Wall Street Journal on the Demise of Bowery Lighting District

Posted on: August 9th, 2011 at 6:28 am by

The Wall Street Journal picked up a story we’ve been closely following for years here at Boogie HQ.  That of the last gasp of the Bowery lighting district.  We know that the lighting industry here isn’t quite dead yet, but all signs in the neighborhood point to its demise.

This image has been archived or removed.

Here are some excerpts:

Store owners point to gentrification, the downturn in the local housing market and the rise of online shopping, which have all taken a toll on their businesses.

A rough census tells the story of decline. In 2000, about 30 lighting stores lined the Bowery south of Houston Street. A pair of closures earlier this year brought that number down to around 20, and at least two more retailers plan an exit soon.

The corridor has become home to condos, art galleries and edgy boutiques in recent years — along with an influx of real-estate development.

“In the last 10 years, more buildings have been built on the Bowery than in any other decade,” said Kerri Culhane, an architectural historian who has documented the area’s recent development. Of the 241 buildings currently standing on the Bowery, she said more than 10% are new construction.

That has meant higher rents for most tenants, including the lighting merchants. Forrest estimates that average retail rents have more than doubled in the last decade, jumping from roughly $30 to $50 per square foot to $100.

Most notable is the report about Bowery Interiors Lite Elite at 148 Bowery which has been threatening closure for over a year.

But he [industry fixture David Cohen] says it will close within a month and the space will likely be converted into a restaurant or coffee shop.

Recent Stories

Out on the Essex Street ‘Fiore Escape’

The fire escape spectacle entertained Essex Street anew. Friday evening, Lower East Sider Jill Fiore again stepped onto her tenement fire escape at 29 Essex for a short concert. Fiore was flanked by bandmates Derek Cruz on lead guitar, Dave Spinley on saxophone, and Joan Chew on bass. Like previous Fiore Escape outings, this one […]

It Was a Deadly Weekend of Shootings and Stabbings on the Lower East Side

This was a deadly weekend of shootings and stabbings on the Lower East Side, with a 16-year-old boy and 51-year-old delivery worker both fatalities. It began Friday evening at around 8:30pm when a 16-year-old boy was shot in the face on Delancey Street, near Suffolk. Six shots had been fired in the incident, which left […]

16-Year-Old Fatally Shot in the Face on Delancey Street Last Night

A 16-year-old boy was shot and killed on Delancey Street last night, near the on-ramp to the Williamsburg Bridge, cops said. The teenager was shot in the face near the corner of Suffolk at about 8:30pm. Right at the foot of Essex Crossing. First responders rushed the boy, who was unconscious, to Bellevue Hospital for […]

CBGB Shut Down 15 Years Ago on the Bowery

Fifteen years ago. This was the night – arguably – that the last breath of punk exhaled on the Bowery. When CBGB concluded its residence at 315 Bowery. And the block could not look any different today. The former venue became, and remains, the upscale John Varvatos boutique; while its old CB’s Gallery space is […]

MOSCOT Launches New Chromeo Collaboration with in-Store Performance

MOSCOT recently launched a new collaboration with popular electro-funk duo Chromeo. To celebrate, the eyewear company is hosting a live performance of the group at its Orchard Street flagship tonight. According to the press release, the new “luxurious capsule collection” features two limited edition frame styles co-designed by David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” […]