Muni-Mall at Court and Joralemon?

BHB photo by C. Scales

Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Markowitz today announced that the City is issuing a Request for Proposal to develop 37,000 square feet of space on the ground and second floors of the Brooklyn Municipal Building (photo above), at the corner of Court and Joralemon Streets, for commercial retail use. The space will become available when the city offices that now occupy it are moved to another location in the building. The Brooklyn Municipal Building, designed by McKenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin and completed in 1927, is reckoned “a fine piece of design” by Francis Morrone in his An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn.

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  • EHinBH

    Let’s just hope this does not become home to discount stores, which would make this location worse than it already is…

  • ABC

    A lot happening all at once in downtown brooklyn it seems to me. Can only be a good thing. (Unless they really screw it up)

  • Bette

    A big box store that might help the area might be a Home Depot or a Lowe’s. It (they) would employ a lot of people and also provide goods that we all can use in do-it-yourself (cheap!) repairs and renovations. But if it turns into a fast-food court – ugh.

  • Joe2: The Joe-ening

    Bette – I would be immensely happy with a store like that within walking distance. I’ve been relying on the little hardware/general store on Montague Street for home repair stuff, and they’re not the most reliable place on the planet.

  • x

    We can use a place like Marshall’s or a Dave & Buster’s.

    How about a bowling alley?

  • Remsen

    There is both a Home Depot and Lowes next door in Red Hook. Bed Bath & Beyond would be nice

  • Hicks on Hicks

    Hardware store on Montague gets blown away by Brunos/American Hardware on court. I agree with other respondants that a Home/Depot or Lowes would be most welcome. I can order linens by internet, can’t do it with lumber.

  • David G

    How about an apple store that also renovates the Borough-Hall Subway station?

    They did something similar in Chicago:

  • Livingston

    Marty dropped clear “hints” in the press conference that he’s very partial to Apple setting up a store there.

  • Remsen

    An Apple store would be a perfect fit given the need to replace one’s i-phone after it is stolen on the subway below…

  • mlo

    A Home Depot or Lowes would require parking.

  • carlotta

    We’ve got a Lowes and an Ikea not very far away, plus a few other big box stores close by – why push out Bruno’s, a very long time neighborhood small business.

  • AEB

    A place that sells real bagels. (Heh-heh.)

  • Resident

    If a big-box store were to move in, I wouldn’t mind a Best Buy.

  • Publius

    People: If you want big box stores, move back to Peoria.

  • AL

    Great Wall II

  • Resident

    Just being realistic, Publius. Two floors of space is great for big box stores, but not so great for the independent retailer. Besides, you’re living in the past if you think a bunch of mom-and-pops are going to swoop in and prepare RFI’s to take over 37,000 Sq. Ft. of space.

    The world has changed. Independent retailers without sweetheart leases (either because of the how long they’ve been there or because the space doesn’t suit a national retail chain) are at a huge cost disadvantage. There’s hope to fill some of the spaces on Montague with independent retailers, but when that much retail space is up for rent, and the space hasn’t been broken up yet, you better believe that national chains are who the spaces will appeal to. Might as well make the most of it, and to me that means filling the electronics store void in the area.

  • Resident

    er… RFPs, not RFIs.

  • Billy Reno

    I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m still waiting for the jailhouse mall/condo plan to come to fruition!

  • bornhere

    Our musings and hopes aside, I think mlo has it right — big-box would demand oodles of parking, and with the buses and general congestion, I don’t see it happening. The devolution of Court Street is pretty depressing — it’s uglier and dirtier than ever, and the Starbucks and Barnes and Noble and megaplex have done nothing to help. Even back in the 80s it was better (and don’t get me started on Barney’s Cut Rate and the old days of Chock Full o’ Nuts and Joe’s nostalgia).

  • my2cents

    I hope it is a mall of hipster boutiques selling artisanal bacon and pickles, along with knitwear owls and squids, with plenty of ceramic antlers and moustaches in various media. Hopefully there will be room for a curated selection of ironic t-shirts and an indie-rock venue that serves PBR for a dollar a can. Failing that, I’d settle for a Williams-Sonoma and The Art of Shaving, so long as it is anchored by an overpriced gourmet food court bearing the name of a high end chef who never has set foot there.

  • my2cents

    FWIW, there are already Home Depots and Lowes in the vicinity with better access to the BQE, and parking. It wont happen there.

  • resident

    bornhere, I don’t think any store would require parking. As far as I can tell, none of the big box stores on Union Square have parking. Home Depot or Lowes might, and I agree with other commenters that current brooklyn locations probably preclude their interest. I too wouldn’t want to drive out bruno’s on court.

    I hope whatever goes into these spaces (if anything) helps create a critical mass of shopping options in the neighborhood. I would prefer walking to getting on the subway to do most of my non-food shopping.

  • Shopping on Fulton for awhile

    Too many rich folks making comments and too many underage people. Getting rid of ABC was a great loss. They sold a lot of the same merchandise as Macy’s for 50% less. I remember Barney’s. It was great. Yes, Fulton Street needs more than phone stores (maybe a real electronic store -not one selling refurbished) but the Mega stores suck. We are NY not some stupid suburb or even worse some neighborhood in Nebraska. Brooklyn is Brooklyn and BP Marty and Mayor Mike should both be shot for getting rid of small businesses. Likewise, both should be shot for desecrating the Municpal Bldg. with retail stores. Maybe Dominos can get a spot.

  • nabeguy

    This is exactly the kind of discussion that has me itching to move out of the Heights. Big box stores? Are you kidding me? After all the complaints that people level at Montague Street for its failure to offer small scale but much-desired services, are Lowe’s and Home Depot really what the area needs? As facetious as my2’s post may be, is there any reason why something along the lines of a neighborhood-centric mall is such a ridiculous thought? Something along the lines of the Essex Street Market? A place where a good butcher like Esposito’s could sit side by side with a good fish monger like Fish Tails all under one roof? Come on folks, try to think outside of the (big) box.

  • x

    A Toys R Us for all the children in the nabe

  • bklyn20

    My kid is now 10 and I am happy to say that I will never go into a Toys R Us again in my life!!! Please no Toys R Us (plus it could be a death knell for Heights Kids.)

    Sorry, Homer.

  • Monty

    @x, there is now a Toys R Us Express in the old Sid’s Hardware location on Jay St.

    @nabeguy, the two priorities are not mutually exclusive. Some business models (like hardware or electronics) and better suited to big box stores. Some are better as small businesses (like restaurants, cafes) and some can go either way (clothing).

  • Resident

    People, the old world isn’t coming back. Brooklyn/New York isn’t “special,” every city in America used to have many independent stores that sold clothes, shoes, electronics, etc (and honestly, I’ve seen far more successful independent shopping stores in small town america than I see in NY). They’ve mostly all been driven out by economies of scale offered by the big box stores. Nobody in their right mind is going to open a reasonably priced clothing store (i.e. not a boutique) or an electronics store that will compete with nationally branded chains.

    In this new proposal, we should hope that no chains move in that would harm successful local business. No Toy stores (although national chains of this are all failures, right?), no pet stores, no hardware stores. But I don’t see any harm in filling needs of the neighborhood with say a Filene’s Basement, DSW or Best Buy. Success breeds success, and I’m afraid it’s going to take some commitment from a big box store or two to turn Fulton Mall/Court St./Montague St. into a shopping district that provides the services we all want.

  • mlo

    I seriously agree with Shopping on Fulton -Brooklyn is Brooklyn and its something we all need to remember- not everyone who relocates in from Oklahoma knows what Brooklyn was and how and why it came to have its character- I’m not opposed to progress but would like to see better balance. Other nabes have surpassed BH in terms of shopping, bars and restaurants while still maintaining the small shop experience. i.e Carroll Gardens and CH for some really great new restaurants, Linger Lounge up Atlantic and 3rd- Greenpoint and Bensonhurts for maintaining their small shops.

    It’s nice to have small shops but not when they’re ripping you off- Fish Tales!!! that guy is an absolute crook and he’s from the neighborhood! Just cashing in on the stupdity of people like the rest of em-why not. Retail rents in BH are so high its near impossible to start up a new business here- especially one of quality.

    Yes, BP Marty and Mayor Mike should both be shot for getting rid of small businesses. Likewise, both should be shot for desecrating the Municpal Bldg. with retail stores.

    Its true that with todays technology less space is needed to run offices but why not use the space for other community and city programs thay are having to be cut because they can’t afford to maintain them. Just a thought. Naw- let’s just go with the highest bidder