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Is this the start of a Barclays Center gold rush? • Brooklyn Paper

Is this the start of a Barclays Center gold rush?

Triangle Sports employee Asante Breland poses in front of the 96-year-old store on Flatbush Avenue, which will soon close its doors as chains vie for the prime location across from the soon-to-be opened Barclays Center.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

The owners of a 96-year-old sporting goods store directly across the street from the nearly finished home of the Brooklyn Nets are cashing out — putting their building up for sale in what speculators say is the beginning of a real estate gold rush sparked by the opening of the new arena.

Triangle Sports owner Henry Rosa said he and his partner, William Shapiro — whose grandparents opened the shop as an Army surplus outfit in 1916 — made to decision to sell after the offers started trickling in over the summer from businesses eager to get in on the action near the soon-to-be-completed Barclays Center.

“Because of the arena, the value has gone up quite a bit,” said Rosa, who hinted that the building could garner millions of dollars. “We’ve gotten solicited by a lot of people making offers and I thought I could be here another 100 years and never make what I’d get for it now.”

The oddly shaped sporting goods store has already gotten the attention of McDonald’s, which eyed the triangular lot bounded by Flatbush Avenue, Fifth Avenue, and Dean Street, a spokesperson from the burger purveyors said.

TerraCRG, the real estate company marketing the Triangle Sports property, has been using the site’s location just steps from the entrance of the Barclays Center — where the Nets are scheduled to take the court this fall after concerts by rap mogul Jay-Z — as one of its main selling points.

“The Barclays Center and Atlantic Yards development will add exponentially to this demand, causing rents in the already scarce available retail space to surge based on proximity to the stadium,” the firm wrote in a glossy pamphlet marketing the property.

Experts say the streets around the behemoth arena could experience a significant shift with the addition of thousands of sports fans passing through for the Nets home games. That makes a property like Triangle Sports a no-brainer for would-be investors, said broker and real estate expert Chris Havens.

“It’s worth an awful lot — it is such an unusual property,” said Havens. “It will make a great bar or restaurant space.”

As megadeveloper Bruce Ratner nears his goal of bringing the Nets to Brooklyn — just one part of his controversial Atlantic Yards housing and hoops plan — neighborhood opposition has shifted from attempts to halt the project entirely to efforts to preserve the community’s character.

Some arena neighbors have fought against new pubs in the neighborhood that they believe are targeting Nets fans, disparaging a nine-month-old sports bar on Pacific Street and badgering the proprietor of another planned sports bar until he opened a “farm-to-table” restaurant more in line with the kinds of eateries common in Park Slope.
Rosa says that he is holding out for just the right offer before he begins “playing golf everyday” — but he says he’s not just letting just anybody take over the unique building.

“I’m going to be selective who we give it to,” said Rosa, who lives in Brooklyn Heights. “I’m not just going to go to the highest bidder — I’m cognizant of the ramifications.”

Rosa wants to trade peddling Levi’s for playing the links — but the boom he’s banking on is anything but certain, according to some real estate insiders.

“There’s a lot of anticipation in that area,” said Ken Freeman, a Park Slope agent and a vice president with Massey Knakal. “A lot of owners think that gold is going to rain from the sky, but only time will tell if that’s true.”

Gold has not rained on Triangle Sports from its shelves of workmen’s clothes from American brands like Carhartt and Levi’s — the company used to operate eight other locations in the city according the Wall Street Journal, who first reported the flagship shop’s closure.

“The demographics of the area have changed so much that my customer base — blue collar workers — has gone,” said Rosa, who laments that even the recent boost he’s gotten from arena construction workers will soon disappear when the sports facility is finished.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at twitter.com/emrosenberg.

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