Is Bushwick ready for a mini-mall?

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Everyone knows that Bushwick has arrived — but will the shoppers follow?

The developer of a project that will bring 20 new shops to the often-hyped, but still largely underdeveloped, neighborhood certainly hopes so.

“The area still is a gamble,” admitted Israel Hirsch, vice president of Bushburg Properties, whose building, The Loom, is on Thames Street near Flushing Avenue. “But we put a lot of money into the space, as well as a lot of time, effort and aggravation. Hopefully it will be worth it.”

If The Loom’s soft opening on May 9 was any indication, it definitely was. Hirsch says the building was packed with locals who finished 25 kegs of beer by 11 pm.

“We had to close at 1 am,” he said. “But no one wanted to leave.”

The company is hoping that The Loom will spark the creation of a new neighborhood with one foot in the underdeveloped Bushwick and another in the gentrified East Williamsburg. This spirit is spelled out in the company’s name, Bushburg.

The building has been transformed from an old pillow factory into what Bushburg Properties hopes will be an eclectic mix of local off-beat stores. Above the mini-mall are several floors of lofts, which have already filled up, but only around 30 percent of The Loom’s storefronts, which go for about $1,500 a month for spaces that range from 600 to more than 1,000 square feet, have been rented so far.

Bushburg President Joseph Hoffman said chain companies, including McDonald’s, approached him to rent out large portions of the building. But he rejected inquiries from such large chains, prefering smaller, start-up businesses that will allow him to divide the mall into many small storefronts — similar to the example set by Mayer Schwartz, whose Bedford Mini Mall in Williamsburg used the same formula.

Kirby Desmarais, who lives a few blocks from The Loom and plans to open Water Tower Decks and Ink, a tattoo and skateboard shop, is exited about the space and hopes that it will bring new life to the neighborhood, where’s she’s lived for several years.

“We want to give younger teenage kids who can’t go to bars a place to hang out,” said Desmarais.

The Loom’s courtyard, with European style cobblestone, ivy, trees, free WiFi, and benches to lounge on, may prove to be just the right space for the under-21 crowd, that is if the post-teens aren’t bothered by the smell of Waste Management’s Varick Street transfer station just a few blocks away.

Desmarais noted that the neighborhood has changed recently, and said she was concerned that the new hipster destination would expedite gentrication.

But the tattoo enthusiast may be getting ahead of herself. There’s still plenty of heavy lifting to do before The Loom can open for business, and if Hoffman can’t fill all those storefronts he may wish he had accepted McDonald’s offer.

Updated 5:13 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

DonnerParty from ——nuts says:
She needs to call her trust fund an lose 20 lbs and she'll be fine.
June 30, 2009, 7:50 am
Israel Hirsch from Volks ashtray says:
Jews with overpriced real estate? Surprise surprise.
June 30, 2009, 7:54 am
Brooklyn Girl from Midwood says:
Another neighborhood taken over by rich kids from the suburbs who think they have discovered something new. Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Crown Heights, Carroll Gardens..we were here before you..Cool down your attitudes.
June 30, 2009, 9:59 am
Goyo from Los Sures says:
THere's no pedestrian traffic, the mall will fail.
June 30, 2009, 3:53 pm
Jim James from Buhwick says:
Kim, you are a gentrifier too, don't forget that.
June 30, 2009, 5:07 pm
Matt from bushwick says:
And that brooklyn girl is why no one wants to go live in Midwood. Idiot.
June 30, 2009, 5:42 pm
john from bensonhurst says:
she could do to lose a little weight.
July 18, 2009, 3:58 pm
Lando from Bushwick says:
Kirby Desmarais is also a notorious crook and thief (not to mention emotionally unstable). Bushburg Properties venture may not last if they expect people like her to pay the rent.
Sept. 16, 2009, 4:31 pm
Victoria from UES says:
She looks like the Hamburgler in drag...

Sept. 16, 2009, 10:38 pm
Mw from bushwick says:
I don't see what her weight has to do with any thing. It's soooo typical for people to attack a woman in business or media because of her weight. You're all probably a bunch of fat pbr guzzling hipsters yourself.
It's like the pot calling the kettle black!

Although I do agree that due to the economic state of the entire us and bushwick it is unknown if it will succeed or not. However, it's nice to see some new stores opening up besides thrift stores and scary dirty existing delis and mexican music shops.

This place needs a regular grocery store without overpriced gourmet or "organic" overpriced hipster food. We need a place with more selection.
Not bread for $6 a loaf because some hippy baked it up and packaged it.

It's so funny that so many people in this area are against capitalism and yet they thrive on it by sewing old rags together and calling it designer because they created it or baked some bread!

Let's get real bushwick!
Btw, even though its tacky-- I would have let mcdonalds in at least that attracts foot traffic.
Feb. 22, 2010, 1:09 am
Sick of Bushburg from bushwick says:
I lived here 11 long years of my life in this area....And no one outside of this area has done any good for this area. Instead of helping they push the poor out of there homes and tell them they dont care where u move. Just far away from here cause you might scare away people that make 50,000 a year and can afford the out landish prices they set for an apartment that is worth 900 not 1.500. You want to do something good for this area. Make a free center for the teens to get help and better themselves caus if not this area will be back to the way it was no time flat....
Jan. 17, 2011, 5:15 am

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