Developers have figured out how to spot early signs of gentrifying neighborhoods. While we often think gentrification is organically fueled by regular people (i.e. the artist, the boutique shop owner, the tech startup), much of the gentrification process is created by the irregular people too (i.e. the developers and financiers).
These deep-pocketed people are looking for a coffeehouse, a sandwich shop, enough different variety of retail establishments that it creates a key center of gravity for that community. The initial coffee shops signal to investors that the neighborhood is now open for business in a way that it wasn't before. As soon as developers detect these early signs of gentrification, they begin to empty their pockets into the neighborhood. As the Bay Area has seen, what tends to follow are the hipster bars, fancy pizza, and ridiculously overpriced ethnic food disguised as fusion something or other.
Recently, in Harlem, real estate brokers even went as far as to band together to open coffee shops in areas where they were trying to sell or lease apartments, knowing that it would be a huge draw for hipsters and businessmen alike.
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