacked, members noted Tuesday over breakfast, was historical context to gauge growth in rents. REBNY President John Banks said the study would “establish a baseline” for further reports. REBNY looked at asking rents on 15 shopping strips in 10 different neighborhoods in the borough, ranging from Bay Ridge to Greenpoint.

“What the report is, is it’s really a snapshot of certain corridors,” said REBNY Vice President for Research Mike Slattery. “So these are the ones where there is a lot of new activity.

“The side streets, which are the ones that are not in the report, have been receptacles for the moms and pops who have been leaving the main streets, and are very likely to find a location on the side streets,” Slattery added, citing similar trends in Manhattan.