Now that Barneys has decided to open a Co-op store in Cobble Hill, other high-end fashion stores are on the hunt for Brooklyn spaces of their own. It's like any trend — someone just wants to see someone else do something and make sure it looks good before they try it, too. Brooklyn is like skinny pants when they came out some years ago; Madison Avenue and Soho are passé, like bootcut jeans.
The Times reports that Swarovski Crystal, Anthropologie, and North Face are now looking for Brooklyn stores. Apple has been looking for a store there for years. Another retail real-estate agent said that after Barneys got their space next to Trader Joe's on Atlantic Avenue, a Manhattan-based boutique and national clothing chain hired her to look for Brooklyn spots for them, though she wouldn't say who they were.
From the Times:
Because of its strong demographics and heavy foot traffic, the Cobble Hill area is the most likely target for upscale retailers. “The economics of Cobble Hill are as good as the Upper East Side or Upper West Side,” said Noel Caban, a vice president for retail at CB Richard Ellis who, with Richard Hodos, an executive vice president there, represented Barneys in the transaction.
...But while brokers say there is increased interest in Cobble Hill as a high-end retail destination, there are still stumbling blocks. Most notable is the paucity of spaces big enough for national retailers. There are few options on Atlantic Avenue, and Smith Street, while desirable, has mostly stores in the 1,000-square-foot range. Williamsburg, which offers roomier retail options, is less appealing because of its lack of density and access to mass transportation.
Isn't it ironic? Cobble Hill residents were whining about Barneys coming in and ruining the neighborhood, yet they could be on the verge of an influx of Barneys-esque stores. It's like when the skinny pants invaded Williamsburg! And to think that Williamsburg, full of well-to-do hipsters who only pretend not to shop at these stores (except Swarovski — does anyone shop there?), would probably love to have a Kirna Zabête on the corner.