Is Sephora Coming To Brooklyn Heights?

The New York Post story that revealed Whole Foods is coming to Williamsburg also had a buried item claiming that make-up and fragrance superstore Sephora is reportedly “close to signing a lease” in the Brooklyn Municipal Building—the first we’ve heard of this.

The location of Brooklyn’s first Sephora: Joralemon and Court Street, right at the border between Brooklyn Heights and Downtown’s Fulton Street Mall. Racked reveals that the space would be a 6,500-square-foot corner spot on the first floor of the Municipal Building, where 37,000 sf are being developed as the Brooklyn Heights Plaza. This follows well-tread rumors over the past year of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz’s tenacious bid to bring in Apple or Nordstrom to the desirable commercial space.

Meanwhile, Fulton Mall continues to add one new (chain) store after another, with the recent opening of Gap Factory Store and Shake Shack, with H&M and TJ Maxx soon to follow. Talk also continues about a potential Century 21.

(Photo: CurbedNY)

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  • She’s Crafty

    Hmmm, I will be surpised if Sephora comes there. I think they’ve been closing stores (at least the one at Rock Center) and I wonder whether there’s really the market for it here. That said, I wouldn’t mind. Nordstrom=no way. MM is dreaming if he thinks they would come to that corner.

  • EHinBH

    Nordstrom would have been awsome there and really changed the game in keeping Heightsters in the area to shop. Sephora is just going to attract lunchtime court workers. I think we all need to realize that whole are, including Fulton Mall, is always going to be awful.

  • Mark


    What an “awful” opinion you have. Given time, and a rise in commercial real estate prices, the area will improve. Really, who thought there would be a Shake Shake here a few years ago?

  • resident

    EH, you can’t see a Nordstrom Rack on that corner? Really?

    Seems perfectly in line with other stores in the general area: Barney’s Co-op, etc.

  • C.

    When will work begin on the ground floor renovations to turn it into retail?

  • Terri

    Who needs Sephora? We could use Whole Foods. There isn’t a decent grocery store in BH.

  • Mark

    Whole food is coming, maybe not to right outside your house, but Gowanus is an easy bike ride away. And if you can’t find what you need between Trader Joe’s, Key Foods, Perlandra, and Garden of Eden I don’t know what to tell you.

  • EHinBH

    Resident — read more closely. I said it WOULD have been good there.

  • mlo

    Face it -stores that cater to lunchtime female shoppers are always going to do well around this area so Sephoras is a nuatural for that target group
    Terri – I dont know if i would shop in a supermarket that is directly on top of such a large subway hub -I would be concrened about rats & other rodents

  • malanga es malanga

    I am curious what other kinds of rodents would come out of the subway stop. Prairie dogs? Chinchillas? Flying squirrels?

  • Team Brooklyn

    It will be nice to get your marriage license and then visit Sephora. Or vice versa.

  • tpot

    I have seen drawings for an Apple Store in that space. That’s all I’m allowed to say on the subject.

  • She’s Crafty

    @tpot, nice. That would really be the ideal Brooklyn location for Apple, rather than Williamsburg, which is practically totally unaccessible by train these days. These rumors have been going around for some time, would be nice to finally have it settled. How can Staten Island get an Apple before us?

  • Maggie

    I already spend way too much at Sephora in my office neighborhood. I object to more temptation at home!

  • resident

    @EH – oops, yep, misread your statement.

  • Jorale-man

    My biggest hope would be that Sephora would clean up the area around the Municipal Building a bit – plant some trees, fix up the sidewalks, maybe wash the exterior of the facade. I’m sure a mid-level chain like that would want to put up a more welcoming face that what you see there now.

  • stuart

    Sephora? I don’t think so.
    Staples? Container Store? Pottery Barn? more likely.
    Any of these will help brighten that dark, desolate corner, which is only noted for its urban tumbleweed (a mix of newspaper, fast food wrappings, and plastic bags).

  • Monty

    @malanga, I’ve seen a small group of Capybaras foraging on the 4/5 platform.

  • Teddy


    I’m not sure if that would be the best location for a Apple Store, but better there than no Apple Store in the area. If it’s true, they better make sure it’s big enough to accommodate the loads of people who will visit.

  • David on Middagh

    Before we start pining for an Apple store, let’s ask ourselves: Do we really want to attract the kind of shoppers who will attract the kind of thieves who are attracted by the kind of slick consumer devices sold by the kind of company Apple is?

  • RF

    Whoever moves in there will be up against Closeout Connection across the street.

  • AEB

    I sometimes feel we’re all in the grip of a mass delusion–that BH will become the home of high-end specialty shops “curated” by hip folks who have dernier cri taste, etc.

    Ain’t gonna happen, much as I wish it would. BH is too small, its real estate too pricey, and its live-in “audience” too old/square. Sorry–I live here too–but….

  • She’s Crafty

    @AEB too funny!! But true.

  • Teddy


    You’re right. Then again, maybe that’s what makes the Heights so appealing to some in that it changes very slowly compared to other neighborhoods and in some ways never changes.

  • PromGal

    For most of us, living on the Heights is a choice. Whether newcomers or lifers, we choose to live here because it is a beautiful, peaceful, historic real community. Brooklyn Heights is America’s first suburb, and that is part of its appeal.
    We like the fact that there are no clubs or bars, that most places close relatively early, making for a civilized low crime lifestyle.
    We like the fact that there is every kind of restaurant, boutique, retailer, theater, opera, museum, just a short cab ride away.
    Life here on the Heights centers around family, friends, community, churches, sports and clubs. It is not a particularly diverse community; it definitely isnt hip ir cool. It is what it is.
    If you are not really happy here, there are so many other places that might suit your requirements.

  • WillowtownCop

    I have been entertained by mice playing in the window of Closeout Connection on more than one occasion.

    And no, it isn’t cool, but I would vote for Pottery Barn in that space. We have plenty of places to buy lip gloss and none to buy towels.

  • Amanda

    I read everyone’s comments and find myself in between all these choices for different reasons.

    For one thing, I happen to love Sephora stores and enjoy my periodic little “hunts” in them when in Manhattan, after doing a job on a show or on lunch break. Part of what makes it so special is THAT it’s in the “City,” which means it’s sort of an adventure for me. Not sure how much major a deal it would be to have it right down the street, maybe it would tamper with some of that magical feeling of going there.

    How much makeup and cream and beauty tools do we really need, anyhow? These are things we get on occasion, and then we have to use them and go on with our lives. If we spend all our time acquiring these things, there’s no time left to go and do the stuff we’re supposed to do that prompted these purchases in the first place!

    I also think an Apple Store would be good there, as there’s none in our area – but there too, it’s a neat adventure to go into Soho or Columbus Circle to visit the big Apple Stores there, and hopefully, the quality of the products does not necessitate constant repeat trips. Maybe for tech support, but lots of that is over the phone. If they gave classes in photo shop and other things like music recording it would be neat for me, tho.

    Now as for Pottery Barn, to be realistic, that sounds more “Heights-y.” There’s not much more I can squeeze into my apartment, but still it’s nice to roam around and get ideas and everything, and lots of people around here have lots of space to put things.

    There are many new people moving into the townhouses, condos, coops and they have young children, so they need things in there.

    As for more food places, we have plenty already and why take the business away from them?

    To come to think of it, we also have makeup/skin/haircare places in our area, like Ricky’s and Mac and several good drugstores where these products can also be found. On Court Street within one short block alone there are TWO Duane Reedes! Plus a Rite Aid and further down, CVS plus another one over on Henry Street.

    I heard word they were going to put a pizza shop where Overtures once was. Woa. Guess it will be popular, tho.

  • Tristan

    In the specific context of the Municipal Building space — as opposed to the broader discussion of what kind of retail we’d ideally like BH to have — the Borough Hall and downtown area is really a separate animal from the Heights. It’s right on top of the larger subway stops and adjacent to the government and office buildings, plus the traditional retail district of Fulton. The larger amount of foot traffic makes that area much more ripe for major retail.

    My concern is that everyone’s all excited at the prospect of shiny new stores and not paying enough attention to the potential effect on our smaller businesses. I don’t know if turning downtown Brooklyn into an outdoor version of the Paramus Mall — like parts of midtown, or Broadway in Soho — is really an unalloyed good.

    The questions we have to make sure to ask — not only in BH but in Fort Greene, Cobble, Boerum, and Park Slope — are:
    (1) is the new chain store providing something that our current retailers are not?
    (2) if there’s overlap, aren’t we cannibalizing our own retail districts and harming the fabric and livability of the surrounding neighborhoods?

    Ideally we can get some new chain stores that provide a totally new good for the area — like an Apple, or possibly a Pottery Barn — and which would in turn draw additional shoppers to the area. A rising tide that would lift all boats.

  • JustANeighbor

    I would worry for City Chemist if Sephora were to open up there. They’re doing a great job of filling that niche right now and have been a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.