Photo via Nick Sherman’s Flickr
Brookfield Property Partners announced on Monday it has acquired seven retail storefronts across four properties in the West Village, an attempt to rescue retail in a neighborhood which has had a high rate of vacancies for years. The company hopes to attract e-commerce companies that are interested in testing out brick-and-mortar locations. The properties, found along Bleecker Street between West 10th and West 11th Streets, measure 24,000 square feet. Brookfield paid New York REIT $31.5 million to acquire the properties.
Recent reports have found once-booming shopping districts in New York City, including the Bleecker Street corridor, are experiencing double-digit vacancy rates. Last year, the City Council found overall vacancy rates have jumped from 2.1 percent to 4.2 percent between 2012 and 2017. Skyrocketing rents and online competitors have forced the demise of street retail, according to the report.
Bleecker Street, once known for its mom-and-pop store and small businesses, became a magnet for more high-end brands, like Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs, during the late 1990s and early 2000s. After “Sex and the City” featured Magnolia Bakery on an episode, tourists flocked to the area, and continue to do so to this day.
Earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he is considering a tax to fine landlords who leave their storefronts empty for long periods of time. On the Brian Lehrer Show, he told listeners: “I am very interested in fighting for a vacancy fee or a vacancy tax that would penalize landlords who leave their storefronts vacant for long periods of time in neighborhoods because they are looking for some top-dollar rent; they blight neighborhoods by doing it.”
Brookfield’s seven storefront retail condos are found at 350, 367-369, 382-384 and 387 Bleecker Street. The company will explore bringing art and cultural programming to the strip, with hopes for installations and events via its Arts Brookfield division.
“On Bleecker Street, we have a prime opportunity to help repopulate one of New York City’s most distinct retail corridors with new, innovative brands,” Michael Goldban, head of retail leasing at Brookfield, said in a statement. “The architecture, energy and authenticity of Bleecker Street and the West Village make for a special and unique destination, and we are committed to embracing and capitalizing on those attributes.”
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Neighborhoods : West Village