FORT GREENE — This year’s Winter Flea comes with a fee.
The Brooklyn Flea — which returned for the indoor season last weekend at the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building at One Hanson Place — will now be charging shoppers a $1 admission fee, according to flea co-founder Eric Demby.
The fee will help make up for the location’s rent, which has risen significantly since the flea last operated there from 2010 to 2012, Demby said.
“We were helping them activate [the space] five years ago, and now we’re a typical tenant,” he said. “Without that one dollar fee we would lose money all winter. That’s not really an option.”
The new fee was first reported by the Brooklyn Paper.
Demby did not specify how much the flea is paying in rent this winter, but said it’s two or three times what they pay for their outdoor locations, for half the space.
After 2012, the Winter Flea bounced around the borough, setting up shop at locations like Berg’n in Crown Heights and Industry City in Sunset Park.
But Demby said many vendors wanted to return to the bank building, which is located near 11 subway lines and is a destination in its own right.
The landmark site’s main hall — where 100 craft and vintage vendors will set up shop each weekend through April — boasts a 63-foot vaulted ceiling and stained-glass windows.
For the first time, the Winter Flea will also feature a bar that will serve beer, wine and cider.
Twenty-five Smorgasburg food vendors will operate on the building’s lower level, near the old bank vault.
“It’s the best possible place for a market,” he said. “It’s so beautiful in there, the vendors do great. It’s really a special place.”
The $1 fee didn’t stop shoppers from coming out in droves on the Winter Flea’s kickoff weekend, when more than 8,000 people showed up Saturday and more than 4,000 showed up Sunday during the New York City Marathon.
A portion of proceeds from the admission fee will also go to the Food Bank for New York City, although a final amount has not yet been set, Demby said.
The fee is location-specific and will not return during the summer season, he added.
Children under 16 will get in for free.