Big-box retailers invading New York

By Michael Stoler | April 14, 2009 12:33PM

While Home Depot is closing stores in response to plunging sales amid the housing crisis, two wholesale chains are plowing ahead with New York openings, indicating an increased desire for bulk-buying warehouse clubs providing reasonably priced offerings to consumers.

A few weeks ago, Forest City Enterprises announced that Costco Wholesale will open its first Manhattan store later this year, taking over a 30-year lease from Home Depot for 110,000 square feet in East River Plaza. Forest City and Blumenfeld Development Group are developing the $480 million, 485,000-square-foot retail mall at 116th Street and the FDR Drive. The mall is slated for completion in the fall. Costco already has a presence in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.

Over the next few months at least two outlets of discounter BJ’s Wholesale Club outposts will open in locations previously leased to Home Depot.

In March, Acadia Realty Trust and long-term partner P/A Associates announced that they entered into a lease agreement with BJ’s Wholesale Club to set up shop in Canarsie Plaza in Canarsie, Brooklyn. BJ’s will take over a 170,000-square-foot space formerly leased to Home Depot, representing 96 percent of the phase I retail component of the center. That marks the retailer’s third location in the borough.

Six months prior, Acadia and P/A Associates announced that BJ’s would anchor the retail space at Pelham Manor Shopping Plaza in Pelham Manor, in Westchester County. The Plaza is a 235,000-square-foot redevelopment project with retail and self storage components. BJ’s will occupy the 109,000-square-foot space formerly leased to Home Depot, and is expected to open during the first half of 2009.

BJ’s and other chain retailers are slated to come to the one-million-square-foot Gateway Center at the site of the former Bronx Terminal Market.

BJ’s is not stopping there. The wholesaler will be opening a number of other stores in the boroughs, including one in the Flushing area of Queens by 2011.

Michael Stoler is a columnist for The Real Deal and host of real estate programs “The Stoler Report” and “Building New York” on CUNY TV and on WEGTV in East Hampton. His radio show, “The Michael Stoler Real Estate Report,” airs on 1010 WINS on Saturdays and Sundays. Stoler is a director at Madison Realty Capital as well as an adjunct professor at NYU Real Estate Institute, and a former contributing editor and columnist for the New York Sun.