If you had invested in Bushwick, Brooklyn, a decade ago, you would have almost doubled your money by now. Its 84 percent mean price increase outpaces any other New York City neighborhood, and the hipster-heavy enclave has zoomed up the list of NYC’s priciest neighborhoods nearly a hundredfold, from being No. 189 in 2008 to No. 90 today, according to a new report by real estate data provider Trulia.
Of course, the once gritty area, notorious for drugs and crime, still has a long way to go before it encroaches on Manhattan’s hallowed turf, with a pad in Soho – No.1 on the same list – costing around four times that of Bushwick’s median price of $788,700. However, its increase is testament to the rapidly rising values of New York real estate generally. Manhattan and the gentrified areas of Brooklyn became far too costly for many (and especially millennials), so those willing to pioneer and move to less desirable neighborhoods are reaping the rewards. Geographically Bushwick was at a distinct advantage over other areas. It neighbors Williamsburg, the epicenter of the borough’s hipster revolution, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, another neighborhood undergoing gentrification. It also has great subway accessibility with a commute to Manhattan taking about 30 minutes on the L train.
Accelerating Bushwick’s rise was the city’s move to rezone Williamsburg in 2005 to protect it from overdevelopment. Part of Bushwick’s charm has been its varied housing stock — from industrial loft spaces to brownstones and now brand-new condos laden with amenities. New residents beckoned a wave of coffee shops, restaurants, street art and bars, further fueling the migration from more expensive areas. According to census data, the number of residents ages 20 to 34 grew by around 28 percent, to 34,227, from 2000 to 2010.
Such a sudden change has brought about resentment due to displacement. Affluent newcomers moved in while long-time residents moved out according to the most recent data.
According to StreetEasy there are currently 42 condos for sale in Bushwick. At the top end is 318 Knickerbocker Avenue (#4L) priced at $1.1 million (2 bedroom, 2 baths, 1,221 sq ft) and 267 Evergreen Avenue (#2C) priced at $945,000 (2 bedroom, 2 baths, 1,061 sq ft).
One of the most contentious projects has been the massive ODA-designed Rheingold Brewery rental development. It’s viewed by some as a hipster playground, which will do little to uplift the poorer areas of the community. Amenities in one of the project’s residences – the seven-story, 392-unit building at 10 Montieth Street – include a climbing wall, laundry room, interior courtyard, game room, bike storage, children’s playroom, and art studio. A lottery started in April for 100 affordable units for New Yorkers earning 60 percent of the area median income. The second project of the development is located at 123 Melrose Street, known as Evergreen Gardens. Comprising 900 apartments, an 18,000-square-foot park, and a 60,000-square-foot rooftop (boasting urban farm and pool), it also includes 183 affordable units.
“As Williamsburg flourished, Bushwick was discovered,” Mitchell L. Moss, an urban-planning professor at New York University, told crainsnewyork.com. “My students have been priced out of the East Village, and they’re priced out of Williamsburg, so now they’re living in Bushwick, and they may buy in Ridgewood.”