Park Slope retail: A look at the neighborhood’s 5th and 7th Avenue throughfares - by Scepanovic

June 20, 2017 - New York City
Aleksandra Scepanovic,
Ideal Properties Group

Park Slope is home to one of Ideal Properties Group’s offices, the second location to follow our inaugural Brooklyn presence in Gowanus. With four locations in the borough to date, we remain keenly aware of the geographical importance of each of the neighborhoods we call our professional home, and their many uniquely delightful aspects within Brownstone Brooklyn and environs.

From a residential perspective, Park Slope continues to be dominant in the Brooklyn market. In Ideal’s 1Q 2017 report, we have found that the neighborhood, traditionally the leader in volume, came in third in Brownstone and North Brooklyn among sales, taking up 15.5 percent of the total for the quarter. This fact alone continues to present unique opportunities for retailers looking to make their home in this prolific and established Brooklyn neighborhood, and appeal to the large and diverse population that lives here.

Park Slope was voted NYC’s “most livable neighborhood” by New York Magazine in 2010. In 2013, CNNMoney.com declared this Brooklyn favorite one of the “best big-city neighborhoods to live in.” The sentiment is shared by the locals who revel in the neighborhood’s exceptional restaurants, bars and shops, its renowned green spaces, excellent schools and education options, access to public transportation, farmer’s markets and of course – one of the oldest food coops in the country.

The neighborhood’s 5th and 7th Aves. feature the most well-known retailers in the neighborhood. Each thoroughfare possessing its own style and claim to fame, we believe their futures are also likely to express certain differences.

5th Ave. in Park Slope is a veritable foodie heaven, home to a booming restaurant row, sprinkled with an endless variety of Thai, Latin, Italian, Chinese, American, New American, Vietnamese, Colombian, Peruvian, Japanese cuisines, and an even more endless variety of burger places, and bars. The concepts vary, becoming more and more sports-oriented as the venues get closer to Barclays Center (Ideal Properties recently brokered a lease at 375 5th Ave., slated to open in August as a movie-themed restaurant by the name of Logan’s Run Restaurant & Bar). The third, strong presence on 5th Ave. is that of coffee shops and cafes. Novelty concepts include cheese shops, yogurt shops, antique and/or thrift shops with a twist. The avenue primarily attracting younger crowds, businesses that cater to young children, daycare facilities and even art supply shops are found only sporadically. A relative rarity on 7th Ave. are laundromats, commonly found on 5th. Overall, 5th Ave. is a mixture of retail, featuring a variety of mom-and-pop businesses, with a relatively constricted s/f on the ground retail level of mixed-use buildings.

Yes, it is true. Park Slope is Brooklyn-wide known for two severely overused witticisms, the first being: “Park Slope is home to stroller mafia,” the latter: “When you’re young and in the mood to party, you gravitate to 5th Ave. and its plentiful offerings. When you grow up, you are more likely to be found perusing the stores on 7th.”

Like 5th Ave., 7th Ave. has a variety of restaurants from different cultures to themes, appealing to all palates. The main difference is the sizes of the establishments. 7th Ave.’s businesses tend to have larger storefronts, and are often targeted and leased by larger chains and franchises, such Starbucks, banks, and of course the unavoidable – real estate firms. 7th Ave.is also more ‘business commercial’ in contrast to 5th, likely due to its proximity to the Brooklyn Methodist Hospitality. 7th Ave. is home to a number of specialty shops as well as the standard spas, salons and gourmet delis. Unlike 5thAve., the cafés are much smaller, and cater to the crowd on the go, typically those looking for a quick breakfast or lunch.

In recent years, the “more mature” 7th Ave. has seen a stronger uptick in commercial rental prices, the effect of which is visible in more vacancies. And overwhelmingly (anecdotally speaking), the new uses with a longer staying power are food-related, while novelty concepts remain in business for a relatively shorter term. Just like elsewhere in New York City, the two avenues churn out immature or underfunded concepts relatively quickly.

5th Ave. tends to have a slower turnaround and fewer vacancies. The thoroughfare’s rents typically somewhat lower, its spaces tend to be scooped up by the marketplace with greater speed. And just like at 7th Ave., recent concepts tend to be food-or bar-related. Park Slope continues to be ripe for new and old business alike. The demographic, location and popularity of the neighborhood all make it a very desirable commercial destination with a brand-building capability that most businesses seek.

With retail spaces on either avenue mostly occupied by restauranteurs, the lease terms standardly extend to 10 years or more, leaving only a few handful locales available to new tenants and concepts. Each avenue consisting of some 24 blocks or so (the number of course open to debate, depending on how one chooses to delineate Park Slope’s boundaries, an entirely different and too lengthy a story for us to start tackling here), and the majority mixed-use offerings favoring small businesses over major big-box retailers, it is only logical to expect that these two major commercial thoroughfares will continue to draw in new and more interesting businesses to Park Slope.

Aleksandra Scepanovic is the managing director of Ideal Properties Group, Brooklyn, N.Y.

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