Sunday, May 13, 2007

Why Kensington is Good for Biz

We have to say although we've found the rents on Church Ave to be a bit outta whack for the hood our research has been limited. Friends in the real estate biz have reminded us that in commercial space there is always negotiation. Which brings us back to the lack of general fun sorts of amenities here Kensington. Sure, we can get our nails done, go to a diner for pancakes, eat some damn good samosas or get dishwasher liquid for 99cents but, if we wanna hang in a local joint all day w our laptop sipping tea we hop on a train. Yesterday we were craving some middle eastern and rode up to 7th Ave. Most weekend nights we hang with friends in Brooklyn but when we're doing stuff with local friends or have people come to us we generally stay in. There aren't too many places to go out to eat or to sit and have coffee or to even swig a beer (yes we've tried Dennys and it does have some panache!). Recently we had a long talk w a long time resident (just someone who found it affordable and easy to live here back in the late 90s). He said that he wasn't sure if a commercial biz would be able to thrive here and we totally disagreed. Here were our points.

1. In the last 3 years (since we've been here) although the neighborhood is maintaining is diversity and affordability it is also having a huge influx of people like us who are professional and getting priced out of the neighborhoods we rented in. (As an example our building was only 19% owner occ. when we moved in and now over 70% w 2 more on market). Many of us commute in and out to jobs further 'north' in Brooklyn or the city and want some stuff to do when we get home. Many of us have irregular hours and are looking at places to frequent while we work from home just to break up the monotony

2. Concern about the hours before 5pm is a tough call but we took a look around and noticed there are in fact a lot of people here during the day many of which are looking for a good place to grab a sandwich or coffee. Just within a 6 block radius there are five schools (PS 130, PS 230, PS 230 Annex, PS 179 and IS 62). Many of these teachers ride up to Terrace Bagels for their lunch. There is also a nearby train station (F at Church & F at Ft. Hamilton) as well as 3 bus lines. There has got to be at least a few MTA workers looking for lunch. We also have a Post Office (ahhh Kensington Post Office) and many commercial businesses down McDonald. Let's not even mention the truck traffic (they have to eat some place right?) or those construction workers from all the recent development. We also gather from the amount of babies we see being strolled around there are a ton of Moms and Dads looking for a meeting spot outside the nearby library or Greenwood Playground.

3. The selection is limited so a little diversification would probably get a lot of support. We already have a Thai place and still people seemed to flocked to Tonys this past week because it had sit down service. Besides now 2 Thai restaurants, we have 3 Chinese, 3 Mexican, 3 pizzerias, 2 Pakistani/ Bengali and 2 diners. (We're forgetting a few probably like Ambrosia but are they open these days?).

We're not sure what would do well, we sure know what we would like... Maybe something like the Windsor Cafe or an Olive Vine or a sandwich place with vegetarian selection and how about Cuban? We think a lot of people are just looking for a place to get out of their houses/apartments... did we tell you how many people we saw at Thai Tony's? The real estate market isn't changing any time soon in Brooklyn and as more and more people get priced out of trendier hoods they'll head here. While we frequent and love the places we have there are a ton of spaces available for rent on what are already bustling commercial strips. If you've got the capital and are looking for something off the beaten path that could eventually blow up as this hood gets busier we'd say negotiate and let us know for some free press.