Oh-no in Sowa!

The Harrison Avenue art galleries have been a celebrated anchor for the burgeoning SoWa district, but they may not be as firmly fixed as they seem. Rents are rising, tenants are annoyed, and closures are imminent—leaving the remaining owners wondering what the area will become.

Allston Skirt is being shuttered this month; others are considering following suit. Samson Projects co-owner Camilo Alvarez says he contemplated going, too, because he thinks landlord GTI Properties is unresponsive to his needs, and dust from nearby construction is becoming unmanageable. But he’s decided to stay put for now. “We helped build this neighborhood, and I don’t want to do something that will take a more drastic turn,” he says.

GTI claims this is just normal business turnover, and it may be right: Howard Yezerski Gallery, a Newbury Street fixture, is moving to 450 Harrison in October. Where GTI sees growth, though, Allston Skirt co-owner Beth Kantrowitz sees loss of character. “It’s becoming more upscale,” she says. “It’s harder now for small galleries.”