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Apple of their eye: Microsoft ‘banks’ on Brooklyn for first store • Brooklyn Paper

Apple of their eye: Microsoft ‘banks’ on Brooklyn for first store

The retail space inside One Hanson Place, originally the Williamsburgh Savings Bank, has been landmarked and cannot be changed much.
Prudential Douglas Elliman

Forget the Apple store — what about the nation’s first Microsoft store?

That’s what the new brokers at One Hanson Place say might be moving into one of the borough’s premier retail spaces, the former Willliamsburgh Savings Bank in the renovated residential building’s ground floor.

“We’ve talked to Apple about opening their first Brooklyn store, and we’ve also talked to Microsoft about opening the first retail store,” said Faith Hope Consolo, chairwoman of Prudential Douglas Elliman’s retail leasing and sales division.

Consolo said the soaring, 33,000-square-foot, two-level site — which cannot be altered because it’s landmarked — represents “a great opportunity” to bring “top level retail” to the confluence of Fort Greene, Downtown and Park Slope.

She said her company, which will lease the former bank space for $2 million per year or sell it outright as a single “commercial condo,” has been talking to other high-end outfits, including Barneys, Sony and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

She would not reveal the selling price.

A rendering put out by the company depicted an upscale-looking Pottery Barn, but Consolo cautioned against taking the mock-up literally.

But she is pushing retail at the site, which once came close to becoming a huge Borders bookstore.

“I think they wasted too much time on the Borders deal, frankly,” Consolo said. “A bookstore would have been nice, but the book business has changed. It’s not an option now.”

With its two-story windows, 55-foot-ceilings and Gilded-Age interior, the store won’t appeal to every retailer, Consolo admitted. But it will appeal to the right one.

“This is about aesthetics and image,” she said. “That space has drama! Drama!

“People compromise space for price in their apartments, so why shouldn’t our retail be exciting?” she added.

Apple, which once looked as if it might open its first Brooklyn store at One Hanson Place, is now rumored to be looking in Williamsburg and Downtown.

The maker of the Macintosh computer, iPods and the iPhone sells software, hardware and computer wizardry at the “Genius Bar” inside its jam-packed stores in Manhattan and Staten Island. But it is yet to open an outlet in Brooklyn, despite the fact that 20 percent of BrooklynPaper.com visitors work on a Mac, which encompasses less than seven percent of the personal computer market.

Microsoft, by comparison, does not have retail outlets (not counting the Mother’s Day photo studio that the company set up last month on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights). The company does not manufacture personal computers, but does offer a range of devices, including Zune MP3 players and Xbox game systems. And it produces the world’s leading computer operating system and software — Windows and Office.

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