More Big Box Shops for Red Hook

Joining Fairway and IKEA in Red Hook will be BJ’s Wholesale Club, says the Brooklyn Paper. Their new home will be the site of the former Revere Sugar Factory on Beard Street, currently used as an IKEA parking lot. The developer, Thor Equities, offered this statement: “Thor is committed to ensuring that whichever organization leases this property, it will fully augment the historic revitalization occurring today in Red Hook.” They haven’t admitted that BJ’s is the new tenant, but an insider at the Borough President’s office let the news slip. The Beep assured the potential use of the site would be subject to a public review. “While welcoming major retailers to our borough could bring economic vitality and much-needed jobs to previously underserved and underutilized areas, we must also be sure to ‘grow smart’ and preserve a neighborhood’s character, he said. This wouldn’t be Kings County’s first BJ’s. There’s another near Starrett CIty.
BJ’s on Tap for Red Hookers [Brooklyn Paper]
What’s Left at Revere Sugar. Photo by Lock.

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  • Given the picture anything would be an improvement. Personally I was one of the naysayers who said that traffic would be a nightmare for Ikea. I was wrong. I go there occassionally and the traffic has not been that bad. I also spoke with some area merchants and residents. Ikea has done a good job of getting the traffic away from Van Brundt. I still drive down on Saturday for lunch at Hope and Anchor and have no problems…so far. Would I like to see something else…like a park sure but the City doesn’t have the money. This site has been vacant for years and the choice is then between housing, a box store and some industrial use. No one seems to want it for an industrial use, we need the jobs and too much housing is already going up on the waterfront….so before you attack the plan, any better ideas…At least Joe Sitt is willing to put his money where his mouth is…are you?

  • could you say whom you mean by “you?”

  • It’s a predictive you for the posters to follow.

  • “BJs on Tap for Red Hookers” is the funniest headline I have seen in a long time.

  • Isn’t BJ’s a Walmart company?

  • I didn’t think there were any communist hookers left and you are right that IS funny….

    BTW “you” is any one that thinks this is a bad plan….

  • I could be wrong, but I think BJ’s and Costco are connected. I know Sam’s Club and WalMart are the same company, being named for Sam Walton, founder of WalMart.

  • east river- I believe Sam’s Club is a division of Walmart, not BJ’s.

  • Sam’s is a WalMart owned club chain, BJ’s is unrelated to either, all are fiercely competetive with the other (though overlap in members is small, ~11%).

    BJ’s is a good idea for the rest of us who dont have to live in Red Hook. The place seemed to have potential, but not if it starts becoming a home for big box stores.

  • shit there is cheap.

    really cheap

    and they have everything.

  • do you buy a lot of dung then santa? One would think your reindeer produce enough.

  • Careful ditto, you’re going to end up with coal in your stockings this Christmas. I can’t believe I showed up here late and didn’t get to join the headline fun…there were some great lines above.

  • There are definitely better uses for a waterfront space than a box store. I’ve said it before, I think Sitt should partner with Brooklyn Brewery, who really need a space that can function as both plant and retail. There’s enough room on the old Revere site that they could have the brewery and they could have a bar and partner with a restaurant. Sitt loves to play up that he’s a Brooklyn boy and that he hast he borough’s best interest in mind, but then why bring us this generic strip mall vision? And why not work with local businesses?

  • BJ’s is like Costco, but with a much wider selection. Where Costco might have a dozen kinds of breakfast cereal, BJ’s will have fifty.

    This is great for consumers and local people looking for work. I just hope the unions and grocery store owners don’t stop this one the way they did the one in the South Bronx.

  • BJ’s is fantastic. I shop at the J.C. one all the time. Problem is it’s going to hurt the mom and pop shops that are such important parts of the neighborhood fabric. I used to buy all my meat from the local butcher, now I just go for the special cuts. Same goes for the rest of the groceries and dry goods we buy.

    Do I feel a guilty taking the money out those specialty stores pockets? Of course, but if I don’t take advantage of BJ’s the money comes from my pocket. If money were no ocencern would I still shop there? Maybe, I dig having 2 months worth of paper towel at the ready!

    It will certainly impact the neighborhood. Same way the upper west side of Manhattan looks like a strip mall. Every other week my buddy (30 yr. resident) is reporting to me another small store closing. It’s sad.

    Oh yeah and that headline is PRICELESS! I almost spit my coffee.

  • Where do you live? Because most people I know in NYC hardly have the room to store an extra roll of toilet paper in their apartment!

  • Contrary to popular belief, stores like Costco and BJ’s don’t just sell gallon vats of mayo and 40 roll packs of paper towels. They also sell individual items and at a better price, thus their popularity in both cities and burbs.

  • But they also promote car culture. It isn’t realistic to think people who don’t own cars can take advantage of these big box stores.

  • bxgrl has that right, it isn’t realistic because we can’t – if you don’t own a car, and you don’t have storage space, then the big boxes are meaningless to you except that you feel that you are being even more ripped off or a sucker when you shop at the regular or small chain stores.

  • Maybe they’ll set up a BJ Shuttle. That’s one bus ride I’ll be happy to line up for!

  • Carol Gardens we have a house now but even before when we were in an apt. we along with two other friends would do a monthly ZipCar run over to it and then divvy up our loot.

  • biff, the shuttle vehicle apparently will be a hummer.

  • You can’t carry much home on a shuttle and it doesn’t leave you off by your door so bulky stuff, heavy stuff, basically items you can get real discounts with if you buy in bulk, you really can’t take advantage of. And yes there’s car service- but unless you live close by, it’s expensive.

  • This will be fought and will never be built. It is time to reclaim the urban nature of New York City. No more suburbanization! I don’t agree with the argument posited by smeyer418 that this use is better than the alternative.

    Large-scale retail outlets are permanently scarring the urban fabric of this city, by paving over the waterfront to put in parking lots and ugly warehouse retail buildings, destroying neighborhood retail, encouraging automobile use, and driving down wages and opportunity for middle and low-income New Yorkers. You can’t honestly pretend that jobs offered in large-scale retail outlets are good employment opportunities. Light-industrial uses are much better employment opportunities for those without college educations. By putting in a retail operation that has such vast advantages over local establishments, you drive out the entrepreneurs who start up new small business and give them the opportunity to actually own something, rather than work for a conglomerate.

    Ruin someone else’s city, please.

  • z, good one, but I prefer a Magic Bus!

    Thruppence and sixpence each day
    ‘Cause I drive my baby every way

  • “This will be fought and will never be built.”

    GWH, I would bet the farm that you’re wrong. I strongly agree with your views on suburbanization and everything else you said, but do you really believe this won’t happen? How did Ikea happen?

  • I’d like to pretend it won’t happen.

    But press like this, that supposes it is a done deal, does not help.

    Public Review process – maybe something can be done.

  • Ok, thanks for the response. I too am vehemently opposed to the mall-ification of NYC.

  • GWH: Maybe you could ask the people in the Red Hook projects who can and will probably fill these jobs (which I assume come with benefits) how they feel about these new big box stores coming in or were they not “The People” you are referring to with respect to being entreprenuial about owning something vs. working for a conglomorate? Corner Bodegas aside, you weren’t really speaking for the underprivileged people in Red HooK. It’s not like they are going to open some wine and cheese bar for you to patronize and make a killing on creating atmosphere for you. Maybe it’s just me, but if I was in there shoes and I had an opportunity to work for a large corporation with even a remote chace to move up one or two levels to supervisory positions vs. wiping farts of stools for some “Entreprenuer” paying me minimum wage with no bennies, guess what, I’ll take the Ikea job.

  • “Large-scale retail outlets are permanently scarring the urban fabric of this city”

    Right. And they have been ever since A.T. Stewart opened the world’s first department store at Broadway and Chambers Street over 160 years ago.

    If neighborhood retail could outlast A&S, Alexander’s, Gimbel’s, Korvette’s, Kresge’s, etc., etc., I really don’t think they need to worry about BJ’s.

    But I suspect you’re right that the organized labor bosses will be able to buy or bully enough council members to prevent this from happening.

  • Yes, large scale retail outlets are the answer to all our troubles. If only we could have a WalMart on every corner wedged between an Applebee’s and 7-Eleven. What a dream city this would be…

  • No, hiring all the underprivileged as nannies, mannies, and any other dirty jobs we don’t wish to do for minimum wage, not paying into SS, and not providing them bennies is the answer. It at least absolves us of that guilt we feel for not doing more.

  • Biff;

    No one said that they are a cure-all. However, given the fact that most of the Red Hook waterfront is currently a no-man’s land, and given that many poor and working-class folks in our city DO like places mike BJ’s (just go to the one in East NY on any given weekend to see proof of that) why can’t room be made for some of them? We live in a big city – why can’t there be room for all types of retail establishments, and let the poeple themselves decide which they prefer?

  • I don’t speak for anyone except myself. I’m frustrated that the spread of big-box continues to happen here, from a possible Costco on the Upper West Side to Target in East Harlem.

    I can only speak for the misguided focus on these type of low-wage jobs as support for projects that, in the long term, have negative effects on wages and opportunity in this city.

    Flatbushwacker: I think you can tell the difference between a department store that is woven into the fabric of the city and one that destroys it. We’re not talking about a department store with numerous entrances on several streets that harmonizes with its Midtown neighborhood. We’re talking about losing valuable waterfront property in Northern Brooklyn to be a parking lot and retail outlet. We let Ikea fill in a much needed dry dock to build a parking lot it doesn’t use. Jobs in ship repair are infinitely more valuable than those in retail (but enough about the jobs). I like the Fairway project because of its use of an old building, if it weren’t for the parking fields that surround it.

  • NY is losing midsized supermarkets left and right and its not because of demand its they can’t afford the rent. if they need to be replaced with large box stores so be it. they bring jobs(mostly union or high enough paying with benefits to keep the unions out). More jobs than a brewery and one hell of better paying ones than most restaurants. IKEA has been a “good” neighbor so far and has solved the delivery problem with a courier.

    The loss of the graving dock at the Todd New York Shipyards had to do with the fact that it was mostly not used and the space around it was in poor shape and environmentally a disaster.

    Maybe they could fit in both the Brewery and the store….now that would be nice wouldn’t it.

    Did any one know anyone who worked at Todd?

  • Protect yourselves, GWH and Biff, for daring to express such opinions. Oh wait….he only attacks my opinions :-)

  • I just can’t share your apathy, smeyer418, and say “so be it.” With all due respect, we just seem to value different things. You still “drive down on Saturdays.” I like to ride my bike around the streets and warehouses.

    I just cannot stomach turning Red Hook into a little suburban shopping center. A lot of what makes it so unbearable to me is aesthetic. I’m here because I value the urban lifestyle, something that does not include driving to big-box retail outlets. It means getting to know my neighborhood stores and the people who work there. It’s a romantic notion I have about the sense of urbanity and neighborhood that was idealized by Jane Jacobs. Every BJ’s or Costco or Target that is grafted onto New York destroys some of that.

    But I also don’t think that these stores are good for the city economically. They take the money that is spent here and ship it to their headquarters located in who knows where. They destroy opportunity for local merchants, take up space that could be used much more effectively for housing or for light-industrial uses or even artist spaces.

    Lastly, people don’t just need jobs, they need vocations, and BJ’s does not provide that.

  • The day BJ’s starts handing out employment applications, you know there will be a line around the block six hours ahead of time. And the same will happen when they open the doors to shoppers. This will reflect hundreds of individual decisions about where to seek work and where to go shopping. People don’t need to be told which jobs are beneath them. They can figure it out on their own.

    Nobody will force Biff or GWH to shop or work anywhere they don’t want to, but I’d prefer to let individuals make these decisions for themselves. The fact that the NYC Costco and Home Depot stores are the top performing locations in these companies suggests to me that there are plenty of New Yorkers who do value what they offer.

  • Flatbushwhacker;

    Well said!

  • Very good point, Flatbushwacker. BJ’s would not exist if people chose not to shop there. However, it also wouldn’t exist if it couldn’t count on a dispersed base of customers from a large area to drive into the neighborhood, fill up their trunks, and leave.

    Taking personal choice one step further, people can also choose to take place in the public review process and get the project stopped.

    Most likely, the thing will be built. Hopefully, though, we can save urban new york.

  • GWH, unfortunately with so many different needs competing it’s often hard for people to actually decide which are the right choices, for themselves or for the greater good.

    Maybe it’s me but the way I see it,we’ve been told for so long that it’s all about “me”, and for so many years the number crunchers and paper financiers have determined everything we can or can’t do that we really don’t think of the common good anymore. If its all about money, nothing else is important. Think about the implications when you need emergency surgery and you don’t have money.

  • GWH would try to limit people’s choices by stopping big-box stores from his self-admitted aesthetic enjoyment of this city. That’s pretty rich!

    A lot of working and middle class people shop at these places because it’s one of many small ways they can save up to pay the mortgage, college tuition, and a variety of other expenses. GWH, your romanticism is not more important than their reality.

    Lurker notes that it’s hard for many people to decide which choices are better than others. All the more reason why we should not allow a few people (GWH etc.) to prevent the many from exercising their free choice in retail outlets.

  • There is a BJ’s opening on Shore Parkway right off of the Belt Parkway near Bay Parkway. It is taking the the place of the school bus parking lot. This is also waterfront property but there was no resistance to that store opening. There must be a huge demand for these types of stores or else they wouldn’t stay in business.

  • I shop at Home Depot and when I can, at costco. I don’t have a car so it’s when a friend and I rent a zipcar. There is a huge demand for these types of stores but I still can’t but wonder if there is a better way to handle the way they interact with the community and with overall urban planning. I’m also a proponent of having my cake and eating it too- not always successfully.

    Yet I don’t quite see how having big box stores in areas that are difficult to reach makes sense when we are complaining about the traffic congestion, the environment, global warming and the price of gas. One the one hand it promotes the use of cars, while decrying that very thing. As my father would say, talking out of both sides of our mouths.

  • What will become of the brick building on that site?