Retail vacancies abound near the Bedford Avenue L stop
Eye on Real Estate
L-mageddon already has a prime span of Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue in its grip.
The L-train shutdown between the Bedford Avenue station and Manhattan doesn’t start until next April. But construction machinery already clogs the streets outside the L train stop at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and North 7th Street.
The North 7th Street block between Bedford and Driggs avenues is closed to vehicular traffic for construction in the road bed. A sign posted there says the closure will continue until June 2019.
Work is underway to make improvements on the Bedford Avenue station. An online posting by the MTA says two new street-level stairways are being added to the station’s Bedford Avenue entrance, and two others are being added to its Driggs Avenue stop.
The current construction in the street and the looming threat of diminished numbers of shoppers, diners and drinkers coming from Manhattan are apparently making vacant storefronts a bit harder to fill with tenants.
When we were strolling around the area the other day, we made a list of empty ground-floor spaces. Afterwards, we tracked down some details about the vacant properties. What follows is a sampler of them.
Big, big asking rents
By the way, when we talk about Bedford Avenue leasing deals, we’re talking big bucks.
In the Real Estate Board of New York’s most recently published survey, which was for the Winter 2018 time period, Bedford Avenue between Grand and North 12th streets was tied with Downtown Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall as the commercial corridors with the priciest ground-floor retail asking rents in our borough.
The median asking rent for both locations was $350 per square foot per year, the survey indicates.
Also, Bedford Avenue’s range of ground-floor retail asking rents — from $138 to $600 per square foot per year — had the highest ceiling among Brooklyn commercial corridors.
The next highest retail rent range was on Fulton Mall, with a low of $320 and a high of $400 per square foot per year.
A busy market has closed
* Just north of the intersection of North 7th Street, there’s empty ground-floor space at 168 Bedford Ave., whose tenant had been a restaurant called Peter’s Since 1969. Its signature dish was rotisserie chicken.
* On the opposite side of the street at 177 Bedford Ave., a Korean gastropub called Sujo has closed.
* The first thing L train riders to Williamsburg used to see when they came out of the Bedford Avenue subway station was now-closed Khim’s Millenium Market. In fair weather, it had a big outdoor display of cut flowers for sale, arrayed in big buckets.
The store was located in an eye-catching old-fashioned brick rowhouse at 185 Bedford Ave. on the corner of North 7th Street.
The beautiful building belongs to an LLC with Jerry Lebedowicz as managing member, city Finance Department records indicate.
Jerry and Lucy Lebedowicz owned it until 2009, then transferred their ownership of the property to the LLC. They had bought it for $42,750 in a 1985 estate sale, Finance Department records show.
An investment firm owns vacant spaces
RedSky Capital, a Brooklyn-based real estate investment firm founded by Benjamin Bernstein and Benjamin Stokes, owns several vacant retail spaces on the Bedford Avenue blocks between North 7th and North 5th streets.
Bernstein signed the deeds for these properties the firm purchased, Finance Department records show.
* A sign on the door at vacant 184 Bedford Ave. says there is space for rent on the building’s ground floor, second floor and lower level. There’s 3,200 square feet available on each floor.
Finance Department records show RedSky Capital bought 184-186 Bedford Ave. through an LLC for $20.675 million in 2014.
* A handbag maker called Min & Mon formerly occupied now-vacant 190 Bedford Ave. This building belongs to RedSky Capital, which paid $13.181 million for it through an LLC in 2016, Finance Department records indicate.
* A sushi restaurant called Mizu formerly occupied now-vacant space at 192 Bedford Ave. RedSky Capital bought the building through an LLC for $12.25 million in 2015, Finance Department records indicate.
* Leasing agents have posted RedSky Capital’s name and a rendering in the windows of vacant 204-206 Bedford Ave. According to the signage, the available space in this build-to-suit project will include 3,558 square feet on the property’s ground floor, 3,708 square feet on the second floor, 1,195 square feet on the roof and 3,112 square feet on the lower level.
RedSky Capital purchased the property through an LLC for $19 million in 2014, Finance Department records show.
Three of the four storefronts on a prime corner are vacant
At the intersection of Bedford Avenue and North 6th Street, just one corner storefront is occupied.
It’s 200 Bedford Ave., where Brooklyn Fox Lingerie is located. The retail spaces on the other three corners are empty:
* Uva Wines & Spirits moved out of 199 Bedford Ave. to a location farther away from the Bedford Avenue L train station.
An entity called 199 Bedford Corp. with Kenneth Firpo as president owns 199 Bedford Ave., having purchased it for $575,000 in a 1999 estate sale, Finance Department records show.
* Garry Steinberg and Jaime Schultz of Lee & Associates are marketing a 575-square-foot retail space and a 260-square-foot retail space at 196-198 Bedford Ave., where now-departed New York Muffins had been located. The two spaces can be combined into a single space, their online marketing material says.
The building belongs to Northside Properties Inc. with Joseph Lentini as president, Finance Department records indicate.
* The storefront at 197 Bedford Ave. is vacant. Prior tenants include a combination coffee shop-restaurant-live jazz venue called Blackbird Parlour.
According to Finance Department records, the building belongs to Andrew Lee and Christine Mark.