• Americas

Brooklyn: The Epicenter of Hip

By Garrick Brown, Vice President of Retail Research, Americas

CW_BrooklynRetail_BlogMillennial consumers in Brooklyn—considered the Big Apple’s hippest borough—have helped to create the model for urban cool.

For the retail world, Brooklyn has emerged as an incubator of sorts. While local residents may just think of them as neighborhood boutiques, a slew of independent merchants have been instrumental in creating a unique mix of funky and chic known as Brooklyn style. The explosion of Brooklyn as both a national and global icon of “hip,” may be a relatively new occurrence though most native New Yorkers will note that the borough’s revitalization and emergence as the epicenter of cool culture has been an ongoing trend for most of the past decade. But this movement truly picked up steam in the post-recession period (2009 onward) for a number of reasons. And most of those have to do with the rise of the Millennial consumer.

In our retail report, Brooklyn: The Epicenter of Hip, we discuss this movement and dive deep into the complete make-up of this iconic urban retail neighborhood, including key trends, key players and what really drove this transformation. We also discuss the impact it is having across other sectors in Brooklyn, and vice versa. And finally, we address some of the concerns in the area and answer the pressing question of, “Will Brooklyn will still be cool tomorrow?”

Here are just some of the highlights from the report:

  • Urban renewal often follows the same path as neighborhoods move from blighted to edgy to cool to upscale. In Brooklyn, this process is on steroids as the path of retail redevelopment continues to seek out new neighborhoods.
  • The once blighted Williamsburg submarket has become one of the most sought after retail districts in the nation. Median asking rents here are now averaging $250 per square foot with space on the trendy Bedford Avenue corridor averaging $350 per square foot.
  • While independents and alternative retailers began the revolution, Brooklyn is now in high demand for national credit chains; large concepts and big boxes are driving a number of redevelopment projects in the borough.
  • “Brooklyn Style” is a real thing; both medium-sum and high-dollar private equity investors are on the lookout for funky, fresh retail concepts that they can take national.


You can download our full report on Brooklyn here. If you have additional questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me.

garrick-brownGarrick serves as Vice President of Retail Research for the Americas. He speaks frequently at industry events and has been a keynote speaker at symposiums, conferences and market forecasting events for groups like the Appraisal Institute, Urban Land Institute, CREW, ICSC and PRSM. He is also a member of Lambda Alpha International, an invitation-only land use society for those who are involved in the ownership, management, regulation and conservation of land, but also those who are involved in its development, redevelopment and preservation.

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