The Fulton Mall was dealt a heavy blow last week after plans for a major retailer fell through — but Downtown boosters are still bullish on the strip’s renaissance.
Filene’s Basement — a depot for cut-price designer goods — announced that it would close all of its 46 stores, dashing plans for the first Brooklyn location slated for the shopping mall near Bond Street.
The bad news, however, didn’t faze city officials, who point to a slew of upmarket shops that are moving in over the next year — including Shake Shack, H&M and Express.
“Fulton Mall has long been one of the most-desired retail locations in America,” said Michael Burke, interim president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “The bankruptcy is unfortunate, but we are confident that many other major retailers will make Fulton Street their home.”
The Fulton Mall wasn’t always such a hot-ticket corridor. In recent years, new and higher-end development has replaced low-end shops that were a staple of the once rundown strip.
The future Filene’s building — across from Albee Square and the long-stalled City Point development — has two other tenants on tap: Planet Fitness on the second floor and an Express on the ground floor, launching by summer 2012.
Long Island University moved dorms into the top floors of the building in September — harboring a built-in audience for a future retail tenant.
As such, some Fulton Mall regulars were disappointed that Filene’s Basement won’t be part of the retail revival.
“Filene’s would have fit in here,” said Debbie Lyons, who works nearby as a dental assistant. “It has the family atmosphere, that’s what I like about it. What are they going to use it for now?”
Good question. Representatives from Crown Acquisitions, which bought the property in 2010 for $60 million, would not comment.
— with Colin Mixson
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