If you're looking for rising New York City property values, following the rule of "follow the artists or follow the L train" takes you straight to Bushwick. Williamsburg's neighbor to the East has watched its less-than-stellar reputation rise over the past decade, as artists looking for cheap, large space found solace in the embrace of the area's commercial loft spaces. But this Brooklyn neighborhood may not follow the same path DUMBO and Williamsburg have to a residential boom; she's zoned for commercial, and it doesn't look like the city wants to change that.
The extensive warehouse spaces in Bushwick have seen an influx of art galleries and popups recently, sometimes as second locations of Manhattan locales such as Chelsea's Luhring Augustine, while also serving as a breeding ground for aspiring artists in shared spaces such as 3rd Ward on Morgan Avenue. The growing sense of community is obvious; the annual Bushwick Open Studios event, a weekend where the public can access various venues organized throughout the neighborhood, is a prime example of this neighborhood's unification through the industry that drove them there.
All this has proven to be the formula for immediate and rapid residential real estate investment, but the transition hasn't occurred overnight. The Department of City Planning has not passed rezoning on the northwest section of the neighborhood, and as a result few new condo developments have hit the horizon.
Even if it may take more time, developers seem to have shared optimism regarding the upside of the area and the possibility of future zoning changes. "There is likely more residential on the way," explains Matthew Blesso, the founder and CEO of Blesso Properties. "Even in areas that are currently zoned Manufacturing, some owners are looking for a premium under the assumption that someday their properties will be rezoned." Those that have risen, such as The Hudson Companies' 49-unit "The Knick," are commanding prices around $500 per square foot, a strong value compared to their Easterly neighbors, and the median price for a one-bedroom in the neighborhood is $325,000, according to StreetEasy.com.
As permanent residents trickle in, Bushwick is giving the rest of the city more reasons to come visit. While it may take time before it gets SoHo-like crowds, it is proving that a search for the next "It" hood is never easier than just following the skinny jeans east on the L.
Is Bushwick SoHot?
The comparisons between high-end, chic SoHo and gritty, trendy Bushwick may be few and far between beyond their artist communities. Nonetheless, both areas are celebrated for a landmark pizza shop.
SoHo has Lombardi's, America's first pizzeria, and Bushwick has Roberta's, arguably NYC's most trendy spot for a personal pie. To learn more about Bushwick's best pie place, head over to www.robertaspizza.com.