Retailers in Brooklyn signed massive leases this year, going above and beyond last year’s numbers.
Retailers committed to some major square footage, notching three top deals surpassing last year’s biggest lease of just 62,000 square feet.
But the type of retailer that made the list varied. Some were traditional, like Target, but gyms, sports clubs, parking facilities and even a charter school also made the top ten.
Brokers say the pandemic remained a factor this year, but diminished as the year went on.
“We’ve obviously seen the markets improve throughout the year, as we’ve got a better idea of what Covid looks like,” said Newmark’s Ross Kaplan, who orchestrated one of the deals on this list. “Throughout the year, we definitely saw leasing velocity increase.”
1. Target | 5100 Kings Plaza | 90,000 square feet
As other retailers chose to stay put in the wake of the pandemic, Target raised eyebrows when the company chose to rapidly expand, opting to open 40 new stores a year.
The retailer’s massive deal at Macerich’s Kings Plaza in Mill Basin was no exception to that initiative. RIPCO Real Estate’s Jeffrey Howard represented Target in its takeover of a former three-story J.C. Penney outpost.
2. Brooklyn Prospect Charter School | 80 Willoughby Street | 70,000 square feet
Shortly after acquiring the building from the Sisters of St. Joseph for $23.2 million, United American Land was on the hunt for a new tenant. That’s when the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School inked a 30-plus year lease for 70,000 square feet at the former St. Joseph High School in Brooklyn Heights.
The school had already been in the building but expanded through its new lease. Kaplan and Justin DiMare of Newmark represented the tenant.
“School space that’s already zoned for educational use is a very marketable property,” Kaplan said.
3. Primark | 445 Albee Square West | 70,000 square feet
Primark, which only has 13 stores in the U.S., is bulking up as part of its plan to increase that figure to nearly 60 in the next five years. This Brooklyn Heights location will be split up between a 50,000-square-foot store and 20,000 square feet for storage.The space was previously occupied by discount retail chain Century 21, which closed the location after filing for bankruptcy.
Landlords Acadia Realty Trust and Washington Square Partners were represented by a Newmark team including Ariel Schuster and an in-house Acadia team. Primark was represented by a CBRE team that consisted of David LaPierre and Kristen Crossman.
“There were a lot of different options in terms of big box tenants,” Schuster said. “At the end of the day Primark was interesting, because it’s going to be one of the few that have opened, so it’s unique, and they draw really far.”
4. Feather | 274 36th Street | 33,000 square feet
The direct-to-consumer furniture rental company Feather signed a three-year lease to relocate from its former headquarters near the Brooklyn Navy Yard to about 33,000 square feet at the Sunset Park campus. Matt Stewart with Industry City represented the landlord Belvedere Capital, Jamestown and Angelo Gordon & Company.
5. 22 MP Parking | 22 Chapel Street | 30,000 square feet
22 MP Parking lot took over 30,000 square feet in a new development in Downtown Brooklyn. Yoni Hadar with Meridian Retail Leasing represented landlord Del Shah Properties.
“We felt that it was a good fit for this kind of project to bring in a local operator from New York versus a national chain,” Hadar said.
6. Padel Haus | 307 Kent Avenue | 30,000
If you haven’t heard of it, padel is the niche racquet sport sweeping Brooklyn — or at least Williamsburg. The sports club signed a ten-year lease for the space, where it will host both courts for the game and a restaurant.
Larry Smith of Sholom & Zuckerbrot represented landlord G4 Capital Partners. A Retail by MONA team consisting of Brandon Singer, Michael Cody and Christine Nebiar represented the tenant.
The search for the right space “was tough. We looked up, down, left, right, all over,” Singer said.
7. Harbor Fitness | 943 King Highway | 26,000 square feet
This Ocean Parkway location will be Brooklyn-based Harbor Fitness’ sixth. It will be taking 5,000 square feet on the lower level, 4,600 square feet on the ground floor and 16,400 square feet on the second floor at the nearly 40,000-square-foot retail building. The average asking rent for all three floors was $35 per square foot in the 20-year lease.
Josh Augenbaum of Augenbaum Realty represented both sides, and said he found Harbor Fitness after cold calling potential tenants.
“The bottom line is the fundamentals of real estate still remain the same: location, location, location, and when you have the location, the tenants will come,” Augenbaum said.
8. The Finish Line Inc. | 1645 Pitkin Avenue | 21,648 square feet
The shoe store raced to pick up this nearly 22,000 square foot Brownsville location owned by the Rockfeld Group. A team consisting of representatives from Newmark and Inline — made up of Benjamin Birnbaum, Alexandra Shachter and Michael Friedman — represented the retailer.
9. Aldi | 2201 Nostrand Avenue | 20,110 square feet
Aldi has been on a mission to rapidly expand to 2,500 locations by 2022, and so here comes its new store in East Flatbush. The space was previously home to The Children’s Place and David’s Bridal.
Peter Botsaris of Botsaris Morris Realty Group represented landlord Triangle Equities. Aldi was represented by Esther Bukai of Ripco Real Estate.
10. Tapout Fitness | 96-110 Boerum Place | 19,207 square feet
With gyms vacating their premises during the pandemic, some opportunistic tenants decided now was the time to move in. Tapout Fitness was one such tenant, taking over a Cobble Hill space owned by Hidrock Properties.
The gym was represented by a Newmark team consisting of Jeffrey Roseman, Jeremy Tucker and Marc Frankel, who said the space was a natural fit for its newest tenant.
“Most gyms need the same things. They need locker rooms, they need plumbing, they need big open areas and to recreate that’s fairly expensive,” Frankel said. “The bones were good.”