At City Point there’s a Starbucks inside the new Target. But national chains and big brands don’t represent the heart and soul of Brooklyn’s largest mixed-used complex.
Over the next several weeks, the $1 billion, 1.8 million-square-foot development in downtown Brooklyn will be opening Torly & Tooby moderate-to-better-priced kids’ apparel, a Fellow Barber hipster barbershop, Joy Bird for midcentury-inspired furniture, and Little Giants Giant Shorties kids’ wear. For Joy Bird and Little Giants Giant Shorties, these are their first brick-and-mortar sites.
Also, Finger Bang for “nail art” is expected to open in spring 2018.
These additions, which will all be along City Point’s Prince Street specialty corridor on the main level, advance a leasing philosophy advocating small, independent retailers and restaurants and local businesses. In other words, offerings you don’t see on every corner and rarely if ever in a mall.
“We have realized there is a market for a more unique and entrepreneurial mix than a typical shopping center,” said Paul Travis, managing partner of Washington Square Partners, a copartner in City Point with Acadia Realty Trust.
“We don’t want to produce another homogenized shopping facility,” said Chris Conlon, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Acadia. “Curating is an overused term, but at City Point we really curated the mix more.”
Asked how these smaller retailers can afford to open in downtown Brooklyn, Conlon responded, “We build out the store. That’s really the key. They don’t have the bandwidth to do it. We actually hold their hand, but we create a white canvas for them.”
The tenants are signing short-term leases, generally for two to three years, so they can leave if business isn’t successful and City Point can frequently re-merchandise spaces.
If you’re looking for Cheesecake Factory, forget about it. City Point’s 40,000-square-foot DeKalb Market Hall, created by Anna Castellani and opened in June, contains 40 local and regional vendors including Ample Hills, Bunker, Fulton Landing Seafood Company, Guss’ Pickles and Wilma Jean. Katz’s, the famous deli on Houston Street in Manhattan, is operating its second outpost in the DeKalb Market, and a Fortina Italian restaurant and Han Dynasty for Chinese food are opening next month.
According to Travis, of the 475,000 square feet of gross leasable retail area, 15 percent is devoted to food, whereas in typical shopping centers, about 5.7 percent of the space is food. Also, 8 percent of the space at City Point is devoted to fashion specialty stores, whereas in a typical shopping center 25 to 30 percent of the space goes to fashion specialty stores.
City Point is also distinct for housing the city’s first Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, which opened last November. It’s where you can dine while watching a movie. There’s no box office; tickets are purchased online and seating is assigned, providing a more sophisticated, intimate and fuller film experience.
The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema; Target, which last January opened in City Point one of its smaller “flexible formats”; and a Century 21 Department Store, which opened last October; all told occupy 67 percent of the GLA. There’s also a Trader Joe’s, which opened last month. Of the development’s 1.8 million square feet, about 95 percent of the space is leased, according to the owners.
Furthering its bid to be “experiential” and to bond with the community, a 8,000-square-foot DeKalb Stage for music performances, a bar and lounge, will open in late fall next to the lower level food hall. A custom-built kitchen for cooking demonstrations will also open this fall.
Already operating (the official opening is set for September) is the 13,500-square-foot Bklyn Studios, which has staged the Creative Time gala, the Spring Break Immersive art show and Brick Fest Live Lego experience. The objective is have events daily so they become “drivers” of business and traffic at the center, said Conlon. “Not afterthoughts.”