On ‘Point’: Downtown mall finally opens with Century 21 outlet

On ‘Point’: Downtown mall finally opens with Century 21 outlet
Community News Group / Lauren Gill

They’re finally getting to the Point.

Downtown’s new City Point mall officially opened for businesses on Tuesday with the arrival of Century 21 and early shoppers gave their thumbs up for the center’s lone emporium, saying they’re thrilled they no longer have to schlep out to the Bay Ridge branch of the popular discount department store or, even worse, visit Manhattan.

“It’s great, I love it, it’s right near where I work so I don’t have to take the train to go into Manhattan,” said Crown Heights resident Anne Belfon, who has been shopping at Century 21 for 32 years and hit the Fulton Mall outpost on its opening day. “This is just like what they have in Manhattan, it’s just as good.”

The new store spans two stories and includes a Brooklyn Roasting cafe.

Century 21 is still the only place to shop in the delay-plagued complex right now — most of the other storefronts were still hidden behind temporary walls on Tuesday, though the planned Target branch looked like it was nearing completion.

Hip Texan cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse was supposed to launch seven screens and a “House of Wax”-inspired bar on the top levels in August, but the owners have since pushed the opening date back indefinitely, citing only vague “setbacks.”

Tiki-themed grocery chain Trader Joe’s was also planning on opening a supermarket there this fall, but has revised its launch to sometime next year.

The center is also slated to include a slick subterranean food court that will include branches of Katz’s Delicatessen, Fletcher’s Brooklyn Barbecue, and the Arepa Lady.

Next to the retail portion of the property, the block-long mega-development also includes two luxury residential towers, and a third one is on the way.

Delays are nothing new for City Point — developers Acadia Realty Trust and Washington Square Partners bought the site for $125 million in 2007 but the project flatlined as the economy tanked, and the Feds eventually pulled out a defibrillator in the form of $20 million in tax-exempt stimulus bonds in 2009.

Activists railed against the bailout at the time, arguing the shopping center — which replaced Albee Square Mall, long a hub of black commerce and hip-hop culture in Kings County — would contribute to the rapid gentrification of Downtown, which has seen scores of big-brand chains replace mom and pop shops along Fulton Mall.

Still, local shoppers say they like the new retail option now it is there.

“It’s a nice upgrade for this area,” said Downtown worker Milford Lewis, who especially dug Century 21’s cafe area, though he thinks the store’s prices are a little steep. “They are making shopping really amenable and comfortable to people when they come here and that’s what it’s all about, it’ll probably encourage people to spend a little more.”

— with Lauren Gill

Reach deputy editor Ruth Brown at rbrow[email protected]local.com or by calling (718) 260–8309. Follow her at twitter.com/rbbrown.
Shut-up shops: Most of the City Point stores are still under constuction.
Community News Group / Lauren Gill