5 Retail Properties To Rent in Some of the World’s Coolest Neighborhoods

Cool can be hard to quantify. It doesn’t reside in statistics or metrics; it’s more of a feeling in the air, a vibe.

And yet: every year, the intrepid readers and editors of Time Out attempt to appraise it anyway and produce a list ranking “The 40 coolest neighbourhoods in the world.”

Now, commercial real estate is generally an industry that relies on that which can be measured: cap rates, rental rates, absorption rates — it’s a business in which numbers abound. Nonetheless, it’s an industry that is not entirely immune to the charms of cool. Far from it, in fact.

Multifamily developers want to build units in cool submarkets; office owners desire properties in neighborhoods that attract hip startups; and industrial users need last-mile facilities in between both groups.

But one CRE user group relies on cool more than any other: retailers. Cool is where the buzz is, and the foot traffic follows the buzz. And, for retailers, foot traffic is king.

That’s why LoopNet has identified five retail properties that you can rent right now in some of the world’s coolest neighborhoods. Whether you’re contemplating opening a vegan bakery near one of Brooklyn’s most popular parks or a vintage clothing store by the river in Edinburgh, there may be something for you on this list.


Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York

Located in Northwest Brooklyn, Fort Greene’s cool factor and critical mass of retailers and restaurants has been steadily growing for the past two decades. According to Ariel Keren, director of leasing for Urban Ambience, the neighborhood’s appeal is widespread.

“If you’re young, you want to live there. If you have a family, you want to live there. If you’re rich, you want to live there. If you’re poor, you want to live there. There’s something for everyone,” Keren told LoopNet.

The neighborhood, which appeared at number 15 on Time Out’s list, is centered around Fort Greene Park, one of Brooklyn’s most celebrated greenspaces and host to a weekly farmers market that attracts denizens from across the borough.

On its south side, the park is bounded by DeKalb Avenue, which Keren described as “a jewel of Brooklyn. I think you have some of the best restaurants in Brooklyn, maybe even in New York, on that street.”

But Dekalb’s notoriety means it can be difficult to secure a space there, or for a retailer to succeed among the myriad competition.

“It’s saturated,” Keren said about DeKalb. “Anything that comes up on DeKalb is snatched up and there’s not much opportunity for the new guys to come in.”

Alternatively, on the park’s north side, is Myrtle Avenue, where Keren is currently representing two spaces for rent, with a third sought-after corner location at the junction of Myrtle and Adelphi Street potentially becoming available soon. All three spaces are fully vented and well-suited for restaurant use. The two in-line spaces each measure approximately 1,400 square feet, while the corner space comes in at 1,200 square feet.

And what Myrtle Avenue may lack in cache, it makes up for in opportunity. “I think that corner has a chance to dictate what happens in the immediate area over the next few years,” Keren said.


Leith, Edinburgh, Scotland

Coming in just behind Fort Greene at number 16 on Time Out’s list, Leith is a former industrial area that was once Edinburgh’s primary port.

“Historically, Leith was quite industrial and a bit rough,” Murdo McAndrew, commercial property agent with Graham + Sibbald told LoopNet. “And there’s still glimpses of it’s kind of roughish past, but there’s a lot of upmarket stuff happening down there as well.”

According to McAndrew, over the past decade many of the area’s industrial spaces have been converted to breweries, art galleries and other uses that have attracted Edinburgh residents looking to avoid the high costs, congestion and tourist throngs of the city center.

There’s also the appeal of being along the Firth of Forth, an estuary of Scotland’s River Forth. This portion of the neighborhood, referred to as the Shore Area, is where you’ll find 10-12 Henderson Street, a retail/storefront office unit that McAndrew is representing.

The space measures just over 1,000 square feet and is presently finished to serve as a storefront office. McAndrew said there’s already been interest from architects and marketing firms. But because the property is classified as 1A, meaning that it could be used as a retail or office unit, there’s also been cafes and pub operators intrigued by it as well. McAndrew said that given the neighborhood’s hipster culture, he also thought vintage clothing would make sense for the unit, while a yoga studio or personal trainer could take advantage of the ability to roll up the whole frontage of the property, a quirk retained from its former use as a mechanic’s garage.

Step around the corner, and you’re plunged into Leith’s exciting shore area, “which has got really nice cafes, restaurants and pubs,” according to McAndrew. Included among those establishments is the King’s Wark, which even in a city as historic as Edinburgh, stands out for being “proper old,” as McAndrew put it — it dates back to 1434.


The Annex, Toronto, Canada

Appearing at number 38 on Time Out’s list is The Annex neighborhood in Toronto. According to Brianna Gillen, sales representative with local brokerage firm K.P. Gillen & Co., The Annex has long served as a somewhat hipper and less expensive alternative to neighboring Yorkville, which Gillen described as, “Toronto’s most high-end neighborhood.”

Which isn’t to say that The Annex lacks luxury. “There’s still lots of high-end galleries, plastic surgeons, med spas, that sort of thing,” Gillen told LoopNet. There are also numerous exclusive restaurants, including Sotto Sotto, a favorite of the rapper Drake.

“It still kind of has that glamorous vibe,” Gillen said about The Annex. “But in terms of rent, it’s a little bit more attainable.”

Those somewhat more affordable rents also foster a more diverse and neighborhood-oriented retail ecosystem. “In Yorkville you might see Chanel and Gucci, whereas in the Annex you might see more independent brands,” Gillen said.

Gillen is presently representing a unique property in the neighborhood at 236 Avenue Road, which was formerly a historic mansion and the ancestral home of former Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King. The property was constructed in 1898 and was renovated in 2020.

Encompassing the property’s entire second floor and totaling more than 8,000 square feet, the available space is well-suited to numerous potential “medtail” uses and is presently built out as a “state of the art executive health clinic,” according to the listing. It also offers prominent signage, five on-site parking spaces and a bus stop located directly in front of the property.

Gillen, whose offices are in the neighborhood, said it is “forever evolving.”

“The building across the street from where our office is used to be a mechanic’s garage,” Gillen said. “And now it’s a Four Seasons Hotel.”


Mid-City, New Orleans, Louisiana

Not far from the historic French Quarter, New Orleans’ Mid-City neighborhood, which ranked at number seven on Time Out’s list, is home to the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival.

But, according to Time Out, “it’s a top neighbourhood any time of year.”

Time Out went on to say that in Mid-City, “You’ll find artsy crowds and colourful houses in the Bayou St. John area, historical landmarks along Bayou Road, and centuries-old oaks in City Park.”

It’s also where you’ll find the Falstaff Apartments & Dorgenois Lofts at 2600 Gravier Street, where a 3,500-square-foot ground floor retail unit is presently available.

The listing describes the building as “meticulously restored” and “an emblem of post-Hurricane Katrina revival.”

The space is presently configured as a gym and features locker rooms, showers and distinctive architectural details. However, given the vibrancy of the neighborhood and flexibility of the space’s MU-2 zoning designations, the unit could be repurposed for a “broad spectrum of potential uses,” as described in the listing.


King’s Cross, London, United Kingdom

According to Time Out, King’s Cross is, quite simply, “London’s coolest neighbourhood.” High praise for a city as trend-setting and style-conscious as the United Kingdom’s capital.

“It’s still a sprawling, irregular mess,” Time Out wrote about the neighborhood, which ranked at number 24 on its list. “But its alleys and piazzas — some steeped in Victorian history, others shiny and new — are now home to a brilliantly eclectic selection of shops and restaurants.”

If readers are tempted to add their own offering to that eclectic mix, they could consider the 839-square-foot ground-floor unit presently available at 20 Caledonian Road.

Located in proximity to the neighborhood’s eponymous train station, the property enjoys high visibility and extensive foot traffic. It’s also zoned to accommodate a variety of potential retail uses.

“The property offers a versatile retail space that can be customised to suit various business needs, from boutique shops to cafes or offices,” according to the listing.