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Downtown Brooklyn’s Fulton Street Takes Top Spot As Borough’s New Retail King

All change in Brooklyn with Williamsburg losing ground to other neighborhoods as retail follows construction boom.

By Jeff Vasishta April 6, 2017
Downtown Brooklyn. Image courtesy of Explore Brooklyn.

There’s a new leader in Brooklyn’s league tables of priciest retail neighborhoods. Down goes Williamsburg’s trendy Bedford Avenue and up goes Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn to pole position, according to the Real Estate Board of New York’s annual Brooklyn Retail Report.

The reason for the change is because of the construction frenzy occurring in downtown Brooklyn around the much hyped upscale mall, City Point, attracting big name retailers to the area. Currently, a Target, a Century 21, and an Alamo Draft House Cinema are all in the neighborhood which stretches from Boerum Place to Flatbush Avenue, with a Trader Joe’s set to follow later this year.

Related: Former Gowanus ASCPCA HQ Gets Retail Make-Over

The current rent per square foot for a spot on the downtown strip currents runs at $326 whereas prices on Bedford Ave Bedford Ave have fluctuated. The average asking rent has fallen 18 percent since this time last year to $296 per square foot. Reasons could be linked to the impending L Train shut down or the area being generally over hyped, almost a cliché of itself, which may have influenced retailers to search for the next burgeoning neighborhood. Park Slope’s uptick (35 percent) between Union and Ninth Streets to $129 per square foot is due to the limited inventory while Greenpoint’s (Franklin Street between Meserole Avenue and Commercial Street) thundering increase of 41 percent, from $63 per square foot to $89 per square foot is due in part to the rampant construction there.

Plans for the redevelopment of downtown Brooklyn downtown hub has been in the works since it was rezoned in 2004. Undoubtedly, the Barclays Arena and adjacent Atlantic Terminal Mall ignited the catalyst but the area had unattractive dead zones filled with small fast food joints and characterless old office buildings, such as the strip between BAM and Fulton Street. City Point and the continued construction around there is set to finally change the retail complexion of the neighborhood permanently.

Related: East Williamsburg Gets A New Office, Retail And Restaurant Complex

City Point’s marquee tenant, discount clothier Century 21, a New York metro institution (there are now 11 stores in the region) opened their premises in the mall in early October. During a ribbon cutting ceremony in the four-story-high, 140,000-square-foot emporium at 445 Albee Square West, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said:

“Now Brooklyn is the hot place to be anywhere in the world. Twelve or 13 years ago there was a vision to create a new Downtown Brooklyn, even though no one thought it was going to happen. But we’re living proof today that it did.”

Conscious that betting big on retail in the age of Amazon can be a risky endeavor, part of City Point’s attraction is the emphasis on food, often local and hard to find elsewhere.

“We really tried to link this project with the retail and food explosion that’s been happening in the neighborhoods around Downtown Brooklyn for many years,” said Paul Travis, President of developer, Washington Square Partners.

”Not wanting to go with a national brand we wanted something that was unique and something unique and artisanal and truly Brooklyn,” added Larry Mentzer, Chief Revenue Officer for Century 21.

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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