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Century 21 will open on Fulton Mall • Brooklyn Paper

Century 21 will open on Fulton Mall

FIRST LOOK: This rendering shows the gigantic residential tower, center, plus a shorter skyscraper that developers are planning for the site of the demolished Albee Square Mall on Flatbush Avenue Extension between Dekalb Avenue and Willoughby Street Downtown.
Photo by Moses Jefferson

Discount chain Century 21 will become the first new department store on the Fulton Mall in nearly 90 years when it sets up shop in a massive space in the planned City Point development in 2015.

The seller of last season’s designer goods will take up most of the first, second, and third floors of a DeKalb Avenue building and the third and fourth floors of a planned structure on Albee Square — bringing new life to a shopping strip that boasted a half-dozen department stores during its heyday in the 1950s, said project spokesman Tom Montvel-Cohen.

“Fulton Mall always was a shopping center for all of Brooklyn and it will be that again,” Montvel-Cohen said.

The only survivor of Downtown’s lost department store era is Macy’s, which took over the legendary space between Gallatin Place and Hoyt Street that housed the hometown company Abraham & Straus.

Electronics outlets, jewelry merchants, and shoe stores dominated the corridor in the decades after the department stores died off — but in recent years national retailers such as Aeropostale, Aldo, and the Gap have set up shop on the Fulton Mall.

Montvel-Cohen said Downtown’s Century 21 will be the “anchor” for City Point, a commercial and residential development replacing the old Albee Square Mall and adjoining lots with retail space and two skyscrapers — one slated to become the tallest building in the borough.

The store will be two-and-a-half times the size of Century 21’s Bay Ridge location and about the same size as the department store’s popular branch in lower Manhattan, store spokeswoman Heather Feinmel said.

“We see the new Fulton Street project as a great opportunity to expand our reach in the Brooklyn community,” Feinmel said. “We love Brooklyn and are eager to expand our brand to its residents.”

City Point was touted as the centerpiece of the Fulton Mall’s resurgence — but cash for the development dried up in 2008 and the project only managed to break ground after securing $20 million in bonds from the federal stimulus package.

The arrival of Century 21 could be the death knell to the DeKalb Market, a flea market housed in several reused shipping containers that opened last summer.

Market spokeswoman Liz Rees said they’d gotten no notice of eviction but have been expecting one.

“We knew all along that we were just an interim project,” said Rees.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. https://twitter.com/#!/WillBredderman

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