February 19, 2020 * by Ellen Shaughnessy
This little Lehigh Valley town that could has been enjoying a nice slow, organic renaissance. Let’s take a look at Easton’s local downtown niche and what commercial leases are going for. We will start with Easton, then follow with Phillipsburg NJ, Bethlehem, Allentown, then maybe Stroudsburg, Frenchtown, and beyond – requests are welcome! With a growing national trend for ‘walkable downtowns’, many urban industrial cities are enjoying a nice bit of adaptive re-use. Many stagnant buildings that were once too much $$ to tackle for development are now getting a second look. Investors are feeling bullish and risking the money to now make them code complaint and re-purpose many interesting vintage buildings… lofts and former industrial spaces turned residential are quite a popular ‘vibe’ that we are seeing more of which encourages growth in downtowns. More residences bring more folks with disposable income that help support more small businesses and boutiques.
One of our investor clients that owns a few mixed-use properties – with commercial on the street level and residential units above, asked for a snapshot of the current Easton commercial leasing market. And so this blog was born.
What we found is not too surprising, lease rents/per square foot are on the rise. Along with the healthy growing Lehigh Valley economy, the downtowns are making a nice resurgence and small business owners/ entrepreneurs are leading the way.
65 N. 4th St. just leased in early 2020, at $22/sq.ft. Now a lovely boutique that sells many unique hand-crafted goods, many that that also give back to their communities – LEARKE llc is a well-curated new shopping experience, not to be missed!
140C Northampton St. in the Grand Eastonian leased within the last year at $18/sq.ft. Now home to Five & Dime skate shop this shop offers cool custom branded clothing, and great skate decks starting around $40. This strategic spot next to Mercantile Home is helping to heat up the retail scene in the 100-block…. not to be outdone, ERA Vintage is stocking up their shelves at 140 Northampton Space A: an exciting salvage and gift boutique Coming SOON! Beautiful space with a key location on the corner of the grand hotel, this spot went for $24/sq.ft.
Many nuances in price depend on the amenities; parking, central air, common space and restrooms compliance, code-readiness, how much fit-out is required, and naturally: LOCATION.
34 N. 2nd St. is now home to Kelly Berkey’s inspired Belle Ame which crafts their own lovely soul jewelry, and now also offers lines of fine yoga/relaxed clothing lines. 34 recently leased in late 2019 at $11/sq.ft. The new tenant created a whole new world in here, with a really fantastic french country vibe. Their prices are very approachable, for the quality of the jewelry – simple and beautiful!
75 N. 4th St. just leased, at around $15/sq.ft. Stay tuned for this exciting new business to be announced! We’ll update this by next month. 126 N. 4th St. just went under agreement — it’s priced at $22.50 / sq.ft.; not sure if that’s what the landlord got here, but we’ll know soon on greaterlehighvalleyrealtors.org (our local mls) and update this. Some of the smaller boutique spaces go for quite a bit more per sq. ft. But many do not require much fit-out and since it’s small square footage those rents can be quite approachable – like $700-$1000/month.
118 Northampton is now home to spectacular Khanisa’s Pudding Bar. The space started as a ‘grey box’ and was completely custom tailored for this beautiful dessert space. Leased for approx. $17/sq.ft. this beautiful dessert space is owned and operated by young entrepreneurs that are taking the dessert business by storm. They also host poetry slams, special events, and much more – definitely worth checking out. 120 Northampton St. also just leased recently to Free Bridge Realty llc, at approx. $18/sq.ft. Licensed in both PA + NJ, this puts the boutique brokerage within 20 steps of the Free Bridge over to NJ. I happen to be the Broker of that realty and we are happy to help more trail-blazing entrepreneurs and business owners find their perfect space!
The 100-block seems to really be heating up, and that will get turned up another big notch once the 8-story planned Commodore mixed-use building should start construction soon. Just across from the beautiful renovated property that hosts the Seperatist craft beer tap room, this project will be bringing many more high-end residential rental living options into downtown Easton.
Speaking of which… opportunity knocks here for a nice mixed-use compound that consists of 1-2 commercial street-level spaces (former Thai restaurant), plus 4 -income-producing residential units above. Needs some polish, but the numbers this can generate in its excellent location next to the Bachmann Publik house are quite good; approx 9% CAP rate. There are a few parking spaces out back here too.
Buy or Sell, we work with many property investors, entrepreneurs, and business owners. Just a small snapshot here of what some recent downtown Easton commercial leases are going for – next stop; we’ll have a look at the up-and-coming NJ Opportunity Zone in Phillipsburg NJ. We blogged about the NJ Opportunity Zone and UEZ tax benefits in P’burg last year, and may host a seminar for investors on these soon. Please email if you are interested or have some specific topics you would like covered.
This blog is hosted by Free Bridge Realty, llc. We do our best to keep everything accurate — but this is not a guarantee. Lease data comes from local mls: GreaterLehighValleyRealtors.com