By Diana Boutross, Executive Managing Director, Brokerage – Retail Services
I’ve spent a significant portion of my real estate career working in the Brooklyn market and I’ve seen first-hand this wonderful transformation over the years, as the borough has grown to become one of the trendiest, most highly sought destinations in the country. So for me, today is an exciting day– our national research team has released a new report called “Cool Streets of North America,” identifying some of the hippest streets and neighborhoods around the country. In the report, Brooklyn was recognized largely for what’s going on in Sunset Park’s Industry City, an area experiencing significant revitalization right now, largely due to the influx of strong retail brands mixed with interesting and unique independents.
One of the things I love about Brooklyn is that as it has undergone a remarkable forward shift over the past several years, it nonetheless retains its character as a neighborhood-oriented, diverse cultural borough. The streetscapes and brownstones have a certain nostalgia to them, and yet at the same time everything is somehow new.
This “nostalgic newness” is evident in Sunset Park, as Industry City retains that industrial character, yet also provides for the sort of big box floor plates that are ideal for larger retail tenants. Liberty View Industrial Plaza has welcomed Saks off Fifth, Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as a growing market of tech tenants. The younger generation is attracted to the industrial feel, with its high ceilings and exposed architecture, and the retail boom happening has given incentive to flock there.
While the Cool Streets report focuses on Sunset Park, in my mind the place to watch out for is Bushwick, which has developed into an attractive destination for the younger crowd. From Flushing to Jefferson to Wyckoff and Myrtle Avenues, Bushwick has become an epicenter of hipsters on bicycles, clad in backpacks and sneakers. It has seen an organic growth of retail, residential, and office all at the same time. It is the neighborhood of small breweries, coffee roasters, beer gardens, with landscapes of graffiti and beautiful murals that make for wonderful walking tours for residents and visitors alike. Artists flock to its annual festivals, and the neighborhood is peppered with clubs, gaming rooms, shuffle board, bowling, and all sorts of entertainment outlets.
This emerging retail scene has also paved the way for a growing office market. These aren’t the traditional, Manhattan-style high rise offices. Rather, adding to the “cool factor,” these are collaborative offices with big open spaces and a more casual feel.
Part of the reason behind the ongoing renewal of Sunset Park and Bushwick is the simple fact that many millennials have been priced out of the surrounding neighborhoods. Williamsburg, whose gentrification was really the start of Brooklyn’s emergence as the destination for cool, with trendy restaurants and great entertainment, attracting artists and other creative types, has just become too expensive for millennials to sustain there. The same holds true for Dumbo, which has become a destination for raising families, with its access to great schools, shopping, entertainment and its proximity to Manhattan.
Like I said, these are exciting times for those of us in Brooklyn. I am very passionate about being a part of a transformation at this level and as Sunset Park is on the rise now… I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Diana joined Cushman and Wakefield in 2015, bringing with her 20-years of experience in the real estate industry. Diana’s understanding of Ownership needs, Tenant requirements has gained her a solid reputation among private investors, clients and within the real estate brokerage community. Diana has successfully completed leasing transactions throughout the five boroughs, particularly concentrating on the Manhattan and Brooklyn Markets. She has been an integral part of changing markets, such as being the exclusive broker for the Trump Organization that redefined the Third Avenue retail corridor, and truly being a pioneer driving national and local retailers to Brooklyn and beyond.