Downtown boosters high on City Point project

Downtown boosters high on City Point project
Community Newspaper Group / Andy Campbell

Workers finally broke ground on Monday on the long-stalled retail center that’s supposed to be the savior of the Fulton Mall.

The first segment of the Downtown City Point project — which received a $20-million tax-exempt federal stimulus last year — will consist of a four-story shopping center with what officials are calling “first-class retailers” at the site of the former Albee Square Mall near DeKalb Avenue.

There are no details on the building’s tenants yet, but developers and electeds are counting on its potential to speed the slow transformation of Fulton Mall back to what it historically was: an upscale shopping strip.

“[City Point] will breathe new life into Downtown Brooklyn’s business community and will serve as an anchor for the businesses on Fulton Street,” said Borough President Markowitz. “Every day we become more of a destination for people living in Lower Manhattan.”

The retail center got a bailout last year with the $20 million, but that money underwrites only a small portion of project, which is slated to include a 65-story tower that would be Brooklyn’s tallest, and as many as 700 units of housing. Under current zoning, the site, which fronts Fulton Street Mall but extends north to Flatbush Avenue, has no height limit.

Albee Development officials didn’t respond to inquiries about a current timeline, but they have said that part of the retail space and about 262 apartments would be finished in 2012. They purchased the long-term lease for the land from Coney Island developer Joe Sitt for a reported $125 million in 2007.