Brooklyn Macy’s Could Become Apartments

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Macy’s is contemplating selling its downtown Brooklyn store and building another nearby, according to a report in Women’s Wear Daily reblogged by Racked. Alternatively, the store could “redevelop the existing structure with apartment units on higher levels and a shrunken version of the department stores on the first few levels, á la the forthcoming Nordstrom,” as Racked put it.

Not long ago, the department store said it was evaluating what to do with the store, often criticized for being lackluster, now that downtown is gentrifying and attracting new retailers. Macy’s could realize $300,000,000 from a sale, estimated WWD. It owns a nearby parking lot and could build a new store there.

The store at 422 Fulton Street was built in 1930 in the Art Deco style. The building actually combines three different structures, so “floor and ceiling heights are not uniform throughout,” said Racked. It might be easier  and cheaper to build new rather than renovate, sources speculated to WWD. Macy’s declined to comment to WWD.

What do you think Macy’s should do with the store?

Macy’s Rethinking Brooklyn Unit’s Future [WWD] GMAP
Is Macy’s Saying Goodbye to Its Downtown Brooklyn Flagship? [Racked]
Building of the Day: 422 Fulton Street [Brownstoner]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

18 Comment

  • God, just close it already. It’s a nightmare.

  • Wow. A large scale residential (re)development on Fulton St would be the biggest change yet to the mall.

  • Nooooooo! Yes, service can be a bear there but it has improved. And I LOVE Macy’s for good deals on decent quality housewares and clothing. We NEED Macy’s where it is! And a full-service Macy’s, not the mini-version like they have in Hampton Bays.

  • This is the best idea I have heard in a long time. This store is a HELLHOLE. Some quality housing with a smaller store (NOT Macy’s) on the lower level would be great for the hood — and the nearby Fulton Mall (which should be torn down, in my opinion).

  • bhinsider – time on the train is not the only consideration. I am legally blind and find the Herald Square store totally and completely overwhelming. And when I have only an hour or so and need to pick something up or make a return, I can do that at the Fulton Street location without having to dodge huge packs of tourists. Wouldn’t be able to do so at the Herald Square store – that would be a project requiring at least half a day.

    We do need Macy’s here.

  • Wow…1st the Jewish Hospital conversion, which, when I 1st heard about it, told my Mom that someone was possibly enjoying their morning coffee where she had her hysterectomy.

    Now good ol’ A&S…I hope they keep those old stomach dropping (but beautiful)elevators – that is, if they haven’t been replaced already. And that old, narrow, wooden escalator, which went from the 1st floor to to the “Tall Girl’s Shop”. My sister & I found the on/off switch, & delighted in stopping & starting it, befuddling the passengers.

    No, no one ever got hurt, but I’m sure today – what with surveillance & probably a key or electronically activated switch – no such innocent fun could be had, not to mention lawsuits, etc, etc….

    But in all seriousness, I don’t think apartments would be such a bad idea. For me, personally, a bit too congested, but to others it probably wouldn’t bother them one bit.

  • Yes, the service and selection are Godawful, but that’s an issue that management could address if they thought it would be worth it. And this is the time at which it’s worth it. Brooklyn has grown tremendously and will continue to do so. There’s no reason a decently run Macy’s won’t be able to turn a good buck either in that location, or in a nearby location OF SIMILAR SIZE.

    Brooklyn is big enough for it’s own Macy’s, as are Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island. Kings Plaza is not Downtown Brooklyn. A BETTER Macy’s could contribute greatly to the Fulton St vibe and draw residents, tourists and workers who would support the surrounding stores as well.

    I’m sorry if there’s a run on old buildings in upcoming neighborhoods that can be converted into luxury housing. But, I think that a smaller Macy’s, or none at all, could be an economical hit for Downtown Brooklyn, but it would definitely be a cultural hit that cannot be offset by a Parkchester sized Macy’s, a store that draws people off of Fulton St, or luxury housing.

  • Close the store. It’s a nightmare. 34 street is close by. Good grief listen to yourselves. The entire downtown Brooklyn is being stripped away from the very people who put up with all the shit, crime and dollar stores. The surrounding community can no longer shop there, and now Macy’s will disappear.

    Close Macy’s? what about all those folks who will be out of jobs AND unable to afford to live in the proposed apartments. Here’s a crazy idea: Macy’s closes. our esteemed Mayor, politicians and developers give a rat’s ass and build apartments for working class families so they can live in peace in the boro that is no longer friendly to them.

  • In spite of Macy’s being a “hellhole,” it’s a very profitable Stygian crater. Federated stores puts the bare minimum of merchandise in there, and doesn’t seem to give a flying fahootie about customer service, trained employees or even picking stuff up off the floor. In spite of that, the place coins money. Obviously there is a need for a classic mid-range department store in downtown Brooklyn. We shoudn’t have to go to 34th Street, or anywhere else. There is a fabulous downtown full of superior store buildings right there between Boerum and Flatbush.

    .

    I’ve always thought that if the (mostly minority) shoppers who put up with Macy’s crap for all of these years had staged organized protests years ago, things might not have gotten this bad. But management figures (correctly) they’ll keep buying no matter how awful the shopping experience is, so why bother? I really hate that laziness and contempt for customers. I do not think they should make apartments upstairs. What they need to do is to take that gem of a store, put some real money into making it even better than the flagship store.

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    When this was A&S, it was one of the most famous department stores in the country. It’s got great historical and architectural provenance, and most of it’s still intact. They could do so much with this store if they wanted to. They also need new management, or old management needs a kick in the pants. They’ve gotten very complacent and lazy, and allowed the place to sink into a substandard mess. There really is no excuse for it, as making cleanliness, order and good service does not involve a dime of money, it just takes a certain mindset, tough but fair management, as well as some pride in doing one’s job well. That seems to be some archaic concept now, but really needs to be revived. This Macy’s should be the jewel of Fulton St.

  • Oh God – Montrose Morris – I love you so much – you hit the head on the nail!

    As an old-timer, these stores were gems, A&S, Martins……come on Macy’s – fix the store – no need for apartments!

  • When I moved to Fort Greene in 1979, Abraham & Strauss was a lovely store. Wonderful staff & stock in the midst of a virtually bankrupt New York City and of course its dependent Brooklyn.
    There was also Gage & Tolner a wonderful white table cloth full service restaurant on Fulton St and Mays department stores as well as many other great stores along Fulton St and the side streets.
    30 + years later with more than 30,000 additional employees ( than in the late 70′s early 80′s) in the immediate area, why these businesses cannot rise to the occasion I do not know other than as others have stated a complete lack of respect for Brooklyn. I have heard upper management at Macy’s refer to it as the Ghetto store. Macy’s made no effort when they opened for brief period a store in the Atlantic Centre, the store at Kings Plaza is an other disaster.
    The store should not be sold out to yet more residential development, it is a downtown business district and there is a need for quality retail.
    Macy’s obviously cannot do it, but I am sure another retailer could. The City should not allow it to be re-zoned for a Macy’s sell out.

    • They only opened the store in Atlantic Center because Macys/Federated Department Stores was stuck with the lease when they shut down Sterns. It was never meant to be a real store.

  • I just don’t think Macy’s–or any other large department store–is a viable option anymore. Even the Macy’s in Herald Square is pretty awful, in my opinion. But I certainly think other retail is an option, at least on lower floors. I think upper floors should be offices and/or apartments.

    I’d much rather see this turned into apartments than, say, have that giant awful new residential building built across the street from BAM.

  • This is terrible news. Just revamp the bloody place. Don’t relocate further down! Do NOT have the building replaced with apartments!! Not good.

  • I love that store. So much less of a nightmare than Herald Square. But sure, more “luxury”–by which I mean 800 square feet 2 bedrooms with 2 bathrooms and at least the kitchen island trend is over–apartments would be fantastic on Fulton Street. You know what else I think we really need there? Another bank branch. Citi or Chase would be best. And then… maybe? Could we get a J Crew store? Maybe a Container Store too? I know I could shop from a catalog or go to Chelsea, but sometimes it’s so nice to be local.

  • It’s a shame that Macy’s destroyed A&S, which IMO was always much better than the Macy’s flagship store, but they should be capable of running a high quality store in Brooklyn. The miserable suburban Macy’s at Kings Plaza is depressing and even worse than the Fulton Street store. Brooklyn deserves better.