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Bedford Avenue Rivals Rodeo Drive For Retail Rental Rates, Report Finds

By Gwynne Hogan | February 8, 2016 4:46pm
 The going price per square foot for retail space along Bedford Avenue is $350 a month, a report from CPEX Real Estate found.
The going price per square foot for retail space along Bedford Avenue is $350 a month, a report from CPEX Real Estate found.
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DNAinfo/Gwynne Hogan

WILLIAMSBURG — A six block stretch of Bedford Avenue is the most expensive retail corridor in Brooklyn, according to a report released Monday.

In fact, if you take Manhattan out of the equation, the strip is the fifth most expensive in the country, after with L.A.'s Rodeo Drive, Post Street and Union Square in San Francisco and Chicago's North Michigan Avenue in top price per square foot.

Between North 8th Street and Metropolitan Avenue, average rents for commercial spaces now run about $350 per square foot per month, up about $100 dollars from last year, making it the fifth most expensive retail corridor in the country, when you exclude Manhattan.

This year's prices brought Bedford Avenue ahead of Fulton Street Mall, which was the borough's priciest corridor last year at around $250 per square foot, according to CPEX Real Estate's annual report.

The 40 percent surge in commercial rents in the past year is linked to an influx of big corporate tenants like Apple and Whole Foods, who promise to pull in even more foot traffic once they open, said Ryan Condren, a managing director at CPEX.

"If you have a typical, cool bar, restaurant, it's only going to pull certain people," said Condren, whereas big corporate tenants attract traffic from much farther afoot. "The retailers will feed off of that foot traffic."

The increase in rents has coincided with a handful of closures along the block, like the Italian restaurant La Nonna which had been open since 2006 and shut down a year ago, Bedford and Bowery reported.

"Just when you think it can't get any crazier," said Jessie Bransford, 43, who's lived on Bedford for the last 20 years, pointing out the handful of vacant storefronts along the block. 

The space that used to house the venue Spike Hill is still sitting empty more than a year after it closed; a defunct Korean restaurant, a shuttered local bank, and a handful of boarded up storefronts in the few blocks.

"It's choking out the neighborhood," he said.

And for many small businesses along the avenue who've put down roots in the community, but are on 10-year leases, the thought of that expiration date, makes their future in the neighborhood uncertain.

"There's a concern that it will be unaffordable for us," JR Thomason, a manager at UVA Wines and Spirits, on the corner of Bedford Avenue and North 6th Streets, who said they have about two years left on their lease.

"I have no idea what we're going to do when it expires," he said.