RAL in talks with retailers for long-vacant One Brooklyn Bridge Park space

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One Brooklyn Bridge Park and RAL COO Ian Levine

More than two years have passed since developer RAL Companies & Affiliates began marketing the 75,000-square foot retail space in its waterfront condominium conversion One Brooklyn Bridge Park, at 360 Furman Street, and it has yet to secure a tenant.

RAL is hoping its fortune will change as it kicks off discussions with two restaurant operators and a high-end market, Ian Levine, RAL’s COO and CFO, told The Real Deal.

Within the past 45 days, two local “seasoned” restaurant operators and one high-end market that “caters to grocery needs and prepared foods” contacted RAL about the space, Levine said. He declined to disclose the retailers’ names and would not specify about possible lease pricing.

RAL and Winick Realty Group, whom the developer had commissioned to market the space, re-launched marketing efforts within the past month, Levine said.

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The developer first began marketing One Brooklyn Bridge Park’s retail space and its 449 residential units in early 2007 and by January 2008, and according to the Brooklyn Paper, was negotiating to land a high-end market tenant. Levine said earlier talks with a high-end market fell through when the potential tenant decided to pull back on its expansion plans amid the economic slowdown. RAL then moved to halt marketing efforts due to the soft retail environment coupled with construction delays for the surrounding Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Now that park construction is underway and slated for year-end completion, RAL has begun to roll out a “moderate marketing campaign” for the Brooklyn Heights retail space, Levine said. The campaign entails rental signage, mailings to strategic tenants and outreach to local retail operators. Later this year, RAL also plans to reach out to national retailers such as “high-end bakeries, bike shops and ancillary sporting goods [chains],” he said.

J.D. Parker, Brooklyn regional manager for Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, said “right now, there is zero foot traffic [at One Brooklyn Bridge],” which may have attributed to the delay in securing retailers. “Most people coming in and out of the building are probably driving.” However, once the park’s nearby Pier 6 opens, “it will get a lot of foot traffic coming down Atlantic Avenue,” he added.

One Brooklyn Bridge Park’s condo vacancies may have also played a role in repelling retailers. Struggling to move units, the developer dramatically lowered prices and released some residences as market-rate rentals.

“The condos haven’t finished selling and that’s a problem. As a retailer, that doesn’t give you a lot of confidence because that’s your base to build off of,” Parker said.

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