Just a few years ago, the NoMad district was more like a no-man’s land, made up of a less-than-pretty arrangement of gritty wholesalers, hair salons and counterfeiters.
Some of that persists, but the before-and-after contrast with the new wave of retailers and clientele in the neighborhood couldn’t be starker, as its boundaries with the similarly much-improved Flatiron District begin to blur.
“They’re starting to blend into each other,” said Michael Azarian, director of retail leasing at Massey Knakal. “The neighborhood has seen a flood of new boutique office tenants, [and] new residential and hotel developments that have been catalysts for change.”
With more than 50 million tourists running amok each year, consumers feeling recharged, and throngs of foreign retailers streaming in, Manhattan’s prime retail corridors are not only booming—they’re expanding.
High rents and low vacancies in prime corridors are changing the invisible boundary lines that once separated high- and low-end sections of Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue, Greenwich Village and other retail corridors throughout the city, analysts and real estate brokers claim.
“When these big names and huge chains move into these areas, people just love to follow them,” said Jeffrey Roseman, an executive vice president and principal with Newmark Grubb Knight Frank’s retail division. “They become anchors and magnets to pull others.”
Just as the earlier success of Urban Outfitters and H&M sparked further expansion below 49th Street on Fifth Avenue, and Alfred Dunhill and watchmaker Panerai boosted retail appeal below 57th Street on Madison when they emerged in 2009, aspirational clothing retailers are now doing the same in Greenwich Village.
It’s the decade of Brooklyn, and while The New York Times may have only recently discovered the borough—according to Brian Williams, at least—it has lately become the leading exporter of artisanal eateries to Manhattan.
Zak Pelaccio’s Williamsburg hotspot Fatty ‘Cue opened its West Village outpost last month, and, now, Bedford Cheese Shop—probably Brooklyn’s most noted cheese monger—has signed a 15-year lease at 67 Irving Place.