Brooklyn Broadside: Barclays Center Brings Retail Interest to Once-Neglected Area

By Dennis Holt

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

When Rupert Murdoch acquired the Wall Street Journal, many observers thought he was trying to rival the New York Times. The Times is too big a nut to crack, but Murdoch added a new section called Greater New York, which is included in all the daily issues of the Journal and the weekend section that is distributed in the metropolitan area.

This is only a capsule view compared to the New York Times, but it has proved to be a resourceful and well-written brief news section about social, arts, and sports items.

Lately, the Journal has focused on the impact of Barclays Center at Atlantic Yards on the surrounding community.

When the dimensions of the project became known years ago, most observers concluded that its advent would bring dramatic change to the general area in the form of new retailers. Crowds that come to major events never come with empty pockets. Others bemoaned the predictable end of old, established mom-and-pop stores.

Both phenomena are happening, and the Journal has taken note of them. For example, the Triangle Store on Flatbush Avenue, which sells sporting goods, has been there for 96 years but won’t be for much longer. Its prime location near the new arena has appealed to newcomers. Some businesspeople think it would be an ideal site for a restaurant. So, with sadness, owner Henry Rosa has put up a “For Sale” sign. We will see more of this.

Another Journal article points out that various retailers have been swarming all over the place looking for new opportunities. One firm has made a big move. A real estate investment company known as Waterbridge Capital has bought a 105-year-old, 40,000-square-foot building at 700 Atlantic Ave. right next to the arena. Waterbridge wants to turn the building into a retail center, and most people believe that is sure to happen. It is located near the site where Atlantic Yard’s first residential buildings will be built, and ground is expected to be broken for them by the end of the year.

In a report in Wednesday’s Journal, the editors tried to link the arena to Steiner Studios’ plan to build a 52-story apartment building at Livingston Street, Schermerhorn Street and Flatbush Avenue. But this site has long been part of all Downtown Brooklyn development plans, and would have been part of them even without an arena.

Still, it is clearly an inducement to new retailers to continue to scout out the area. A lot will happen in the neighborhood in the next three years, and no one will be able to call it a blighted area again.

February 17, 2012 - 1:11pm



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