Take a drive along Broadway in the Bronx and you'll pass through Kingsbridge, a neighborhood that's experiencing a boom. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
For years, residents of the northwest Bronx routinely drove to Westchester County or New Jersey to shop, but that's changing. A stretch of Broadway along the elevated train tracks on Jerome Avenue in Kingsbridge is becoming a shopping Mecca.
"You have just a growing number of retailers that are all bundled together," said Benjamin Fox, executive vice president for real estate developer Cushman & Wakefield.
In the past 18 months, two malls with big box stores have opened.
BJ's Wholesale Club anchors the new mall at 237th Street, the site of the old Stella D'Oro Cookie factory. They've got plenty of company.
"Chipotle, they opened their first store in the Bronx with us," said Joe Farkas, president of Metropolitan Realty Associates. "Buffalo Wild Wings, first restaurant in the Bronx. Smash Burger also first restaurant in the Bronx."
City MD and Petco also have leased space. That's a total of five major chains making the mall their first Bronx location.
A block away, Cushman & Wakefield is leasing 24,000 square feet of space at a strip mall being built, with a planned opening next spring.
"We have a health club that's looking for 15,000 square feet," Fox said.
After populating suburbia with malls and big box stores, developers are increasingly eyeing the city. They call Kingsbridge a stable, working-class community, a perfect match.
"Within a mile, you've got 100,000 people living here, which obviously, is the size of a small city," Farkas said. "Some very good spending power."
And that's drawing residential development, too. More homes are going up, adding to the existing reasonably priced housing stock.
"For about $400,000 to $600,000, you can get a nice house that is one-block walk, two-block walk from the number 1 train," said Ellen Feld, a broker with Sotheby's International Realty.
And even with all of this development, the demographic of Kinsgbridge hasn't changed much. Feld says it's still a diverse neighborhood of families where young singles and the newly wed are moving in, without the kind of development that pushes longtime residents and businesses out.
"We have big box stores now and we have mom and pop stores that have continued, so it a best of all possible worlds," Feld said.
Two worlds, in one community.