Here Comes the Major Retail Downtown Brooklyn's Been Missing
When it opens in March 2016, City Point will provide Downtown Brooklyn with a neighborhood retail anchor to serve the flood of residential development. Here’s an inside-out look at the 1.8M SF shopping center.
We snapped Acadia Realty Trust COO Chris Conlon, whose company is developing City Point with Washington Square Partners, on the third floor. The massive floor plate behind him is part of Century 21’s 135k SF. It’ll also share the fourth floor with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s restaurant, and Alamo’s theaters will take up the fifth floor. A major national retailer has signed a lease for the second floor and will announce plans this month. “We didn’t make Fulton Street a retail corridor,” Chris says, but this will be the area's first option with wide column spans, high ceilings (29 feet), and off-street loading (off Fleet Street). The anchors will receive their space in Q1.
Century 21 also will occupy most of this three-story structure at Fulton and Albee Square West (formerly Gold Street) that the JV built three years ago (to meet a deadline for groundbreaking that was a condition of developing the City-owned land). Armani Exchange’s temporary store here will close in January after 18 months. It’s performed well, Chris says, but whether the retailer will lease elsewhere in City Point depends on Giorgio Armani’s revamp of the company. Meanwhile, the space will become Century 21’s and act as one of three front doors for the shopping enter, Chris says.
Heading north from Fulton down Albee Square West, we come to the second front door. The break in the wall in the center of our picture will take visitors to escalators and elevators that lead to the anchor tenants above street level (which already claim 65%) and to the restaurants and 26k SF food hall below grade. This entrance also will reveal a new enclosed pedestrian walkway to be called Prince Street. It’ll connect to the third front door on Flatbush and create extra frontage for retailers. (BFC Partners’ 250-unit affordable housing tower rising on top of Acadia and Washington Square Partners’ project has topped out.)
We also ran into Washington Square Partners head Paul Travis and snapped him with a rendering of the finished product. Chris tells us Flatbush on the east side of City Point may be Brooklyn’s highway, but loads of residential development west of the project like Avalon Willoughby Square and Stahl’s 388 Bridge St, not to mention Forest City Ratner's MetroTech Center office complex, will produce a lot of shoppers.
We snapped City Point’s northwest corner from Albee Square West and Willoughby. Across Albee, a one-acre park in the works will immensely increase the visibility of the project's north side. To take advantage of all those new luxury residents' and park go-ers' eyeballs, the developers will put up a massive LED screen (a la Times Square) to the right of the white support column. (It’s been reported that Extell is putting up Brooklyn’s tallest building behind the fencing on the left.)
The blue truck above marks the spot of the Flatbush entrance to the Prince Street walkway, which cuts diagonally through City Point. Shoppers can access ground-floor retail here, walk along the passageway for elevators and escalators to the anchor tenants, or head downstairs to the food hall, which also will be accessible from a Dekalb subway entrance the JV is rebuilding. (Brodsky Org’s 400-unit market-rate resi tower, also rising above the retail, is halfway up.)
Washington Square Partners’ Aron Gooblar and Acadia’s Tim Collier are working with Ripco’s Jason Pennington to lease the ground floor and lower level spots. The food hall will feature 40 vendors, two restaurants, another space that can combine with a restaurant or store above on Prince Street, and 20k SF of retail that'll combine with 10k SF of ground-floor retail next to that big LED sign.
To wrap up our tour: Is this scene at Flatbush and Willoughby not the most Brooklyn thing that has ever happened?