It will be a homecoming of sorts for Michael Weiss.
This story first appeared in the August 16, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The chief executive officer of Express is one of the many retail industry executives who cut their teeth at the training program at the Abraham & Straus flagship on Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn. And next year, Weiss will return to the borough when he opens the doors to a new 10,000-square-foot Express flagship on the ground level of 490 Fulton Street.
Haim Chera, a principal of Crown Acquisition Corp., which just inked the deal to rent the space to Express, said: “There’s a real shift in the dynamic in Brooklyn now.” He said a Shake Shack has committed to opening on Fulton Street and H&M is under construction. Aéropostale has also taken a spot there, Chaim said. “There is a tidal wave of national chains coming to Brooklyn,” he said. In addition, Chaim said there are 240 dorm rooms for students from Long Island University that will be located on the upper floors of 490 Fulton Street, “right above the store.”
Chaim said the Express store should open sometime in the spring and there is another 10,000 square feet available on the corner of that building.
On Monday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz said the city will develop 49,000 square feet of retail space in the Brooklyn Municipal building at 210 Joralemon Street downtown. The plan is to create a pedestrian-friendly space that will anchor the Court Street retail corridor. A full-service restaurant will be included. Construction is expected to begin in 2012 and the project is being developed by United American Land LLC.
“Downtown Brooklyn today is a diversified, 24/7 live work community, having benefited from a surge of investment in excess of $3 billion during the past five years,” said Alan Fishman, co-chair of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “As a result, hundreds of new retail jobs have been created, the area’s residential population has boomed, new cultural facilities and parks have been created and the area is well positioned to really surge once the global recession subsides.”
Downtown Brooklyn attracts more than 150,000 shoppers daily.