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Brooklyn's Priciest Retail Rents? Williamsburg's Bedford Ave. Leads Pack

By Amy Zimmer | October 14, 2015 8:59am
 Bedford Avenue has the borough's highest asking rents, according to a REBNY report.
Bedford Avenue has the borough's highest asking rents, according to a REBNY report.
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

BROOKLYN — Williamsburg's Bedford Avenue, soon-to-be home of an Apple store and Whole Foods Market, has the borough's highest average asking rent for retail spaces, according to the Real Estate Board of New York's first-ever Brooklyn Retail Report.

The REBNY report, released Tuesday, looked at 15 of the borough's hottest retail corridors and found that Bedford Avenue, between Grand and North 12th streets, was the priciest by far, at an average asking rent of $347 per square foot.

It was followed by Downtown Brooklyn's Fulton Mall, between Boerum Place and Flatbush Avenue, which had an average asking rent of $287 per square foot.

The priciest area south of Downtown was in Cobble Hill. On Court Street, between Atlantic Avenue and Carroll Street, there was an average asking rent of $162 per foot.

The least expensive corridors included Greenpoint's Franklin Street ($63 per square foot for the average asking rent), Bay Ridge's 86th Street ($77 per square foot) and Park Slope's Fifth Avenue ($81 per square foot).

"The physical components of a retail space factor greatly into its rental value," the report stated. "Attributes such as street/avenue frontage, ceiling height, presence of below- and above-grade space can affect value as well as locational factors. Consequently, in corridors with less availability, a high quality space coming to market can increase the average and median asking rents greatly."

These were factors in the price surge behind the nine properties listed on Bedford Avenue, where some spaces with "large frontage" in shiny new developments were hoping to command big bucks amid the strip's smaller retail spaces, experts explained. 

Peter Levitan, senior managing director/principal of Lee & Associates NYC and chair of REBNY’s Commercial Brokerage Brooklyn Committee, expects the retail rents in the area will only climb higher after Apple, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Levi's, G-Star and others come in.

The area is especially appealing to big brand retailers because of the neighborhood's increasing population, its spending power and its ability to draw tourists, Levitan said.

The Bedford Avenue stop, he noted, is the fastest growing station in the city with a yearly increase in 800,000 riders, he said. "It's the same ridership as Soho's Spring and Prince streets combined," Levitan said, adding that while the platform might be dangerously overcrowded, "it does mean more value for retailers."

Bedford Avenue already attracts a steady stream of tourists visiting its pricey boutiques like Catbird and Goorin Bros hat store. There's also a Juice Generation, a Starbucks that started serving alcohol, and a Diesel Jeans, which opened a pop-up shop on the strip last year — not to mention the nearby J. Crew, and a Ralph Lauren that's expected to move to the area.