Williamsburg Retail: Just Another Manhattan Neighborhood?
Williamsburg retail now sometimes gets discussed in the same breath as Fifth Avenue—and we don't mean the one in Brooklyn (although it's on the way up, too). With Thor's recent purchase of a retail site on Bedford Avenue for $36M, let's take a look at some of the leases and sales making Williamsburg a serious retail hub.
1. J. Crew
At 6k SF, it's not a huge lease, but as a barometer of the direction of Williamsburg retail, J. Crew's lease at 234-236 Wythe Ave, signed just over a year ago, made a statement. The space, which isn't even on the neighborhood's main drag, came in at a formidable $90/SF, and the deal includes $3.5M in upgrades to the one-story building that'll house the clothing store.
2. Whole Foods
Few chains can affect a neighborhood's retail like Austin-based Whole Foods. The high-end grocer announced back in March 2012 that it would take 42k SF on a long-derelict lot at 242 Bedford Ave, now owned by Aurora Capital and Midtown Equities. Whole Foods initially said it would open the location by mid-2014, but just this past January the steel structure that'll house the store was topped off.
Apple's playing it safer than Whole Foods by not releasing an opening date for its first store in Brooklyn. Late last year it came out that the world's biggest company had signed a 20k SF long-term lease at 247 Bedford Ave, right across from Whole Foods.
4. RedSky Shatters Price/BSF Record
Redsky Capital made a splash when it paid a combined $40M for 184-186 and 204-206 Bedford Ave, both near the Bedford Ave L train stop. At $3,200/SF, and $2,500/SF, respectively, RedSky paid more than triple the next highest price paid per foot in the borough last year. Massey Knakal's Brendan Maddigan, who repped the seller, summed it up this way to Crain's: "These two sales are an order of magnitude higher than the highest price per buildable square foot ever in Brooklyn."
5. Thor Buys 180 Bedford Ave
Not to be outdone (by much, anyway), Thor plopped down $36M for a parcel at 180 Bedford Ave earlier this month. The price came to $2,500/SF. Zoning will keep the BSF to a limit of 14,400. Thor hasn't said who it's looking to sign as a tenant, but the smart money bets it'll be a fancier tenant than the Salvation Army, which sold the site.