Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

Downtown Brooklyn will soon get a thoroughly modern Macy’s. The department store and commercial real estate firm Tishman Speyer announced a $270,000,000 deal Wednesday that will let Macy’s downsize, remodel and take cash out of its antiquated real estate holdings downtown.

Thankfully, the historic building at 422 Fulton Street will not be sporting a giant condo tower on its roof anytime soon. And Macy’s will continue to own and operate the first four floors and the lower level as a store.


Brooklyn Independent Media, the 24/7 TV channel created at the BRIC House in Fort Greene, just launched First Brooklyn, Then The World — a new show all about Brooklyn’s trajectory from local borough to global brand.

“BRIC, which is the parent organization behind Brooklyn Independent Media, has been an organization at the forefront of Brooklyn trends for a long time now,” First Brooklyn producer Corinne Colgan told Brownstoner. “We wanted to create a show that highlights just how much culture — from food to fashion to design and beyond — began right here in our backyard.”

The debut episode follows host Aaron Watkins — a frequent presenter on BK Live— as he traverses Fulton Mall, talks with fashion icon April Walker at Cammareri Cafe, learns about the story behind Brooklyn Industries from merchandiser Catie Ally, interviews fashionable folks on the street, and hunts for style finds at Unique Thrift with Dave Morley.


New details have emerged on the conversion of the former Offerman department store building into loft apartments on Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn. The 123-year-old landmark at 505 Fulton will house 120 luxury lofts with a roof deck and a “magnificent atrium,” developers Jody and Al Laboz told Brooklyn Paper. And T.J. Maxx is still going to occupy the ground floor retail, as we’ve known since early 2012. The apartments will be condos, according to a condo application filed in December.

Interior demolition began in the Romanesque revival building two and a half years ago, and the interior was in bad shape. The Laboz brothers have been promising to convert the building since 2005, but we have no idea why it’s taken so long. Since then, they’ve finished renovating the building next door and brought in clothing retailer H&M, along with a few other mainstream stores along Fulton Mall.

Mall Is Loft: Luxury Apartments Coming to Fulton [Brooklyn Paper]
Offerman Building Coverage [Brownstoner]


Swarovski opened its tenth retail boutique in the city on Fulton Mall on September 26; the storefront at 490 Fulton sells collectibles and jewelry, including $1,000 crystal necklaces. Brooklyn Daily Eagle called it “another step in the upscaling” of Fulton Mall, but Swarovski’s highly reflective store is a different level of retail than the other new chain stores on the block — H&M, the Gap Factory Store, Armani Exchange, and the soon-to-open American Eagle. However, this is not Swarovski’s first store in Brooklyn. They already have a boutique in the Kings Plaza Mall in Marine Park.

Bring on the Bling! Swarovski Opens at Fulton Mall [Brooklyn Daily Eagle] GMAP


Hey hey, there’s finally word on the biz that will be the anchor tenant for the first phase of City Point in Downtown Brooklyn: According to an article in the Journal, news that Century 21 is taking space in the new building is going to be announced today. The retailer doesn’t intend to open in the location until fall of 2015, but the story notes that it is set to be twice as big as its Upper West Side location. The article also says that the agreement cements City Point’s developers’ ability to start moving forward on the second phase of the project this summer, “675,000 square feet of retail and commercial space and 690 new market-rate and ‘affordable’ apartment units at Dekalb and Flatbush avenues,” and perhaps puts some wind at the back of the third phase, which is slated to be the tallest residential tower in Brooklyn. The transformation we’re witnessing of the Fulton Mall—and the larger Downtown area—is nothing shy of historic for Brooklyn. Here’s the article’s quote from Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, on the news: “Fulton Mall…was always the place where Brooklynites came to shop and bump up against each other. …Century 21 is a discount department store for Brooklynites who want to be able to shop at discount prices.” UPDATE: Tom Montvel-Cohen, a spokesman for the developers, has this to say: “[Century 21] is not going to take up all of phase one…it will be in both phases…we expect to be announcing exciting retail tenancies that will be opening in 2012 in phase one.”
Dressing Up Fulton Mall With Style [Wall Street Journal]


While the exterior of 490 Fulton Street has been looking just about complete for a few months now, the building that (presumably) lost out on a big lease when its intended anchor tenant, Filene’s Basement/Sym’s, filed for bankruptcy protection in November, the multi-level interior is still being primed. Obviously the huge space offers a lot of possibilities for big retailers on the Fulton Mall. (On that note, still no word on what’s going into City Point Phase 1, across the street, though the announcement must be coming soon.) An Express is the only tenant at 490 Fulton that remains on the books, as far as we know, and they’re supposed to open sometime in the spring.
490 Fulton Facade Reaches Completion [Brownstoner] GMAP


Rumors about a TJ Maxx opening on the Fulton Mall have been swirling around for some time now, and today the Eagle confirms that the retailer is indeed coming to 505 Fulton Street. The property in question is the landmark Offerman Building, which Downtown mega-landlord Al Laboz is renovating and which will have an H&M in an addition that’s currently being built out. (We’d call this the second big tidbit about retail on the mall this week, but we’ve been told yesterday’s buzz about Target signing on for space at CityPoint isn’t true.) Laboz tells the Eagle that the TJ Maxx store will stretch over 23,000 feet on the building’s lower level. The upper floors of the Offerman Building are being converted into residential space.
TJ Maxx Store Coming to Fulton Mall [Eagle]
Offerman rendering via GreenbergFarrow


The Observer has a long piece looking at the much-ballyhooed changes to the Fulton Mall that examines whether the new tenants coming to the retail strip—”middlebrow retailers who appeal to both the design and price conscious,” like H&M—will attract “everyone from the blacks who have dominated the mall since it fell into decline decades ago to the white bohemians and businessmen.” The piece is skeptical about whether the new stores and eateries will lure white “brownstone babies”:

“Sure, there is Shake Shack, but besides that, literally and figuratively, the new eateries consist of a barbecue place from Vegas, a candy store called Sugar and Plumm, and a Paneras? These are precisely the kinds of establishments people moved to New York, and now Brooklyn, since they have colonized so much of Manhattan, to get away from. They are fleeing middle American malls, not craving them.”

As is often noted about the Fulton Mall, the street is very much a commercial success as is: The third busiest in the city after Fifth Avenue and Times Square, and the rents are much higher than on Atlantic Avenue or Smith Street.
Will Brooklyn Flock to Fulton Street’s New Chain Stores? [NY Observer]
Photo by onesevenone


Glass was recently installed in three of the big projects under construction on the Fulton Mall. Above, the first City Point building at One Dekalb Avenue. The retail space is supposed to be finished in the spring, but the developers have yet to announce whether an anchor tenant has signed on. On the jump, photos of how 490 Fulton and the Shake Shack building are looking nowadays.