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Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters! It's makeover time at the Fulton Mall Macy's

Beloved Fulton Street department store Abraham & Straus, shown in this 1895 photograph, was glamorous right down to its elaborate store windows. This is where the current Macy's site is. Brooklyn Historical Society photo

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

It's makeover time for the Fulton Mall Macy's.

The retail giant wants to win over the 30-and-under set with an upgrade of the aging department store at 422 Fulton St., CEO Terry Lundgren revealed in a Wall Street Journal interview published Wednesday.

It won't be a routine remodeling, he told the newspaper.

“You wouldn't want me to just paint the walls and redo the carpets,” he said.

Though reluctant to dish on the details, Lundgren said renovations must appeal to “millennials” – those born in the early 1980s through early 2000s – as well as current customers.

He said Brooklyn needs Macy's to “imagine the future consumers that are coming in and create a response to a newer vision.”

The downtown Brooklyn Macy's won't be the first of the retailer's properties to get a makeover. A $400 million re-do of its iconic Herald Square flagship has passed the halfway mark, the Journal reported.

The downtown Brooklyn Macy's serves as an anchor to Fulton Street, which was once the fourth largest retail center in the United States.

The street has seen its ups and downs over the decades – and is now on a resurgence, with storefront rents in the high $200s per square foot these days.

H& M opened last summer in a glam glass box especially built by developer Albert Laboz for the powerhouse Swedish fashion retailer.

It joined Armani Exchange at neighboring City Point, a mega-development now under construction.

Upscale chains from Swarovski to American Eagle are recent arrivals on the mall.

Macy's itself is a relative newcomer to the vibrant street. Until the 1990s, the historic building it occupies was the home of Abraham & Straus – a heavy hitter that established its presence in the 19th Century and was the go-to department store for upscale Brooklynites.

A&S was a glamorous store in bygone days, with elaborate store window displays, an art gallery and a beauty salon, and elevator operators in uniforms. People came from all over the borough to shop for dress-up clothes.

Renovation will be a welcome sight at the Fulton Mall Macy's. It has the grim look of a neglected suburban outpost.

Macy's Herald Square location. Wikipedia photo

 

February 26, 2014 - 11:00am


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