Business is booming in Brooklyn.
The number of retail corridors and business strips in the borough has nearly doubled in two years, according to the latest annual report from CPEX Real Estate.
With more than 19,000 new residential unit permits filed in 2014 and an office vacancy rate of 4.2 percent — the lowest in the nation — Brooklyn added 27 new retail corridors last year for a total of 121, nearly double the number from two years ago, according to the report.
“It’s happening for a number of reasons that are not retail related,” explained Ryan Condren, managing director of CPEX’s retail team. “When we did our study, there were a few facts in there that were very eye popping. The first was on the development side of it. Over 10,000 new unit permits were pulled in Brooklyn – that’s almost double of Manhattan – so, overall, Brooklyn is getting more and more dense.”
The report squared in on three examples of transforming retail – Bedford-Stuyvesant, the Industry City area and the extension of the Fulton Street Mall.
According to the report, an influx of new residents has caused average property values in Bed-Stuy to increase by 36 percent from October, 2013 to October, 2014. That spike in demand, CPEX says, opened the door for 33 new retail locations – 28 of which were a restaurant, café or bar.
As for the Industry City area, the takeover of a 16-building, six million square foot complex by Jamestown Properties for manufacturing use helped pave the way for a “renaissance,” according to CPEX, with the pipelined Bed Bath & Beyond slated for 850 Third Avenue (a property represented by CPEX) serving as just another example of that new wave.
Other eye-catchers, according to Condren, were the borough’s low office vacancy rate, and the high number of tourist attractions that have helped bring in the business.
“The Barclays Center is obviously the most popular one, but on top of that, we have the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the growth of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and so much more,” he said. “Those tourist attractions have really been tremendous, and what follows those attractions is hotels.”
According to the report, Brooklyn has 50 existing hotels today, offering up a total of 4,272 rooms. Additionally, there are 21 more hotels in the pipeline, slated for completion by 2017. That addition, Condren stressed, will bring the total to 71 – a 151 percent increase from 2008.
“All of that together, on top of Brooklyn already being kind of its own city, is why retail is growing as much as it is,” Condren said. “Brooklyn has always been tremendously hot, but it’s getting even hotter.”