The Real Deal New York

The top 10 biggest Brooklyn retail leases of 2015

While 2014 was full of large deals, the borough saw no new 100K-plus sf leases this time

December 30, 2015 02:41PM
By Rich Bockmann

Brooklyn's largest retail leases in 2015 (click to expand)

Brooklyn’s largest retail leases in 2015 (click to expand)

The Brooklyn retail market had a relatively quiet 2015 when it comes to king-sized leases.

Compared to 2014 — when Century 21 and Bed Bath & Beyond both inked deals for more than 100,000 square foot – the borough’s landlords didn’t sign any new tenants this year to leases exceeding the six-figure square-foot mark.

It might be telling that the biggest lease this year was the 74,000-square-foot Wegmans food store slated for the Admiral’s Row building at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

“I guess the one thing that strikes me [this year] is food and home,” said Paul Travis, managing partner at Washington Square Partners, which is co-developing the retail portion of the City Point megaproject in Downtown Brooklyn with Acadia Realty Trust.

“When you look at the list from last year, apparel would’ve been dominant on the list. It’s not as dominant this year,” Travis added. “Probably the biggest gap in the Downtown Brooklyn market is the lack of food options and home-furnishing stores.”

In fact, food stores inked half of the deals that made the top 10 retail leases in Brooklyn this year. And while Wegmans was the largest of the bunch, Travis said he expects that next year will see some larger new leases as developers begin to bring bigger spaces to market again.

“I think we’ll see a lot more in 2016 again,” he said. “The cycle will come back.”

 Below, The Real Deal tallied up the 10 largest new retail leases in Brooklyn in 2015 in terms of square footage, based on TRD data, sources and news reports.


1) Wegmans, 74,000 square feet
Brooklyn Navy Yard
Landlord: Steiner NYC

A rendering of the Admiral's Row redevelopment at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (credit: Beyer Blinder Belle)

A rendering of the Admiral’s Row redevelopment at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (credit: Beyer Blinder Belle)

With variety on par with Whole Foods but prices similar to Trader Joe’s, Wegmans is a fan favorite – if you can find one.

The family-owned, Rochester-based company has about 85 stores in New England and the mid-Atlantic region, though the five boroughs are lacking, Wegmans-wise.

That’s all set to change after the popular chain inked a deal to open a 74,000-square-foot store at Steiner NYC’s redevelopment of Admiral’s Row at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The Navy Yard’s board chose the bid from Steiner and Wegmans over three other proposals because of the store’s affordable prices, as well as its commitment to create 200 full-time jobs and 600 other jobs.

The development is scheduled to open sometime in 2017.


2) Forever 21, 40,000 square feet
490 Fulton Street, Downtown Brooklyn
Landlord: Crown Acquisitions

Stanley Chera

Stanley Chera and 490 Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn

Fast-fashion staple Forever 21 will make its triumphant return to Downtown Brooklyn after leasing 40,000 square feet on one of the borough’s busiest shopping strips.

Forever 21 signed the deal at Crown Acquisition’s 490 Fulton Street at the corner of Bond Street. The asking rents were reportedly $325 per square foot on the ground floor and $55 per square foot on the lower level.

The clothing store plans to open an even lower-priced F21 Red outlet store at the location, which is familiar territory for the retailer. It previously had a store across the street at 1 Dekalb Avenue, which it vacated in 2007 to make way for the development of the 1.8 million square foot, mixed-use City Point complex.


3) Fairway Market, 40,000 square feet
2181-2195 Ralph Avenue, Bergen Beach
Landlord: Howard Mintz and Susan Mintz-Bello

From left: The Georgetown Shopping Center in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn and a Fairway Market

From left: The Georgetown Shopping Center in Bergen Beach, Brooklyn and a Fairway Market

Manhattan-favorite Fairway Market – known for its exotic food options – is planning to open a second location in Brooklyn after inking a deal to open a 40,000 square-foot store in Bergen Beach.

Fairway will replace a Wegmans food store at the Georgetown Shopping Center, its second in the borough after reopening its Red Hook store in 2013 following Hurricane Sandy.

Not long after inking the deal, brother-and-sister landlords Howard Mintz and Susan Mintz-Bello bought their former partner Rochelle Pazer out of her share of the 140,000-square-foot strip mall for $32 million.


4) Dekalb Market Hall, 30,000 square feet
City Point, Downtown Brooklyn
Landlord: Acadia Realty Trust and Washington Square Partners

Rendering of Dekalb Market Hall at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn

Rendering of Dekalb Market Hall at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn

The 30,000-square-foot Dekalb Market Hall will be on familiar turf when it opens up at City Point next year.

The famed Brooklyn market had closed down in 2012 to make way for the megadevelopment, about a block away. When it reopens, it will come back with a bang, trading in the shipping containers it formerly operated out of for spaces for about 40 vendors including Katz’s Delicatessen, Ample Hills Creamery and No. 6 Coffee.

The popular shopping strip has the highest retail rents in all of Kings County, according to CPEX Real Estate, with prices pushing $250 per square foot or more.

The market will join other big retail tenants signed in 2014 such as Century 21, Target and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.


5) Saks Off Fifth, 30,000 square feet
Liberty View Industrial Plaza, Sunset Park
Landlord: Salmar Properties 

Liberty View Industrial Park

Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Sunset Park

Riding the wave of brands like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s opening discount-priced outlet stores, Saks Fifth Avenue reached into Brooklyn with its Off Fifth brand with a 30,000-square-foot lease in Sunset Park.

The Saks outlet inked the deal at Liberty View Industrial Plaza, the long-vacant, 1.2 million-square-foot complex just north of Industry City that Salmar Properties bought from the New York City Economic Development Corporation in 2011 for $9.4 million.

The retailer will span 30,000 square feet on the ground floor of the eight-story building at 850 Third Avenue, where Bed Bath & Beyond signed a lease for 120,000 square feet on the second floor in 2014. The asking rent for the Saks deal was reportedly more than $40 per square foot.


6) Nike, 20,000 square feet
2236 Nostrand Avenue, Flatbush
Landlord: Ira Russack

The Nike store at 2236 Nostrand Avenue

The Nike store at 2236 Nostrand Avenue in Flatbush (credit: Freshness Mag)

For its first store in Brooklyn, Nike signed a lease for a 20,000-square-foot Nike Community Store, which focuses on creating jobs and giving back to the local community.

The shop reportedly features photos of athletes from Nike retail stores in the area shot by Brooklyn photographer Anthony Blasko, as well as borough-specific products.


7) Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, 20,000 square feet
29 Jay Street, Dumbo
Landlord: Peter Forman


One of the country’s most celebrated ballerinas traded in a relatively tiny studio in Tribeca for a massive theater in Dumbo.

The Gelsey Kirkland Academy, founded in 2010 by the namesake dancer and choreographer husband Michael Chernov, left its 5,600-square-foot Tribeca studio in June for 20,000 square feet at 29 Jay Street in Dumbo, formerly home to the St. Ann’s Warehouse theater venue, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Asking rents for the property were between $50 and $100 per square foot, according to CoStar.


8) Trader Joe’s, 18,000 square feet
City Point, Downtown Brooklyn
Landlord: Acadia Realty Trust and Washington Square Partners

Trade Joe's at City Point

Trade Joe’s at City Point

Chalk up another big Brooklyn retail lease for City Point. This time it’s the Hawaii-themed food store Trader Joe’s, which inked a deal for 18,000 square feet at the Downtown Brooklyn shopping center.

The store will open on the concourse level near the DeKalb Market Hall.


9) Trader Joe’s, 18,000 square feet
206 Kent Avenue, Williamsburg
Landlord: Alliance Private Capital

From left: Trader Joe's in Union Square and 206 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg

From left: Trader Joe’s in Union Square and 206 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg

This is no clerical error. Trader Joe’s actually signed two separate leases for 18,000 square feet in Brooklyn this year. This one is in Williamsburg, where landlord Alliance Private Capital bought the vacant lot at 206 Kent Avenue for $18 million in early 2013 and plans to build a 45,000-square-foot, mixed-use building at the site.

Asking rents ranged from $50 to $150 per square foot, according to online listings.


10) Blink Fitness, 16,700 square feet
227 Fourth Avenue, Park Slope
Landlord: Greystone & Co.

The Brooklyn Lyceum

The Brooklyn Lyceum

After dropping plans to convert Park Slope’s Brooklyn Lyceum to condominiums, developer Greystone & Co. signed a deal with Blink Fitness to take the entire 16,700-square-foot space for 15 years.

Grestone purchased the building at a foreclosure auction for $7.6 million and transferred 23,000 square feet of air rights to the lot next door, where it plans to construct a 12-story apartment building.

The asking rent was just under $42 per square foot, according to CoStar.