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Chain Stores Surge into Downtown Brooklyn

By  Janet Upadhye and Nikhita Venugopal | May 8, 2014 6:57am 

 A round-up of the commercial developments, including shops, national retailers, restaurants and fitness chains that have opened in the neighborhood within the last year.
Commercial Developments in Downtown Brooklyn and Cobble Hill
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Downtown Brooklyn is turning into a shopping mall.

National retailers and chain restaurants including Sephora, T.J. Maxx and Hill Country Barbecue have moved, or are planning moves, into the neighborhood and parts of nearby Cobble Hill.

In the past year, Brooklyn experienced the largest percentage increase in chain stores across all five boroughs, according to a report by Center for an Urban Future.

Between 2012 and 2013 the number increased 3 percent, from 1,470 to 1,511. Manhattan, on the other hand, saw a near 1 percent drop.

The upsurge in shopping options is exciting for many Brooklynites who can now get their big-name retail fix satisfied without leaving the borough.

"I don't have to travel to Manhattan to buy the things I need anymore," said Andrew Allwood, 34, who lives in Mill Basin and works in sales. "I'm shocked at how much Fulton Street has changed in the last two years."

"Brooklyn really is the new Manhattan," said another shopper Lisa Jones, 19.

But the influx of chain stores has put a strain on some small businesses, many of which first attracted shoppers to the Brooklyn neighborhoods years ago.

Patrick Watson, owner of Cobble Hill's artisanal cheese shop Stinky Bklyn, and other small business supporters recently banded together to launch a Court & Smith Street Business Improvement District in an effort to support small businesses.

“A lot of the merchants and commercial tenants are not doing as well as you'd think,” Watson previously told DNAinfo New York.

DNAinfo New York rounded up a sampling of commercial developments in Downtown Brooklyn and Cobble Hill that have opened in the last year or will be arriving in the near future.

Sephora, 210 Joralemon St.

The beauty and makeup retailer opened last year at 210 Joralemon St. in the Brooklyn Municipal Building. Sephora, known for its fragrance, skin, body and hair care products, operates more than 300 stores across North America.

 It’Sugar, 210 Joralemon St.

The trendy sweet shop opened on March 7, store manager Jeremy Joe said. The chain has locations across the country.

► Splendid, 142 Court St.

The LA-based clothing chain opened its first Brooklyn shop last September. Splendid has 22 locations across the country.

► Lululemon Athelica, 166 Smith St.

The high-end yoga and active wear company opened its Cobble Hill location last summer.

Hill Country Barbecue, 345 Adams St.

Located in a former municipal building at the corner of Willoughby Avenue and Adams Street, Texas chain Hill Country Barbecue opened in early January 2014. The barbecue joint boasts two levels and 10,000 square feet of space.

Muss Development bought the building at 345 Adams St. in 2012 and plans to convert it into "Downtown Brooklyn’s Restaurant Row” with chains like Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar and Potbelly Sandwich Shop also occupying space.

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, 339 Adams St.

This Florida-based restaurant serves more than 300 types of tequila and an extensive Mexican food menu. This is its first location outside Florida.

Nordstrom Rack, 505 Fulton St.

Located in the landmarked Offerman Building at 505 Fulton, Nordstrom Rack opened on May 1 in the Fulton Street Mall.

"We want to be in the top locations across the country, so this spot at the heart of Downtown Brooklyn is big for us," Geevy Thomas, president of Nordstrom Rack said in a statement.

TJ Maxx, 503 Fulton St.

Located alongside H&M and Nordstrom Rack in the landmarked Offerman Building, TJ Maxx’s 22,000-square-feet space opened May 1 in the basement level.

H&M, 501 Fulton St.

H&M was the first retail store to occupy space in the newly renovated Offerman Building.

The Swedish retail clothing company exists in 53 countries selling trendy clothing and accessories. The Downtown Brooklyn location opened in July of 2013.

U.S. Polo Association, 468 Fulton St.

This outlet store opened in the Fulton Street Mall in December of 2013, joining the chain’s other newly opened locations at 125th Street in Harlem, Broadway in SoHo, and Times Square.

Chipotle, 1 Metrotech

Chipotle opened in the Metrotech Center on March 31 joining the other chain eateries Au Bon Pain, Starbucks and Five Guys.

Banana Republic, 485 Fulton St.

This factory outlet opened earlier this year selling the brand’s clothing at bargain prices. The space was previously home to Dr. Jay's shoe store.

Coming soon:

► The Bar Method, 267 Pacific St.

The boutique studio offers barre ballet workouts that combine elements of yoga, dance and Pilates. It's slated to open in August.

 J. Crew, 151 Court St.

The national fashion retailer plans to take over 2,349 square feet at 151 Court St. in Cobble Hill, according to reports last year.

► YogaWorks, 210 Joralemon St.

The yoga and fitness studio is slated to open in mid-June, an employee said. A small retail store is currently open at the location.

► Rag & Bone, 160 Court St.

The international clothing shop took over a space in 160 Court St. after Downtown Bar & Grill closed its doors earlier this year. Construction is underway at the site, but the company did not respond to a request for comment and it is unclear when the Cobble Hill location will officially open.

► Pier 1 Imports, 252 Atlantic Ave.

The home-furnishing megastore is slated to open a 13,500-square-foot location at 252 Atlantic Ave., the building developer confirmed to DNAinfo New York last year.

► Last Call by Neiman Marcus, 210 Joralemon St.

Last Call will open its first New York location in September 2014. The store will occupy 16,000 square feet of space in the Brooklyn Municipal Building’s second floor, according to The New York Post. Last Call by Neiman Marcus is the off-price division of The Neiman Marcus Group.

Hale & Hearty Soups, 2 MetroTech

Forest City Ratner Companies recently announced that Hale & Hearty Soups will open in the fall of 2014 at 2 MetroTech Center. The soup chain boasts more than 30 locations in the New York City area including one on Court Street.