Downtown Brooklyn Home to Fine Apparel Shops

The newly announced J.Crew lease arranged by CPEX tops off the growth of fine apparel shops in one of Brooklyn’s chicest neighborhoods, Cobble Hill.

Well, British novelist Martin Amis, singer-songwriter Norah Jones, actress Lili Taylor and other talented residents think so. With French-born professionals in town on corporate rotation—and founding multimedia arts centers like Invisible Dog—populating the area, Cobble Hill is Brooklyn’s own 21st Arrondissement.

The latest gossip in Cobble Hill, as’s second storefront is located on Court Street, is that retail neighbors near Pacific Green, the fancy locally owned grocery shop, are distressed that Pacific is being replaced and wondering why J.Crew is coming to the area.

J.Crew located itself at Court and Pacific Streets rather than in other locations for clear reasons: the space is great, there is little good space is available anywhere, they are not a Fulton Mall tenant (yet) and it is hard to find big classy retail space in Brooklyn.

J.Crew located here for strategically beneficial real estate reasons as well: to make a profit and to advertise its brand in Brooklyn’s best and most walkable women’s shopping area (concentrated, handmade, bespoke and Brooklyn-based) in the coolest county in the U.S.

Yet the most important reason is on the street: there are more than a dozen women’s fine apparel shops already located in Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill, from BIRD to Pink Pepper, Diane T, Teddy’s and Dear Fieldbinder. These shops are supported by entry-level stores such as American Apparel, Brooklyn Industries and Urban Outfitters. We wish Miriam’s were still on Atlantic to see this blossoming.

Everyone knows Brooklyn is full of fine ready-to-wear and vintage shops. But why Cobble Hill? Ask Lululemon, which just opened a shop on Smith Street. Affluent professional women, the backbone of New York creative businesses and government, live there. Whether in the work force now or raising children at home, they make it happen.

Less noticed is the tripling of Court Street rents south of Atlantic in the wake of Trader Joe’s in the last seven years. Thanks to Two Trees, which risked its large spaces leasing to Urban Outfitters and Barney’s Co-op, Cobble Hill is on the national radar. The big stores support the tireless entrepreneurs behind small stores like Goldy & Mac, Lucia, Rapisarda and Michelle Bridal.

From a landlord’s standpoint, clothing stores are great tenants. Simple build-outs completed quickly, lit-up evenings, open seven days, and they attract upscale female shoppers, on whom all stores depend.

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