By  on November 26, 2007

Brooklyn, the borough of Coney Island, Prospect Park and the Dodgers of memory, is a hot property.

Population density, residential development and an understored retail environment has made Brooklyn one of the most sought-after retail locations in New York City.

Just as a flurry of new residential activity in Harlem and the Lower East Side begat upscale retail, real estate experts said new condominiums and rental properties will inevitably lead to higher-end stores — and rising rents for those retail properties.

"Brooklyn is booming," said David Rosenberg, executive vice president of Robert K. Futterman Associates. "As downtown Brooklyn transitions, the overall retail climate will go in a more upscale direction. Over the next five years we will see a significantly different retail climate."

When Forest City Ratner built Atlantic Terminal three years ago, the company targeted national chains. "A few guys like the Gap stepped up, but then back out," said Lon Rubackin, senior vice president of Forest City Ratner. "Bruce Ratner [chief executive officer] said, 'Let's wait and not rush.' Bruce was insistent about trying to upgrade. Community leaders would call and say, 'Why can't we get Victoria's Secret and Gap?' After a couple of years, we were able to convince Victoria's Secret to join the project and it's one of their best stores in the city. More and more national retailers are starting to find out about Brooklyn, and once they do, nobody's disappointed."

Forest City Ratner is preparing to build the 7.7 million-square-foot Atlantic Yards across from Atlantic Center and Terminal on the busy intersection of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. The 24-acre project is to include an arena for the Nets of the National Basketball Association, office towers, 6,000 to 7,300 housing units and 250,000 square feet of retail, which is described as being geared to residents with smaller shops and restaurants.

"A major professional sports team adds a whole other dynamic," Rubackin said. "There will be a link to the Long Island Rail Road, which connects to the South Shore. Atlantic Yards is a stone's throw from Wall Street and downtown Manhattan. That's a whole new crop of shoppers who never would have been there before."

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