It’s textbook. A neighborhood becomes cool because rent is low and artists open galleries and shops. The artists live where they work and their cool factor is contagious. Suddenly more and more people flock to the area, which increases demand and causes a hike in rents. Elmwood and Allentown are perfect examples of this very phenomenon. The same artist who helped give the area it’s strong sense of place can not afford to live there anymore. Or cannot afford the storefront rents. Or has a lease end which is extended to another type of business which is more beneficial to the landlord.
This happens in many cities, in many neighborhoods. Consider TriBeCa in NYC- now one of the most trendy areas of Manhattan. Buffalo has a thriving artistic community of galleries, studios and shops. As we continue to be recognized as a great city for start-ups and artists and entrepreneurs, spaces like these will be higher in demand. Arguably, the reason that Black Rock has re-emerged is partially due to the moving of galleries and shops from Elmwood. This is bad? Maybe not as it’s helping to give depth to our city and building interesting pockets of neighborhoods.
This weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting one of Kaisertown’s newest residents. Mr. Peter Caruso just opened a new space (B. West Studio) at 1925 Clinton Ave after packing up his gallery on Elmwood Ave. This is an exciting development, not just because it fills a formerly abandoned storefront, but because it’s an indicator that Kaisertown is starting to be noticed for it’s potential.
I spoke with Peter a bit and he was enthusiastic about the prospect of others following his path. He likes the walkability, affordability and size of the area. He definitely thought that other small business owners could benefit from some of the same features.
As downtown and the medical corridor continue to develop, it’s stands to reason that areas like Black Rock and Kaisertown are in a good position to catch some of the overflow. It will certainly be interesting to watch the streetscape develop as more small businesses like B. West Studios discover Kaisertown. I’d encourage any business owner to take a look at the neighborhood. I think you’ll be surprised at what it has to offer.