Maybe inevitable, given the degree to which everything’s already being marketed to naive renters as a part of Williamsburg or “Williamsburg adjacent:” a somewhat breathless article from Crain’s heralding AptsandLofts.com’s new office on Malcolm X Blvd. as a sign of Bed-Stuy’s not-so-distant future as “the new Williamsburg.” The company’s founder told the site, “I’m seeing in Bed-Stuy what I saw happen in Williamsburg in 2002.”
A little hyperbolic, maybe, but also not based on nothing. Small telltale signs have been cropping up the area for a while now—the neighborhood’s first $1 million apartment, a new group dedicated to protecting longtime residents and homeowners from gentrification gone wild—and anecdotally, having lived and looked for apartments in the area the past couple of years, prices are rising, and fast. It seems people figured out there are some pretty nice homes out there. Brownstones, even. Though the first big project for AptsandLofts is, of course, “a collection of new condominium units.”
All of which is to say that Bed-Stuy is gentrifying, and more specifically, becoming a hotter real estate entity by the day. But does this mean that a historic district in central Brooklyn will attract exactly the same developments, demographics, nightlife, prices, and adult-Disneyland vibe as its neighbor to the north off the L train? Or just that “the new Williamsburg” has become zingy real estate shorthand for “a place where you can squeeze a lot of money out of people”? Most likely it’s the latter, but still. Perturbing either way you look at it.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.