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Bushwick, Ridgewood Are New York City’s Next Mixed-Use Destinations

Bushwick, Brooklyn

Cheaper multifamily rents and growing enclaves of creative professionals have put the adjacent neighborhoods of Bushwick, Brooklyn, and Ridgewood, Queens, in the spotlight. Already attracting tenants priced out of nearby Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the primarily residential neighborhoods have also piqued the interest of office and retail developers. 

The increased mixed-used development has the potential to transform the two areas from Manhattan bedroom communities into live-work-play destinations. 

Marcus & Millichap broker Tom Shihadeh oversees his team’s transactions in the eastern and western Brooklyn markets, specifically the neighborhoods of Bushwick, Ridgewood, Park Slope, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights. He has witnessed firsthand the growth of mixed-used development across Bushwick and Ridgewood. 

“Since 2012 and 2013, the growth in residential rents sparked the catalyst for new retail to follow and that has allowed the neighborhoods to form their own identities apart from Williamsburg and Greenpoint,” Shihadeh said. “What is most interesting right now is that, while there is an oversupply challenge in the rental market, the demand and values have held in large part because of all this massive new office, hotel and retail development under construction.”

Bushwick, a former industrial hub for the city’s breweries and manufacturers, has filled in with vintage stores, coffee shops, cocktail bars and artist-run galleries. Drawn to the graffiti, affordable apartment rents and access to trains into Manhattan, artists and recent college graduates have flocked to the Brooklyn neighborhood. Median rent in the area hovered around $2K in August, compared to $3K in Williamsburg, according to Trulia.  

The commercial studio buildings in the area, many of which are former textile factories, are also drawing the interest of tech and media companies. The affordability, retail and nightlife scene that attracts young workers, who already live in the area has encouraged startups and large creative firms to seek offices in the neighborhood.

Last year, four office buildings sold at a total of $18.2M, according to a TerraCRG 2016 market report.

Hospitality projects have also cropped up in the area. Three separate hotels, at Stewart Avenue, White Street and Seigel Street, will offer a total of 400 rooms. Riverside Developers, the company behind the high-end William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg, is spearheading the project at Stewart Avenue. 

Marcus & Millichap broker Tom Shihadeh

Ridgewood, by comparison, is a more residential neighborhood of low-rise townhouses. The area has been a longtime hub for middle-class immigrants coming from Albania and Poland, along with those from the Caribbean, Mexico and the rest of Latin America. 

Properties are predominantly two-, three- and six-family homes, but AB Capstone's 17-story residential project will increase housing density and support mixed-use development. Coming to the corner of St. Nicholas Avenue and Palmetto Street, the building's upper floors will be residential with a total of 129 rental units. The lower floors will have commercial space. 

Despite the imminent L train shutdown, the creation of office space and other mixed-use projects will create two neighborhoods that will not depend on a direct line into Manhattan. 

“By the time 2019, 2020 and 2021 come around, you will have four or five different Class-A office buildings in operation," Shihadeh said. "This influx of jobs will lead to much of the tenant base being people that are just living and working in the neighborhood and there being less dependence on access into the city.” 

Other major developments are in the pipeline. On the multifamily side, the Rheingold Brewery site in Bushwick will bring between 800 and 900 rental units to the area, 20% of which will be dedicated affordable housing. The possibility of major supermarket chains entering the area will further support Bushwick and Ridgewood's transformation into dense, live-work-play hubs. 

“The long-term trajectory of this neighborhood is really solid,” Shihadeh said. “You are going to have a real office community that exists within all the main spots of Bushwick and Ridgewood. You are going to have a tenant base that stays within that community, that walks to work and really wants to avoid the everyday concrete jungle.”

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