Bistricer plans 650 units at landmarked Sears in Flatbush

Clipper Equity plans to divide property in three to allow for new buildings

New York /
Mar.March 30, 2022 08:00 AM
Clipper Equity's David and JJ Bistricer  and the former Sears at 2360 Bedford Avenue (Clipper Equities, LinkedIn, Getty)

Clipper Equity’s David and JJ Bistricer  and the former Sears at 2360 Bedford Avenue (Clipper Equities, LinkedIn, Getty)

Real estate development can make for strange bedfellows.

But a prolific Brooklyn landlord teaming up with a Greenwich hedge fund at a landmarked department store? Now that’s a visual.

Clipper Equity, a multifamily owner and developer led by David Bistricer, has filed plans to build two residential buildings totaling 456,000 square feet in Flatbush. The projects will bring 650 units to 2360 Bedford Avenue, the site of a landmarked Sears that opened in 1932 and closed last year.

ESL Investments owns the property through a subsidiary, Transform Operating Stores LLC, according to city records. ESL is the hedge fund that bought Sears — including the roughly 700 retail stores it owned at the time — out of bankruptcy for $5.2 billion in 2019.

Both buildings will rise seven stories. The larger one will have 351 units across 257,000 square feet. It will stand on a 37,600-square-foot footprint with a 1.45 floor-area ratio. The plans indicate it will include a community facility, but don’t say how large it will be. PincusCo reported on this building filing last week.

At 182,000 square feet, the other building will include 299 units. Its filing also mentions an unspecific community facility. Its footprint is less than half that of the bigger development.

The new building filings list “Bedford Beverly Acq. Contract Vendee” as the owner. J. Bistricer, presumably Clipper executive J.J. Bistricer, David’s son, is the entity’s signatory, and its phone number matches the one on Clipper’s website.

A contract vendee sale is an arrangement by which two parties agree to transfer ownership of a property but to close the sale at a later date. That would explain why ESL is the registered parcel owner yet Clipper is filing for the new building.

Both firms ignored requests for comment.

When Sears and its architects planned the store in the early 1930s, cookie-cutter chain stores were not yet a thing. Their 127,000-square-foot store featured such unconventional elements as detailed Art Deco ornamentation and a 100-foot limestone tower displaying the retailer’s logo in handsome red lettering.

Eleanor Roosevelt spoke at the store’s opening in November 1932. It was her last public appearance before her husband was elected president of the United States.

Over the following eight years, Sears bought up at least nine neighboring lots, which it mostly converted into parking spots for the “motoring shoppers” the store targeted. Today, those parking spots are headed for a new life.

When the city landmarked the store in 2012, it only protected the building itself, leaving the remaining lot square footage open for development. Clipper is asking the city to divide the lot into three pieces, with the building retaining its original lot number and creating two new ones for the buildings on the parking lot around it.

Shmuel Wieder is the architect of record. Wieder’s work includes 2337 Bedford Avenue, a 27-unit apartment building under construction diagonally across the intersection of Bedford and Tilden avenues from the Sears lot.





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