Developer Moving Quickly to Finish Up Prime ‘Burg Retail Ahead of L Train Shutdown

The site under construction in January. Photo by Cate Corcoran


As the L train shutdown looms, developer Thor Equities has been moving quickly to build on one of the most prime retail spots in Brooklyn.

It’s been about a year since the sale of the former Salvation Army at 176 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg finally went through, and now the two-story retail building that will replace it is close to done.

The building has topped out, the windows are in, and there’s a canopy over the entrance. The building is expected to wrap in December, Thor Equities spokesman Josh Greenwald told Brownstoner.

The site after the store was demolished. Photo by Steve Sherman

The site after the store was demolished. Photo by Steve Sherman

The brick is red rather than brown, but otherwise the building looks just like the rendering. The space is still available, according to the listing on developer Thor Equities’ website.

The 14,500-square-foot retail spot includes a lower level and a 2,500-square-foot rooftop terrace. Designers Fradkin & McAlpin Architects also designed the popular Brooklyn Brewery just a few blocks away. The property’s new address will be 180 Bedford Avenue.

The $30 million sale closed in October of 2016. The Salvation Army demolished its store in 2013, initially with the intention of rebuilding it as a thrift store, but ultimately decided to take advantage of the area’s quickly rising property values.

Rendering by

Rendering by Fradkin & McAlpin Architects

The location is one of the most prime in the borough, a kind of Brooklyn retail ground zero, sitting as it does on the corner of North 7th and Bedford across from the main subway stop in Williamsburg, one of the borough’s hottest retail corridors that commands some of Brooklyn’s highest retail rents.

A total of 9.9 million people pass through the stop annually, according to Thor. Of course, that flow will famously be interrupted for 15 months starting in April 2019 when the L train shuts down for repairs.

The looming L train shutdown wasn’t a factor in motivating Thor to get this built as quickly as possible, said Greenwald.

“Once we moved forward [with the sale] we wanted to do it as quickly as we could,” he said. “Once a building is built out it’s easy for tenants to see what they could do with it rather than see it on a piece of paper. I don’t think [the L train shutdown] played into it. We saw there was a lot of interest in the building and we wanted to move forward and have it done as soon as we could so we could lease it as soon as possible,” he said, noting the shutdown is temporary.

The space could be leased by one tenant or divided for several. “Hopefully we’ll have something to announce soon,” he added.

The store in 2012. Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

The Salvation Army store in 2012. Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

Brooklyn’s first Apple store, its second Whole Foods, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s, and the William Vale hotel all recently opened in the area.

Rising property values have led the Salvation Army to close stores throughout the borough. Its Clinton Hill store at 22 Quincy Street, designed by noted 19th-century architect Francis Kimball, is still open but is also for sale.

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