Only half joking, a staffer notes what she calls the evolving ecology of downtown’s burgeoning residential neighborhood. As more empty nesters and young professionals move into the lofts and apartments, a variety of new services spring up to serve them. Downtown, whose exotic retail options only a few years ago topped out at novelty cigarette lighters, discount shoes, and rubber stamps, now offers daily gelato and weekend crepes — and dozens of new storefront shops and restaurants.
One good example of this theory of evolution is 10th Street’s Casa Semplice, which incubated for a while in the sublet space of another retailer. It has been selling retail cooking and cleaning products — and cookbooks and cooking magazines. But with dozens of new loft residents spending tens of thousands of dollars on upgraded kitchens, Casa Semplice will expand into new space to begin offering “cooking experiences” in a fully operational demonstration kitchen.
Another good — and probably inevitable — example is the growth in personal fitness studios and gyms downtown to counterbalance all those restaurants, gelato shops, cooking lessons.