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What’s Driving Brooklyn’s Retail Revolution?


With Apple, Wegmans, Saks Off Fifth, Nike, over a dozen Michelin-starred restaurants and three of the nation’s top 10 retail corridors, the meteoric rise of Brooklyn retail has been well-documented. But what’s driving its rapid growth? Looking back at CPEX’s 2015 Brooklyn Retail Report, we came up with five market factors that have led to the influx of national retailers and increased retail rental rates throughout the borough:

“If You Build It, They Will Come.” 

Developers are looking to Brooklyn for new residential projects. Brooklyn permits have doubled over a two-year period to nearly 20,000 new units, a 149% increase over all the other outer boroughs combined and twice that of Manhattan. If you’re unconvinced, just look at Downtown Brooklyn's skyline.

Lowest Office Vacancy Rate Nationwide 

Demand is outpacing supply as more and more employers look to enter the Brooklyn market. The office vacancy rate is the nation’s lowest at 4.2%, and even lower downtown (1.6%). With more and more people living and working in Brooklyn, retailers are following suit.

College Town, USA 

Brooklyn is home to over 60,000 students at its more than 30 universities, colleges and seminaries, many of which are concentrated in the Downtown Brooklyn area. That’s a large (and free-spending) consumer base on which retailers can capitalize.

The Hospitable Borough

The hospitality sector in Brooklyn continues to grow. With over 4,000 hotel rooms already, the borough has a healthy hotel pipeline that is expected to bring its total to 71 hotels by 2017—a 154% increase since 2008.

Five Reasons Going On 60 Million

Since 2002, NYC tourism has grown from 35 million visitors annually to an estimated nearly 60 million tourists this year. Brooklyn has been a big part of New York City’s tourism boom, with the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and green oases such as Prospect Park (with 10 million visitors, second only to Central Park) serving as major attractions for tourists looking to see what the "coolest city on the planet" is all about.

For more information on the growth of Brooklyn retail, click here.