When Arsalan Pourmand, an aspiring architect, turned his San Francisco-based cold-brew company into a specialty coffee shop based in Farmingdale, New York, last February, he had barely $70 in his bank account. Eleven months later, the urban-industrial shop’s transformative atmosphere attracts a loyal and diverse customer base.

Once the grounds of a Chinese-Italian gang affair, the storefronts and doors of Bowery are crammed together in a wall of reds and greens. Jerry Wong first turns toward a storefront. He buys grapes, greets the grocer as he weighs…