NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More apartment vacancies and cheaper rents are popping up in Brooklyn, including swanky, hip Williamsburg, as people brace for the shut down of L train service in spring 2019.
Already this weekend, and for six more in a row, big chunks of L service shuts down in preparation. The weekend work begins at 11:30 p.m. Friday with trains operating only between Broadway Junction and the Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway southern terminal.
“Oh my god it’s going to be so difficult for me to get to work,” said Paulette Morgan, of Canarsie.
Others are not angry, like Michael James of Williamsburg, who just signed a lease for an apartment steps away from the Bedford Avenue station.
“We came across a couple of places that were actually really affordable in the Williamsburg neighborhoods, which probably wasn’t the case a year ago,” he told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
James was not shy about demanding a deal.
“I think people will probably be able to negotiate their prices like they weren’t able to before,” he said.
“It’s good for renters,” said Dan Geiger, a reporter for Crain’s New York Business. “Anybody in their right mind would say ‘yeah, I would like concession for that.”
Geiger says retail shops could be hit the hardest by the lack of L trains, including ones on Bedford Avenue, enduring long-lasting construction and less foot traffic.
“If you don’t have as many shops and stores that’s part of the joy in being in Williamsburg, certainly that affects the character the neighborhood, yes that could affect it,” said Geiger.
Geiger says the outlook is better for the sales of homes — likely bulletproof because those buyers get in for the long haul.
“So I guess I’m just going to have to tough it out,” said Williamsburg resident Jacqui Shiel.
For many getting around, the L train shut down won’t be easy but they are willing to give transportation alternatives a chance.
“There’s record ridership on the ferry, so the ferry has been proven to be a transit alternative that people will use,” said Geiger.
So it’s boats, buses, bikes or the other subway lines. Renters need to know before jumping on what they might call an “L of a deal” to make sure they can handle a trickier commute.
Thirty thousand brand new units are in the pipeline for Brooklyn — more units and less demand.