Oh, what has happened to Manhattan most fashionable shopping strip?
Have the high end consumers of the world moved on? The Meatpacking District is in the middle of a particularly painful phase of its evolution that comes just after the point where its cachet peaks and the retail rents spike, ejecting many of the same stores that made it desirable before there are enough new tenants with deeper pockets to fill in the empty space. Some major departures have been quickly replaced. Stella McCartney's store immediately got split upon her departure between contemporary brands Joie and Alice + Olivia, and Moschino's former digs are currently being transformed for The Kooples, but Alexander McQueen, Puma, Matthew Williamson, DDCLab, Design Within Reach and Krizia have all left holes in the retail-scape that have yet to be filled despite some long stretches of vacancy. In addition, there are new spaces just to the right of the former Krizia store that fall under the HighLine and appear to be a something of a challenge to lease. Want more? The former gas station at the corner of 14th and 10th Avenue is being redeveloped into, yes, more retail space. Some of the departed stores had their own troubles that may have had nothing to do with rent hikes, od course. Krizia looked pretty shaky from the start, for example, but what will it mean for what only a couple of seasons ago looked like the most sought-after location in the city? It's going to take a few seasons at least to fill up those empty 14th Street storefronts, and who is going to shell out the now increased rate to move in? Are we just a few seasons away from Gap and Banana Republic moving in to make the Meatpacking District just another destination for mall-store shopping?