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J. Crew Signs a 10-Year Lease in Brooklyn (Would Have Been Better to Buy)

Jenna Lyons of J. Crew

Image: Alberto Reyes/

J.Crew has just signed a ten-year lease for a two-level retail space at 151 Court Street in Brooklyn, its New York City location outside of the island of Manhattan. 

Perhaps you've heard of Brooklyn: It is NYC's most populous borough, a historical haven for immigrant communities and kids playing stickball. Woody Allen grew up there; Lena Dunham may have visited once. Today's Brooklyn residents are best known for their hilarious idiosyncrasies, like eating organic food (because obviously it's much tastier to stuff your body full of pesticides and caged chicken tears) and procreating.

The retailer's expansion to Brooklyn shouldn't come as a surprise. Gentrification and an influx of capital has been homogenizing the borough's diverse population in certain neighborhoods (like Cobble Hill, J.Crew's future digs), which attracts mass-market chains and disrupts the mythologized mom-and-pop retail landscape.  

In a conversation with J.Crew's CEO Mickey Drexler, WWD wondered if the company was waiting for the "demographics to improve" (that's the publication's elitist language, not Drexler's) before moving to Brooklyn. His response: “We were not necessarily waiting for the demographics [to change] [note: WWD's brackets, not ours]. It’s been quite clear over last few years that a lot of our customers live there. In fact, a fair amount of our headquarters team members live there, and we knew it pretty well.” (Yes: J.Crew creative director and Brooklyn style mascot Jenna Lyons recently sold her Park Slope townhouse.)

A sampling of what you might find in the blocks surrounding the store location: American Apparel, Barney's Co-Op, Radioshack, Trader Joe's, Starbucks, Urban Outfitters, Brooklyn Industries (which now has a location in Manhattan), Chase Bank, Barnes & Noble, Gamestop. 

Depending on your perspective, J.Crew is either a corporate pioneer or a pock on a pure retail landscape.