Court and Smith Street Biz Owners Join Together to Survive Rising Rents


Store owners on Court and Smith streets in Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens are banding together to create a Business Improvement District, or BID. They have also launched an online survey.

The purpose of the proposed merchants association would be to strengthen local mom and pops, who are facing escalating rents in the area due to recent lease signings from retailers such as J.Crew, Splendid and Rag & Bone, according to DNAinfo. “Merchants on Court and Smith streets are banding together to draw more business to the area so that they can afford the neighborhood’s rapidly rising rents,” said the story.

Like all BIDs, the group would take on sanitation, greening, safety and marketing to help businesses in the area thrive. They’ve also launched an online campaign to raise $10,000 for the BID.

Steering Committe members include D’Amico Coffee, Carroll Gardens Realty, Diane T., Stinky BKLYN, Viceroy Properties and Mazzone Hardware. Pictured above is a lower stretch of Court Street near the BQE.

6 Comment

  • I’m all for BIDs. They can strengthen mom and pops.

    But how does “drawing more businesses” to the area make it more affordable? Unless the BID can somehow increase the amount of commercial space available, more businesses will mean HIGHER rents.

    • It says draw more “business” not “businesses” – as in get more people shop there, which would increase revenues for each business so they can afford the increasing rents.

  • They are hoping the bid will increase traffic and $$$ for the mom and pop shops. This in return will enable them to afford higher rent. The catch is that with increased foot traffic the landlords would raise their rents even higher.

    I wonder if there is a study out there that showed the financial impact of a BID to small businesses.

  • The reporting on DNAInfo on which this post is based is all over the place and much of it is contradictory. If the City approves a BID application, property owners are assessed a fee (i.e. higher RE taxes) to fund the BID. These funds are in turn used to provide “supplemental sanitation, security” and marketing for the BID. Like others have noted, if Smith and Court Street are cleaner and better marketed and safer and lit for the holidays, that makes the street even more attractive to businesses and provides further incentives to owners to raise rents.

    Given the number of vacant shops, especially on Smith Street, we need owners to be more realistic about what rents are sustainable, or more of the street will look like the stretch between DeGraw and Sackett, with nine restaurants and bars (Jake Walk, BGH, Some Stupid New Mexican, Cubano Cafe, Union Grounds, Smith and Vine (liquor store), Dassara, Zombie Hut, Wing Bar, and Savoia (maybe closed).

  • Community beware…while some BID’s seem less egregious than others, speaking to the imposition of the FAB Alliance…the Fulton Area Business BID which covers Ft Greene and Clinton Hill…its raison d’etre is masked by a disingenuous assertion that it is for the community. The current template was inherited from the Bloombergian NYEDC scheme to lessen NYC management of services and privatize those responsibilities.

    There are any number of mom and pop shop owners who resent the (often onerous) levy for alleged services such as sanitation…already paid for privately to say nothing of duplicating residential taxes for that very service.

    Our taxes supposedly pay for security…our fine and hard woking police…no?

    Truly, it is ALL about the marketing…which would be fine…everyone wants a virtuous circle of strong business, but when a BID under-represents residential interests within their board members, as in the case of FAB, be forewarned. It’s a hand-over to those who do not have your best interests at heart.

    Every amplified musical event by the BID to drum up business on your street corner may impact your right to live in relative un-bombarded peace…some of your old time shop-keepers may not afford the levies…the “make me an offer I cannot refuse” by building owners to would-be developers as the ginning-up (as opposed to a natural evolving) of gentrification pushes many out…this is fact…not fiction.

    Just saying…