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The Meatpacking District post–Whitney Museum opening looks a lot different than the one that existed even a few years prior. And in the future, the changes will be even more dramatic. Real estate site The Real Deal grilled six developers in the hopes of making sense of it all, and confirmed that a handful of high-profile additions to the neighborhood — namely Google, the High Line, and the Whitney Museum — have cemented it as a fast-growing hub for tech, tourism, and shopping. Here, we've broken the specifics down into five need-to-know facts:
1. Every single slice of the Meatpacking District is now real estate gold.
"There is nearly nothing left to be developed and very little to be redeveloped," explains Jared Epstein, vice president of Aurora Capital Associates . "Competition from investors to own a piece of the neighborhood is fierce and will remain so."
2. You can thank Restoration Hardware and the Whitney Museum, which has caused sales at some stores to spike 30 to 40%, for every store that follows.
Once it opens, hotel, restaurant and all, "[Restoration Hardware] will be the neighborhood's much-needed retail anchor," says Epstein. "The biggest impact has been the opening of the Whitney Museum this year," adds Jedd Nero of Avision Young. "It's a destination location now."
3. And if your office suddenly moves to the Meatpacking, that's Google's doing.
"Other companies in the TAMI [tech, adversing, media, and information] sector are scouring for opportunities to locate their office close to Google's headquarters [111 Eighth Avenue]," Epstein says.
4. Expect a lot more chain stores.
"I'd like to see more national retailers like Uniqlo or Banana Republic, and more fashion in general, in addition to Rag & Bone, Intermix, and Jeffrey," says Karen Bellantoni, vice chairperson of RKF (She's getting her wish: Madewell is on the way).
Adds Brad Cohen, senior director of Eastern Consolidated: "In recent years, the retailers showing interest in the area has shifted from the very high-end boutiques like Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney to more mainstream [shops]. Stores like Anthropologie, Lululemon, and Patagonia are being attracted to the district because of co-tenancy." That shift has also resulted in the disappearance of smaller boutiques, like Owen.
5. Small businesses, like biker bar Hogs & Heifers, will increasingly feel the pressure of massive rent hikes.
"Anyone who has enjoyed that kind of rent and has their lease coming up — in an area where rents are going up dramatically — it will be hard for them to stay where they are," says Nero. And while there is "a lot of interest from smaller, local retailers that are concept-driven," according to Jamestown President Michael Phillips, it's unclear how these small businesses will be able to afford the rising rents.