High Rents, Luxury Goods Change the Street

What was a patchouli-laden street now offers $600 cuff bracelets at Alexis Bittar, $125 bottles of room spray at Le Labo and a slew of new retail spots that happen to be well-disguised chains (like 2-year-old Jack Spade ensconced in a quaint bungalow). "When we arrived in 2007, there were seedlings of a revival," says fashion writer Rose Apodaca of pop home store A+R, which helped usher in an era that includes high-end shoe boutique Mona Moore. (Designer Pamela Barish, who sells her line down the street, says she has been there since "it was still dangerous.") With the arrival of menswear brand Gant Rugger in August and a Lucky Brand soon to hit the 'hood, rents are skyrocketing, with haute bakery Jin Patisserie vacating its space. (Asking rents for high-end spots are up as much as 33 percent from last year to $10 to $12 a square foot a month.) But while longtime store owners worry, the eclectic vibe remains, with West 3rd Street indie fashion fave Satine adding a location in June and no sign yet of a Starbucks on every corner.