Court appeals to chains - Brooklyn Paper

Court appeals to chains

Totes nabe: Sephora employee Laciann Buchanan holds up a bag at the store’s opening on Joralemon Street at Court Street.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

There’s a new order on Court.

The few blocks of Court Street that have long stitched Downtown to Brooklyn Heights are undergoing a corporate overhaul and the opening of chain makeup store Sephora in the ground floor of a municipal building and the downsizing of neighborhood staple Bruno’s Hardware signal that the stretch’s transformation from a mom-and-pop oasis to brand central is almost complete. Some shoppers we spoke to are excited about the changes.

“It’s about time large retailers paid attention to Downtown Brooklyn!” said Cheyenne Kinch, a woman at the Sephora opening on Nov. 1.

In recent years, the classic commercial strip has seen the opening of a Game Stop, a Barnes and Noble, fast food restaurants and frozen yogurt shops, making it look more like Manhattan’s Upper West Side than the lawyer lane immortalized in the movie “Smoke.”

Next door to the powder-and-compact outlet in the ground floor of the Brooklyn Municipal Building at Joralemon Street, a branch of the international candy seller It’Sugar is slated to open in February 2014. The company already has a location in Coney Island, while the Sephora branch is Brooklyn’s first.

Sephor-ia: Cheyenne Kinch of Kensington shops at Sephora on opening day.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

One block down Court Street near Schermerhorn Street, the generations-old Bruno’s Hardware will downsize by half if realtors find a willing tenant for the retail space that currently houses the store’s garden center.

“We’re dealing with a lot of interest for the space,” said Gal Horovits, one of the realtors shopping around the two-level digs that she says are perfect for a restaurant.

Nearby, Downtown has seen huge residential growth and big retailers are eyeing the area’s commercial strips, including Court Street and the Fulton Street Mall, with fresh eyes.

“There is a lot of opportunity in the Brooklyn beauty market,” said Ninoska Rosa, director of Brooklyn’s Sephora, calling the new branch “a premiere location” because it is large enough to allow for the traditional Sephora layout, which lets makeup mavens try on their goods before buying them.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.
Space race: A real estate company is looking to rent out half of Bruno’s Hardware on Court Street.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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