9: Luxury
Greene Street today.
The artists revived the neighborhood, which then attracted luxury retail stores and residential lofts. For the most part, artists were priced out of the neighborhood and moved on to wherever rents were cheap and space was plentiful— Williamsburg, Brooklyn in the 1990s.
When the art galleries also left for cheaper rent in Chelsea, Greene Street's ground-floor spaces filled with clothing and furniture stores, mostly high-end chains. The Dior Homme store at 133 Greene celebrated its opening with a nod to the conceptual art scene, showing the works of artist Robert Montgomery. The fusion of fashion and the art market is typical of today's SoHo.
Dior Homme pop-up opening, 2012. Found at Haberdasher.
Stores on Greene Steet, Spring 2015:

Ralph Lauren
Paul Smith
Proenza Schouler
Costume National
Hugo Boss
Warby Parker
Brunello Cucinelli
SoHo Apple Store
The co-op at 133 Greene Street allows for purchases by limited liability corporations, which permits wealthy foreigners to buy these units as investments and avoid paying taxes on them as long as they live in New York for less than half the year. As a broker who lives at 133 Greene observed: "It's a reflection of the changing times...It's not another artist who moves in when someone retires and moves upstate. It's someone from Italy with $100 million net worth."

This living room is part of a 4,430 square-foot loft at 102 Prince Street, just across from the southern end of the Greene Street block; it was on the market for $10.5 million in April, 2015. It was also featured in the movie Ghost in 1990.
102 Prince Street, CurbedNY.
Market Value of Real Estate, Greene Street Block
The media has cast Greene Street as a hot block: “Greene Street turns to gold,” . . . “a magnet for high-end shops and shoppers alike” . . . “the little Madison Avenue of SoHo" . . . “Greene Street has become the street in Soho.”
Saint Laurent Paris interior at 80 Greene Street, their only downtown store, opened just off the block in 2013. Found at YSL.com.
The sky-high prices and luxury culture of Greene Street would come as a great surprise to urban planners who called the block defunct in the 1950s; to unemployed shantytown residents in the 1930s; and to those who worked the Bayard or slave-owned farms centuries earlier.

Today's Greene Street block is not the end of its history. What will tomorrow's block look like?
When we zoom in on one block rather than a city or a country, we see an economic history of surprising rises and falls instead of steady trends — and yet together these small units make possible the steady trends. We see how everyday actions by ordinary individuals play a larger role in the history of development than we tend to acknowledge.

Greene Street's future development has as much to do with this small-scale, volatile chance as it does with methodical planning.
We argue that the micro level, with its spontaneity and unpredictability, is vital for understanding development at any level.

Planners beware.

. . . A Long History of a Short Block.
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