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In an article published yesterday, Crain's ponders over why boutiques can't seem to make it down on the Lower East Side. The culprit, according to them? No daytime foot traffic. Recently, stores like Annie Havlicek and In God We Trust have shuttered, and it seems to have a lot to do with the sparse, mostly-local traffic during the day that's juxtaposed against a booming nightlife scene. That, and jacked up rents.
The article mentions that In God We Trust's rent went up $150 per square foot (a 25% increase) before it decided to close its doors late last February. IGWT's General Manager Julie Noyce tells Crain's: "The Lower East Side has always been for artists and rock 'n' rollers—if you get rid of that local flavor, then it's just Steve Madden and a bunch of bars."
True. So then where? Like all stories on the dismal LES, the article finds refuge in Williamsburg. Peter Levitan, the managing director at Sierra Realty, says, "Cooler tenants are starting to get a little tired of Manhattan and are looking to explore other neighborhoods, like Williamsburg, as SoHo becomes more and more of a mall." As of now, some of those cooler tenants include Annie Havlicek, who is considering both Williamsburg and the West Village, and Scoop, who said recently that Williamsburg, or any other hip Brooklyn neighborhood, might be next on its list.
So is there any hope for the LES? Crain's reports that in the past 18 months, rents have gone up about 20%, and the steady emergence of new nightlife isn't going to make that number drop. Bowery Boogie notes another problem: "We've also heard from a number of shopkeepers that the reputation around here is people look but don't buy."
· Lower East Side's fashion faux pax [Crain's]
· Lower East Side Fashion Flight Underway [Bowery Boogie]
· Annie Havlicek Becomes the Lower East Side's Latest Retail Casualty [Racked NY]