The Outlook for National Retail Chains in Williamsburg


    The Real Deal closely examined the factors promoting and retarding the expansion of national chains into Williamsburg in its September print issue, although it didn’t dig up any definite new names. “Pricey condos and rentals are now filling up with wealthy families, who in turn are attracting high-end retailers,” said the article. Increasing density, which is bringing more foot traffic to stores, and skyrocketing residential rents also appeal to national retailers. As has already been reported, Midtown Equities and other investors are developing the $40 million, 150,000-square foot complex at 242 Bedford Avenue between North 3rd and North 4th streets, which will open in 2014 with a Whole Foods, Citibank, New York Sports Club and luxury apartments. That deal, signed in March, has prompted other big retailers to eye Williamsburg, according to brokers. As has already been rumored, J.Crew and, now, “notable restaurants” are reportedly considering 247 Bedford Avenue, across the street. Williamsburg Cinema, the new movie theater going up at Driggs and Grand, will show mainstream films on its seven screens with 1,000 stadium seats, according to The Real Deal. Furniture stores are also looking into the area, claimed one broker, since all the new arrivals need to kit out their pads. But, a serious drawback is the lack of large spaces for big-box stores. Most retail footprints in the area measure 20 by 100 feet. Nonetheless, retail rents are rising on Bedford Avenue, from about $100 a square foot 18 months ago to $150 a square foot. Retail hotness is also drifting southward. “The South side is now starting to see the rapid restaurant and bar growth that first characterized North Williamsburg’s rise,” concluded The Real Deal.
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