On Friday, I went out to visit Bushwick, which is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. Since moving to NYC nine years ago, I’ve only been to Bushwick three times, so I’m definitely not an expert on what is happening there but I am more excited about the opportunity after this visit.
I sent out a tweet on Friday, which essentially said that Bushwick is going to be a better startup scene than DUBMO, another neighborhood in Brooklyn. When I moved to NYC, DUMBO had a lot of energy, buzz and momentum as a emerging startup hub. A lot of folks were very bullish on how the startup community would play out there, I didn’t think it has met the expectations for a few reasons.
One, DUMBO has become very expensive to live, so if you are looking to attract startup talent, it is hard to reside there (2 bedroom condo starts at $1.8M). The surrounding neighborhoods are getting expensive too.
As Jay-Z said :
“Wish I could take it back to the beginnin’
I coulda bought a place in Dumbo before it was Dumbo
For like two million
That same building today is worth twenty-five million
Guess how I’m feelin’? Dumbo”
DUMBO is a great neighborhood, partly given the spectacular views as it is perched on top of the East River; the views of the sunset, various bridges, Manhattan, New Jersey, Statue of Liberty, etc are amazing. This leads to the second point, DUMBO is limited on how it can expand from a real estate perspective given the river, the bridges and parks nearby. Third, access to the neighborhood is a bit limited given its location and available subway lines, served primarily via the F line. DUMBO has had a lot of success, so not a knock on them, it just didn’t deliver on the hype that many built up.
Lets me highlight why I’m excited about Bushwick.
One, it has some nice wind in the sails on the tech side, which is primarily driven by crypto related ConsenSys being HQ’d there, they have 150 people working there and a lot of tech people have visited the neighborhood to visit them specifically. The jury is out on what ultimately happens with ConsenSys, as they betting on Etherum ($ETH) blockchain, but that is separate topic and blog post. In addition, there is a lot of potential on what the Bushwick Generator is working on, check it out. A big driver is that Netflix is building a huge production studio, over 161,000 square feet, in the neighborhood, which is going to be a boost for media startups or for startups selling technology to studios. Bushwick has a ton of manufactures, many of which will likely move or close, which will provide a lot of available commercial real estate, especially if more rezoning is completed. Similar, on the residential front, there is a lot of development happening and is a lot more affordable than DUMBO. Access to the neighborhood via the L line makes it a lot more accessible for people coming from Manhattan or deeper in East Brooklyn (L line serves 300K people every day). The surrounding neighborhoods are a good feeder for creative talent, primarily Willamsburg and Bed-Stuy. There are lot of great ingredients in the neighborhood, lets see if they can cook up something special.
A side note, Bushwick might be the best location to get people from other neighborhoods that don’t know about the thriving tech community in Manhattan. Would love to see marginalized , low-income, minority community integrated to what is brewing on the tech front in the neighborhood. If the Bushwich tech can deliver on this, they build something really special.