Eye On Real Estate: Baby Clothes, Bars Abound on Park Slope Corridor
By Lore Croghan
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Fifth Avenue Brooklyn – it's a tale of three Business Improvement Districts.
The retail corridor snakes like a spine through brownstoners' bailiwick Park Slope, through immigrant magnet Sunset Park, through middle-class and increasingly Middle Eastern Bay Ridge.
Each neighborhood has a BID of its own to represent merchants and landlords – and a personality of its own that draws shoppers forth onto Fifth....
This week, Eye on Real Estate takes a look at the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID – where rents for Fifth Avenue storefronts between Flatbush Avenue and Warren Street have doubled in two years.
We call it the Barclays Effect.
“When the stadium first opened, there was a lot of speculation about who would feel the most impact – Atlantic, Flatbush or Fifth Avenue,” said Ryan Condren, managing director of the retail leasing team at CPEX Real Estate. “Fifth Avenue has benefited the most.”
Foot traffic's been boosted as far south as Union Street before and after Nets games and concerts at popular Barclays Center – giving landlords a reason to ratchet up rents beyond the gentrification that's been ongoing for the past decade.
A newcomer that benefits from proximity to Barclays is the Duke of Montrose at 47 Fifth Ave., Condren said. The high-end whiskey bar, which opened last July, was built by the proprietor of Upper East Side Scottish pub Caledonia.
Storefront rents in the BID territory, which stretches along Fifth Avenue between Dean and 18th streets, ratchet down the further you go from Barclays.
Thisclose, they're nearly $100 per square foot; from Dean to Garfield streets, they're $65 to $90 per square foot; and from 1st through 9th streets, they're $65 to $75 per square foot, said Justin Dower, the commercial leasing director at Ideal Properties Group.
From 9th to 15th streets, they're $45 to $60 per square foot; beyond 15th to the district's end, they're in the $30s and $40s per square foot, he said.
At last count, there were 520 storefronts and an average commercial vacancy rate of 6%, the BID's website indicates.
There's lots cooking (yes, that's a pun) in a hot pocket of the BID around Carroll Street, where the array of restaurants includes acclaimed al di la at 248 Fifth Ave. The big news: Luke's Lobster is moving to 237 Fifth Ave., Eye on Real Estate has confirmed. See related story.
The Grand Central Oyster Bar opened at 254 Fifth Ave. in December, as we previously reported. Calexico, the California-style-Mexican food truck operator turned restaurateur, is expected to open soon at 280 Fifth Ave.
Le Pain Quotidien, the upscale bakery chain, opened last summer at 239 Fifth Ave.
Bar-and-barbecue-joint Pork Slope settled in at 247 Fifth Ave. in summer 2012. The chef is Dale Talde from Bravo TV's “Top Chef,” whose Asian fusion restaurant Talde is on nearby Seventh Avenue.
There are hints, if you look for them, that Fifth Avenue is Mayor Bill de Blasio's home turf. His family's row house is less than a block away.
The 5th Ave. Bageltique put a chalkboard sign out the other day with a sketch of the Mayor that said, “Bill de Blasio loves our HOT SOUP.” Some sidewalk trash cans are painted with the inscription “Sponsored by Council Member Bill de Blasio.”
As befits a shopping corridor in Motherland (yes, we're fans of novelist Amy Sohn), there are toys and kids' clothing at every turn – from heart-covered pink pants and purses for girls at Hiho Batik at 184 Fifth Ave. to onesies with the slogan “No sleep till Brooklyn” at Gift Man at 176 Fifth Ave. Gift Man also has clocks made out of vintage Rolling Stones records for parents who want to know how late they're up for night feedings.
A decade ago, Seventh Avenue was already gentrified while Fifth Avenue lagged behind. “It was predominantly bodegas, nail salons and older businesses,” recalled Euvin Weeber, an agent at Ideal Properties Group.
The big influx of new businesses has come to Fifth Avenue in the past five years, he said.
Though Fifth Avenue's popularity has surged, Seventh Avenue rents still are steeper – north of $100 per square foot, said CPEX exec Condren.
He's marketing a 1,500-square-foot space at 422 Fifth Ave. for $70 per square foot that's been vacant for more than a year. The landlord doesn't want a food tenant, which slows the leasing process.
Merchants that arrived 10 years ago and got the charm momentum rolling include Blue Sky Bakery at 53 Fifth Ave., where the regulars swear by the pumpkin banana nut muffins, and women's clothing shop Flirt at 93 Fifth Ave, which had a $40 sale on dresses the other day.
(Last fall, Flirt opened a second shop at the south end of the BID area, at 586 Fifth Ave.)
Weeber is the leasing agent for the 900-square-foot space at 172 Fifth Ave. that formerly housed Fifth Eye Optix, and after that a pop-up shop called Impeccable Attire. The asking rent is $6,500 per month, or $87 per square foot per year.
Upstairs residents are senior citizens, and the nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee, which manages the building, wants him to dissuade bars and late-night restaurants from moving in.
At 86 Fifth Ave., which the Chocolate Room vacated, the asking rent is $7,000 per month for 900 square feet, or $93 per square foot per year. The previous tenant's rent was one-third of that, said Mandeep Baring of Baring Homes, whose firm is marketing the space for landlord Carmen Cruz.
There have been two offers that didn't pan out, and now there are talks with a new prospective tenant.
The BID area south of 9th Street is seeing a big transformation, with “newer, hipper, more 'Park Slopish' tenants,” Condren said.
And Polish grocer Eagle Provisions at 628 Fifth Ave., which has been around since the 1930s, has modern appeal, too – because of its vast booze collection, alphabetized on the shelves by state or country of origin. Land Shark Lager from Florida, Skull Splitter from the Orkney Islands – you could spend all day perusing the choices.