Not just Ikea: Red Hook waterfront could become big box Mecca

Remember those 70,000 extra square feet of retail space that the city approved at the Ikea site? The Stoop hears that part of the space will be filled by a Bed Bath & Beyond.

A source says that the linen and toiletry giant is interested in becoming part of the Swedish furniture retailer’s location on the Hook’s waterfront.

Ikea denied any plans to bring the so-called “B3” to the property, formerly a shipyard.

“While the project received approvals for development of several outparcels on the Red Hook property along with our store, we are focused solely on building and opening our IKEA store,” said spokesman Joseph Roth.

“We currently do not have plans underway for other [retail locations] at this point.”

Perhaps, but Ikea’s approval from the city did include a provision for more than 70,000 additional square feet of retail. The average Bed Bath & Beyond store is 30,000 — but the chain has recently been opening stores twice that size.

In the past, Roth has spoken favorably of Bed Bath & Beyond, which shares a parking lot at an Ikea location in Paramus, New Jersey.

“Ikea and [Bed Bath & Beyond] assortments overlap relatively little, and good neighbors can make the location even more of a draw for customers,” Roth told a trade publication, DSN Retailing Today, in 2005.

Red Hook residents said that they would discourage the New Jersey–based home furnishings store from coming to the neighborhood.

“Any additional stores will increase the level of environmental damage to Red Hook,” said John McGettrick, co-chair of the Red Hook Civic Association and a longtime critic of the project because of the toll it will take on the historic community.

Ikea’s plans include parking spaces for 1,400 cars as well as a waterfront esplanade that will include a docking space for water taxis. Even without any neighbors, the mega-store is expected to bring a considerable amount of traffic to the neighborhood’s cobble-stoned streets.

McGettrick said that his group planned to warn other retailers that building in the community would damage their reputation.

“If [these stores] are concerned about the environment, the roads and the safety of children, they will not set up shop,” he said.

A supporter of the project, Ray Hall of Red Hook Rise, which develops academic, employment and athletic opportunities for local kids, said he had not heard about any new retail at the Ikea site — but said he would support it.

“This community needs economic development,” Hall said.

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