At first glance, it looks like H&M is planning to open a new store on the corner of Flushing and Wyckoff avenues in Bushwick but closer inspection shows the clothing retailer is investing in some showy marketing in the area, a visit Thursday revealed.
The building at 1188 Flushing Avenue, which sits between the Jefferson Street subway station on Wyckoff Avenue and the corner intersection with Flushing, is completely wrapped in H&M signage along the Wyckoff and Flushing Avenue frontages advertising the Swedish company’s fall/winter collection.
When Brooklyn Paper’s sister publication Brownstoner called the number listed for the building’s rental on Friday morning, an employee said she didn’t know if an H&M would be opening in the location and said the building is still up for rent. A peek inside did not turn up racks of woolen coats and earthy-colored turtlenecks, but rather a bare warehouse.
According to city documents, the industrial brick building was bought by Flushing 1124 LLC for $2 million in 2015. David Moore is a listed signatory for the LLC.
PropertyShark and Google Maps show it housed Mery Steelworks since at least 2006 until sometime before 2011. Reiko Wireless Accessories then took over the space before the building was sold in 2015. A “for rent” sign appeared on the building in 2016.
The building has been completely transformed in the years since, thanks to a renovation that started in 2019. The original red brick, for years obscured by layers of paint, has been uncovered and restored. Large glass windows replaced blank walls and metal roll-down gates along both street-facing sides of the building. The construction fence came down in 2020, but the “for rent” sign has remained.
The updated building is cleaner, more attractive and far more noticeable than it was in its warehouse incarnation. With its big windows running alongside the sidewalk, it would appear suitable for a store, gallery, restaurant or office — and perhaps higher rents.
H&M currently has two Brooklyn locations: Kings Plaza Mall and Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn. A move to Bushwick would be an odd one for the retailer, which has shut hundreds of stores over the last few years and plans to shut more as it adapts to the online shopping environment.
Currently, there are no other big box retailers in the neighborhood, but a visit did show an increasing number of vintage clothing stores lining the streets of the formerly industrial area. It has morphed into a local nightlife hub in recent years.
Online, commenters had mixed reactions. One wrote on Reddit: “I saw this the other day and nearly s**t. It better just be an ad. I can’t imagine H&M would want to open in Bushwick, though, so fingers crossed. Personally holding out hope for an ice cream shop.” While another said: “it makes sense – lots of young people.”
A version of this story originally appeared on Brooklyn Paper’s sister publication Brownstoner.