The Wall Street Journal reports today on a significant, if totally unsurprising, new real estate trend: the creation of "hip markets," loosely modeled after proven successes like Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg, to act as an added draw to upscale new residential buildings.
In particular, the article cites a 5,000 square foot Hell's Kitchen development that will feature outposts of several Brooklyn businesses, including Brooklyn Kitchen, alongside a small ramen company, and "a stall with a roadhouse theme."
The building's developer sees the market as a way to "create community in my building," and he's not alone. A similar, far larger project is in the works in Lower Manhattan, and per the Journal, these types of markets "help owners bring an authentic edge to a new building while also helping them fetch top rents." Meaning, then, that this idea can and will catch on quickly.
So, is this a good thing, a bad thing, a nondescript "what rich people are up to" thing? Well, whatever it is, it's not really a new thing. Historians are quick to point out that up until the middle of the 20th century New York was a pretty significant hub for small-batch markets, and the success of Eataly and Chelsea Market has proven pretty solidly that even ultra-expensive incarnations of this model can find a wide audience. If people willing to pay high prices for brand-new apartments are willing to pay even higher prices for the opportunity to shop on the ground floor, and if the whole thing ends in small companies bolstering their customer base, well, it's hard too mad or otherwise worked up about it. In any case, it's a better idea than the Williamsburg Walmart.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.