The transformation of Williamsburg from bohemian loft-dwelling artist frontier town to bourgeois yuppified shopping plaza has long been complete—we're not going to speculate when exactly the final nail hit the corporate coffin, because as soon as you point to the Duane Reade opening on Bedford, someone else points further back to the Edge condo going up, or Stinger Club closing, or Rubulad relocating to Clinton Hill, or Kokie's turning into The Levee, or Kyp Malone moving to Greenpoint. Now, inevitably, a J Crew is eyeing the Bedford Avenue building formerly occupied by The Bagel Store and grocer Millennium Health (which have both relocated to the Southside). So it goes!
The Real Deal reports that the preppy purveyor of generic upper middle-class casual wear is considering opening up its first Williamsburg location across the street from a Whole Foods that is expected to open in 2014. Red Sky Capital, the new owner, recently bought the 35,000 square feet property from the previous owner, Yehuda Backer, for $66 million, not long after he tried to implement astronomical rent increases on the Bagel Store, forcing it south. Backer also owned the Whole Foods site, selling that parcel for a cool $23 million.
"I was here 25 years ago when you couldn't walk out on the street without stepping on a needle," Backer told the Wall Street Journal . "I really never expected it to become like this, with such high prices." As it happens, Backer is being sued for $50 million by investor Joe Tabak for allegedly backing out of a deal to sell him two lucrative development sites in Williamsburg. Earlier this year, Bagel Store owner Scott Rossillo told us, "[Backer's] a liar, who the hell knows... He only cares about money. Whatever goes in there will be high end, rest assured. He told me from the very beginning, 'If you don't want a Starbucks in your space, pay me more.' "
There are 13 retail spaces in the building, which range from 1,000 to 6,000 square feet, and the brokerage company is now busy securing tenants who will move in after a renovation. Peter Braus, the manager of the company, tells the Real Deal he's are also willing to re-sign tenants currently located at 247 Bedford, which the Real Deal incorrectly reports "include the bagel purveyor the Bagel Store and the health food shop Millennium Health." Those spaces are currently vacant, and we're guessing Rossillo is quite content at his new digs on South 4th and Bedford, where he does brisk weekend business during peak hipster hangover hours.