Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fifth Avenue: The Gentrification Wave Rolls South

Evidence abounds of the spread of retail gentrification south on Fifth Avenue in Park Slope, particularly between Ninth and Fifteenth Streets. Discount retailer Dee & Dee closed down last year and is being replaced by a Bank of America branch (pictured to the right), which is ready to do battle with the Washington Mutual branch across the street that has been open for more than two year. (Do banks get Community Reinvestment Act brownie points for opening on Fifth Avenue?) For evidence of the changing character of the nabe, however, look no further than the spot that was once home to the Salvation Army store at the corner of 13th Street and Fifth Avenue. This is said to be the soon-to-come new home of a Baby Gap.

Gowanus Lounge shot photos of the site last week, but is shelving them in favor of a different photo (to the right) that was posted by the blog Bag of Rocks that, um, speaks to some of the conflicted neighborhood feelings about more chain retailing coming to this part of Fifth Avenue. (There already is some in the form of Foot Locker, etc., but does the Gap provoke more of a reaction?)

"We don't want no baby gap up in here," Bag of Rocks writes in a post titled "Also sprach Fifth Avenue" of the spot "where the BG is rumored to be gestating as we speak."

Several bakeries and other local establishments have also been forced out by rising rents, and one wonders how long other local businesses are going to be able to hang in there, especially as leases expire and rents are jacked up significantly.

Addendum: A reader notes in the comment section that the rumored Baby Gap may be "BS" and that everyone's being cagey about the identity of the new tenant. One thing we can say with certainty: It won't be Salvation Army or a 99 cent store. Hmm.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd heard a rumor that the Gap was moving in there--is that for certain?

I too have noticed the discount stores closing, and while I understand the anxiety about gentrification, I'm also watching eagerly to see what new businesses emerge. There's now a Doggie Day Care on my block (!).

3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The word is that the Baby Gap rumor was just that, a rumor. I believe the developer confirmed that there is no agreement with the Gap. They've been a bit cagey about what will be there but I read that that BG was BS.

9:22 AM  
Blogger wild cherry sara said...

i'll admit, i get excited, too. but usually i'm vastly disappointed. what ended up being the bank of america was the last straw. i watched and watched with the hope something interesting or useful would appear (read: a bar), but no. not to mention that i loved dee & dee. and just down the street, we lost a hardware store and gained some of the shittiest bagels i've ever tasted. and i'm from the south where they have nothing but shitty bagels. not to mention when gray-shell reopened as T Mobile and the card shop whose name escapes me came back as a hideous bank. and quiznos and dunkin' donuts are recent arrivals as well. the salvation army was awesome for a number of reasons: close to home for closet clean outs, solid numbers of records and books and just plain comfortingly there. there are already about 20 too many little kids' clothing stores in the slope (another one just opened on 7th where that organic market survived for about 25 seconds).

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tell me about it, wild cherry sara. That Doral Bank is unbelievably hideous and alien-esque.

Even less necessary than little kid boutiques and banks, however, are the ever-proliferating real estate offices. Argh.

- orig. commenter

11:58 AM  
Blogger wild cherry sara said...

no shit! what's up with that? is there not a finite amount of real estate to be sold? gimme a restaurant, a book store, something USEFUL!

12:27 PM  

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