Grand Street – West of Allen – Gentrifies Before Your Eyes

294 Grand St.

294 Grand St.

The block of Grand Street between Allen and Eldridge streets doesn’t look like much. The city has had the pavement torn up for months working on the big water main installation project. There’s an odd collection of discount stores — a few holdovers from the Jewish Lower East Side — but mostly Chinese-run businesses and shuttered storefronts. But gentrification has already taken hold on this stretch and it’s sure to intensify in the near future.

In 2011, art dealer Marc Straus opened a gallery in the middle of the block, renovating a building he inherited from his father. On the southeast corner of Grand and Eldridge, one building now houses three galleries — Gavin Brown, 47 Canal and Nathalie Karg. A fourth gallery from Chelsea-based dealer James Cohan debuts next month.

The next building poised for a transformation appears to be 294 Grand St., which was formerly home to M. Karfiol, an underwear and apparel shop. The two-story warehouse-style building has been in the Karfiol family since 1973.

Tzippi Wexler of Grand Success Realty has the listing. She says interest in the property has exceeded even her most optimistic projections. Well-known boutiques, national brands and, of course, galleries are in the running. The family expects to make a decision in a couple of weeks.

The fact that it’s a 50-foot-wide building, rare in the neighborhood, is helping to motivate potential tenants. Asking rents are now edging up to $125 sq. ft. for ground level places in this area. On the two floors of 294 Grand, there’s about 7,000 sq. ft. available.

Stay tuned.

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