Stores on Fulton Mall average around $1,200 per square foot in sales, and stalwarts like the discount department store Cookie’s do business at a good clip, reaching up to $1,400 per square foot, according to SCG Retail broker Geoff Bailey.
“That’s on par with some of the top-grossing shopping centers in the country,” he said.
Even at City Point, retailers are trying to figure out the Fulton Mall’s formula. Armani Exchange, which was the project’s first tenant in 2012, closed its 6,500-foot store in 2015.
“They entered the market very early and did not reopen, which seemed to indicate that it was not ready for them,” Boutross said.
While the face of Fulton continues to transform, some say the core demographic that made it such a longtime success remains.
“I was concerned that as the character of the Fulton Mall changed, we might be essentially just swapping one demographic for another,” said Robert Perris, district manager of Downtown Brooklyn’s Community Board 2.
“However, it seems to me that the traditional, hip urban black shopper who kept the Fulton Mall alive for decades, I see them in stores like Aeropostale,” he added. “It doesn’t seem like we have pushed one demographic out for another.”
A look at the slew of developments popping up along Fulton Street
1. City Point
City Point — the first large-scale development Fulton Mall has seen in decades, and the biggest, kicks off the transformation of Albee Square Plaza at the eastern end of Fulton Street.
The $1 billion, 1.8-million-square-foot mixed-use development includes 675,000 square feet of retail, 1,148 apartments and 30,000 square feet of office space.
Century 21, Target, the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater and Danish retailer Flying Tiger Copenhagen are now open, with Trader Joe’s and DeKalb Market Hall among those coming later this year. Brodsky Organization’s 440-unit City Tower at 10 City Point opened in 2015 and the 250-unit 7 DeKalb Avenue rental tower, co-developed by BFC Partners, opened early last year. As part of the megadevelopment, Gary Barnett’s Extell Development is also constructing a 59-story tower at 138 Willoughby Street. The building, which will house either condominiums or co-ops, is slated for completion in 2020.
Plans for City Point emerged after Downtown Brooklyn’s 2004 rezoning, when Washington Square Partners and Acadia signed a long-term ground lease with the city for the site. BFC and Brodsky were named partners in the project in 2012, and Barnett acquired the last site at the project for $120 million in 2015.
2. 9 Dekalb Avenue
Chetrit Group and JDS Development Group
Set to rise 1,066 square feet over Albee Square, JDS Development Group and the Chetrit Group’s 73-story rental tower is primed to be the tallest in Brooklyn.
JDS and Chetrit purchased the Dime Savings Bank at 9 DeKalb Avenue as well as the property’s air rights for $90 million in late 2015. The developers plan on repositioning the landmarked bank into a 30,000-square-foot store. The 500-unit residential tower will have 110,000 square feet of additional retail and will be connected to the old bank with a glassy atrium designed by SHoP Architects.
The developers have yet to sign any retail tenants. Those familiar with the space said its unique design — a landmarked interior and lack of a glassy storefront — won’t appeal to everyone, but will to a certain type of retailer looking to make a statement.
“There are only so many tenants out in the market that are looking for that type of product,” said Ryan Condren, managing director of the retail group at CPEX Real Estate, who added that the bank’s idiosyncratic design will mean that the developers will be marketing it to a smaller pool of potential tenants.
3. Fulton assemblage
One of Fulton Street’s most buzzed-about projects is also one of its most secretive.
Williamsburg-based RedSky Capital has spent more than $104 million over the last four years assembling a nearly full-block site between DeKalb Avenue, Fulton Street and Flatbush Avenue Extension facing the eastern end of Albee Square.
While RedSky has been tight-lipped about its intentions for the site and has yet to file plans with the Department of Buildings, it refinanced the property with a $127 million loan from Apollo Commercial Real Estate in April.
The area — which currently houses a collection of low-slung retail buildings — is zoned for more than 500,000 square feet of residential and commercial development. SCG Retail broker Geoff Bailey said it’s likely that the developers will follow their peers and build something that mirrors the other projects on Albee Square.
“I’m sure it’s going to be a big, tall building with a nice retail podium,” he said. “It could very much be a flagship location.”
4. The Wheeler
Macy’s is getting an upstairs neighbor, thanks to Tishman Speyer.
The department store chain sold the top five floors of its nine-story Fulton Street store to the developer for $270 million in December 2015. Last month, Tishman Speyer unveiled its plans for the Wheeler — named after architect Andrew Wheeler, who in the 1870s designed the four-story cast-iron structure that currently makes up part of Macy’s store.
Tishman Speyer is constructing 10 floors of office space spanning 620,000 square feet above and alongside the four floors that Macy’s is retaining (the retailer is using $100 million of the proceeds from the sale to renovate the lower portion of the building). The Wheeler is slated for occupancy in mid-2019; each floor will have 16-foot ceilings and open spaces in hopes of attracting Brooklyn’s creative-office tenants.
“That’s the first office space on Fulton Street ever,” said Washington Square Partners founder Paul Travis, who noted that the addition of creative-office types directly on Fulton Street will be a game changer for retailers and property owners. “We haven’t seen anything like that.”