How Marc Jacobs Is Forcing Retailers Out of the West Village

Rent are skyrocketing in the neighborhood, thanks to what is being called the "Marc Jacobs Effect."
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Dhani Mau
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Rent are skyrocketing in the neighborhood, thanks to what is being called the "Marc Jacobs Effect."
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Downtown New York's increasingly fancy neighborhood, the West Village, is getting fancier, meaning longstanding retailers in the area like Bleecker Street Records, Gray's Papaya, Papaya Dog and Barnes & Noble have been pushed out.

According to a recent report by the Commercial Observer (picked up by Racked NY), skyrocketing rents are to blame for the neighborhood's transformation. But who's to blame for the skyrocketing rents? Marc Jacobs, apparently.

In fact, they're literally calling it the "Marc Jacobs Effect." Indeed, Jacobs was one of the first fashion designers to set up shop in what was a relatively quiet, residential neighborhood. Now, there are six Marc Jacobs stores in the West Village on and around Bleecker Street, in addition to dozens of other fashion retail doors as labels like Rag & Bone, Sandro and Nars have followed suit.

So what does this mean for the future of the West Village, assuming Marc Jacobs isn't planning to shutter his Bleecker Street mall in favor of the mega-flagship he has planned for Fifth Avenue? Wealthier companies will move in, which doesn't only mean fancier. For instance, a Chipotle is set to replace a local coffee shop in the neighborhood. And there are rumors that a Victoria's Secret or Dylan's Candy Shop will replace Papaya Dog.

Retail executive Jeffrey D. Roseman calls the "Marc Jacobs Effect" both "good and bad for the neighborhood."

We find the West Village to be a much more pleasant shopping experience than, say, Broadway in SoHo, and it also lacks the "you're not fancy enough to be here" vibe of Fifth and Madison Avenues uptown. At the same time, we get that New Yorkers hate change -- and rent increases. And I have to say I'm glad I got to be an NYU student when Papaya Dog, etc. were around.