Apple store in Brooklyn: Our definitive spec story

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VOTE: Where should Apple open its first Brooklyn store?

The Brooklyn Paper
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Journalists around the world are scrambling to write speculative stories about Apple in the days before the company’s much-ballyhooed Sept. 12 announcement — and so are we!

But this newspaper cares not about the latest iPhone minutiae or miniature iPad rumor — we just want to know where Apple will open its first store in Brooklyn. We contacted the tech giant and heard nothing back, so we called in Brooklyn commercial real estate expert Chris Havens and started hypothesizing about where Apple will plant its roots when it finally settles in this Mac-loving borough. Here are the front-runners:

182 Flatbush Ave.

Apple is famous for its glass cube — but the makers of MacBooks could have their own glass triangular prism if they come to Brooklyn. The three-sided plot that houses Triangle Sporting Goods is up for sale, and the space just steps from the soon-to-open Barclays Center and Brooklyn’s biggest transit hub could make for an iconic home for the borough’s first Apple store. The footprint is a bit small compared to many of the brand’s shops, but Apple has been known to compromise — and the location boasts high visibility, plenty of foot traffic, and lots of eager laptop-toting shoppers in nearby Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Boerum Hill, and Fort Greene.

Havens’s take: “That would be a great location, but I don’t know if it’s big enough.”

1 Hanson Pl.

Apple isn’t afraid of history — the iPhone inventors abided by strict city regulations to set up shop inside the landmarked interior of Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal. So what’s stopping Apple from doing the same thing in the famous Williamsburgh Savings Bank? The cavernous former bank — which is the wintertime home of the Brooklyn Flea — boasts a stunning and similarly landmarked interior that could wow shoppers with little modification. That’s a good thing, because little modification is allowed due to its historic status.

Havens’s take: “Landmarks doesn’t want the interior to change. There are the teller cages and the tables — none of that could be touched.”

Empire Stores

DUMBO offers almost everything that Apple coverts: an iconic retail space, a posh neighborhood, and a techy community filled with Mac users. The builders of Brooklyn Bridge Park are seeking tenants for the historic Empire Stores — a Civil War-era warehouse with a prime location alongside the waterfront tourist attraction. Apple would need to do lots of work to convert the building into one of its glitzy retail outposts. But upon opening, there would be plenty of foot-traffic from well-heeled tourists, not to mention customers from the web businesses that work in the neighborhood and DUMBO residents capable of paying Brooklyn’s highest rents.

Havens’s take: “The interior is not practical. And that location is not yet a 24-hour location.”

247 Bedford Ave.

Williamsburg is the global capital of cool — and its already bustling business strip is poised to become an even bigger commercial corridor once a planned Whole Foods opens up shop on Bedford Avenue at N. Fourth Street. Could the arrival of a high-end supermarket could pave the way for a high-end computer store? If Apple really wants the skinny jean-set, the tech titan could snag a primo storefront one block away at the corner of N. Third Street that used to be home to the Bagel Store.

The vacant space has already been the center of much speculation — including rumors of a possible J. Crew takeover. Sources familiar with the building tell us a brand with an even higher profile is eying the space. But if Apple’s first Kings County shop is in Williamsburg, it could be tough to draw all of those Mac fans who live in Brownstone Brooklyn.

Havens’s take: “I don’t think it covers enough of Brooklyn. That space would work great if they want to do more than one store, which I hope they do.”

Kings Plaza

The Kings Plaza Shopping Center is about as far from the gentrified bustle of Brownstone Brooklyn and Williamsburg as possible — but a retail space doesn’t need blog buzz to make business sense. An Apple in Marine Park is a long shot, but the mall is already a home to major national retailers including a Best Buy, H&M, Aldo, and Express. And Apple doesn’t shy away for malls. Scoff all you want, but shoppers in suburban Long Island currently enjoy four Apple stores, while Brooklynites continue taking the train to Manhattan whenever they need to get to the Genius Bar.

Havens’s take: “It’s hard to imagine that.”

Reader poll

Where should Apple open in Brooklyn?

Updated 5:35 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ApplePie from Bushwick says:
What happened to 274 Bedford Ave. on the ballot?
Was their petition ruled invalid?
That darn Lopez must be a PC.
Sept. 7, 2012, 12:45 am
ronco0807 from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Why not locate in one of the grand old department stores along Fulton Mall. Fulton Mall has seen a big resurgence in upscale stores, has lots of foot traffic, is close to transportation and has a continuing large residential population close by as well as the Barclay Center. Rehabilitation one of the old department stores would give Apple a huge space and a grand appearance in the center of the new revitalized Downtown Brooklyn.
Sept. 7, 2012, 7:45 am
Coney Isle from Unhip Brooklyn says:
I am tired of people thinking that only "cool and hip" neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Downtown, Carroll Gardens/Cobble Hill are the only places in Brooklyn. This is a huge borough with lots of wonderful neighborhood that do not show up on the charts, but remain fantastic places to live, work and shop. Those of us in Midwood, Flatbush, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Canarsie, Flatlands, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and Coney Island count too. Bring an Apple store to our communities. And hey, bring some respect to us too.
Sept. 7, 2012, 8:29 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
The Triangle Sporting Goods building is the best bet. Close to Barclays, close to BAM, close to the rapidly upscaling neighborhoods surrounding that area. The foot traffic is already robust, and will grow stronger. The luxury high-rise residential buildings that have been built and that are yet to come mean the demographics for Apple will get even better. DUMBO and Williamsburg are good choices, too, but more subway lines and activities converge on Flatbush.
Sept. 7, 2012, 9:25 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Coney Isle, I agree with you. Other neighborhoods in Brooklyn get short shrift. Those you named, plus Clinton Hill, Sunset Park, Kensington, Bay Ridge (despite its haters like SwampYankee) and many others are great places to live and work.
Sept. 7, 2012, 9:33 am
Eustace Tilly from Manhattan says:
Manhattan, of course.
Sept. 7, 2012, 9:36 am
Avi from sheepshead bay says:
The triangle place is way too small for apple. They always require serious sq footage. Out of the given choices I see only 2 possible options:

1. 1 Hanson Pl.

2. Kings plaza mall
Sept. 7, 2012, 9:50 am
Bikerchic650 from Prospect Lefferts Gardens says:
while i love king plaza, billyburg, etc. I think it needs to go where there is a major transportation hub. Say Flatbush, near downtown. or even near Barclay center. I think it would do well and could afford to stay open 24hrs. Besides i don't need another reason to have those cookies in KP. : )
Sept. 7, 2012, 9:50 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Perhaps one good suggestion would to place the store in a neighborhood (or, "hood") that contains more seeds? That way all of the theives would be in the same place. Now, I've always been against crime, but this way at least we know where it will be. And pardon me, but maybe the police would eventually catch on and make more arrests and place these lawbreakers behind bars once and for all.
Sept. 7, 2012, 11:27 am
Samantha from atlantic says:
we would lovre to see it downtown brooklyn flatbush and Atlantic ave lots of traffic.

also not to forget conelyand
Sept. 7, 2012, 11:47 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
An Apple store in Williamsburg, and reinforce/aggravate the radically declining production in the area in favor of more posturing/postulation?

A smarter question would have been, "How do we get Apple MANUFACTURING, or better, Apple R&D, in Williamsburg?"
Sept. 7, 2012, 12:13 pm
Malembi from BK says:
Triagle sports building? Really? Are you ——ing retarded?
Sept. 7, 2012, 12:20 pm
manhatposeur from manhatland says:
If Apple is really edgy & pioneering, lets see them set up a 24 hour shop out in Bushwick.
Sept. 7, 2012, 12:23 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Let's put some context and perspective [egad, no! run!] on "creative economy," currently awash in self-congratulatory rhetoric, because this bears down on "whether Apple will open a store anywhere in Brooklyn." That a term like "creative economy" can even be used where Real Estate and Obamacare are the most significant factors in of itself begs question, but what is most creative here are "perspectives."

"Silicon Valley" was already underway and earned its name some ten years after the term's coining--in a period when trending cycles were much longer due to the vicissitudes of existing in a pre-Internet era. Gentrification in Williamsburg has been underway for THIRTY YEARS and yet rhetoric is audacious enough to make claim over the words "creative" and "economy." THIRTY YEARS and NO hub, center or office of technology exists in Williamsburg. The upcoming Steiner Studios to the south and west may bring relief, but is socially and geographically marginal to Williamsburg and her gentrification. That development will likely have much more significance in Ft. Greene.

Otherwise, terms like "technology hub" are stretched beyond their definition over firms like Kickstarter, soon operating in Greenpoint, and to justify audacity over the use of terms like "creative economy." Kickstarter is NOT a technology firm. Kickstarter is more appropriately an aggregate funds-raising site. It does not innately produce anything whatsoever. In fact, it is more consumptive than creative.

Ergo, THERE IS NO CREATIVE ECONOMY IN WILLIAMSBURG. THERE IS INSTEAD A RADICAL CONSUMPTIVE ECONOMY. It is entirely reliant on "cool," that persons will continue to dine at the cafes and visit the growing insignificant galleries. Once that is over, our most serious problems begin.
Sept. 7, 2012, 12:33 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Excuse me, that "upcoming Steiner Studios" is "that upcoming media hub extension of Steiner Studios." Steiner Studios is already established and operating.
Sept. 7, 2012, 12:37 pm
connie from kings plaza says:
How about a Barnes and Noble in southern part of Bklyn. instead?
Sept. 7, 2012, 2:36 pm
richie from rich says:
Sept. 7, 2012, 2:53 pm
al from downtown says:
the now vacant municipal building, it's a natural spot with plenty of transportation and plenty of cops in the area to keepa check on the local trash.
Sept. 7, 2012, 4:17 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Interesting how so many of the comments here think they're productive with all the hateful interlacing.
Sept. 7, 2012, 4:25 pm
VoiceOfTruth from 11211 says:
How about a mental hospital in Williamsburg for people who write long-winded psuedo-technical gibberish on fluff pieces about anything, and then correct themselves and reply to themselves ad nauseu?
Sept. 7, 2012, 4:29 pm
C. from BK says:
Who made this poll?

How about the Municipal building or Fulton Street? Adams Street? Somewhere on Flatbush near Barclays Center?
Sept. 7, 2012, 4:55 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:

Emily, stop embarrassing yourself.
Sept. 7, 2012, 5:04 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Also, learn to spell. I'm sorry I can't spew hate in tweets for twits--the issue requires more than you can handle, apparently.
Sept. 7, 2012, 5:05 pm
Richard Martinez from Billysonburg says:
Take a look at "VoiceofTruth"'s DISQUS profile on the Gothamist site. Each post by this supposed "Truther" on Williamsburg is paragraphs and paragraphs long on some BS nonsense about Greenpoint or Williamsburg. In fact, this last post is the shortest post Truthiness' ever written, and is always filled with nonsense defending real estate developers. I just don't know where Truthiness gets off calling anyone "long-winded" or "pseudo-technical" or saying they belong in a "mental hospital." Sounds like jealousy to me.
Sept. 7, 2012, 5:53 pm
Richard Martinez from Billysonburg says:
Here's one-post by Truthiness where the wind gets long but she or he only notices in other people, and talk about "pseudo-technical"!:

"1. Greenpoint is not a cancer cluster anymore, it was decades ago but the evidence shows no higher incidence of cancers than any other neighborhoods in Brooklyn. I think Park Slope actually has higher incidences of things like child leukemia these days. Nevertheless, I'm sure a few dongbottles will throw that out there and say something like "good they'll all die of cancer in a few years." We all drink the same water now.

2. Greenpoint is isolated. The G and a ferry stop at India street is not going to make it the next big thing. Williamsburg has the L which gets you to Manhattan in 2 minutes and allows you to get anywhere in the city quickly by connecting at 14th St. You simply don't have that option in Greenpoint and accordingly it will never achieve the popularity of other neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

3. Much of Greenpoint is very nice and a pleasant place to live.

4. The Times is giving way to much ink to a few developmentally disabled writers who can't stop talking about their own neighborhoods. They are embarrassing their neighbors."

Sept. 7, 2012, 5:58 pm
Richard Martinez from Billysonburg says:
Notice how Truthiness has the habit of using disability to dis on people? Here, Truthiness talks about people's sanity. On Gothamist, she or he uses "developmentally disabled" to dis on people. Shameless.

Here's another "long-winded pseudo-technical piece" that doesn't even make sense at all. It's probably better Truthiness goes back to the racist-lite stuff where she or he makes more sense:

"Of course he acted stupidly, unless you are a member of a political party who screams at the top of their lungs about an amorphous concept of "the freedoms" and the encroachment of the government on such freedoms and then gives a full-throated endorsement of the state arresting a man on his own property for the crime of what, being anything other than a grovelling sycophant or behaving ornery?
The cop acted incredibly stupidly and in doing so shook the foundations of our nation's concepts of freedom, unless your concept of freedom only applies to white people and freedom from being taxed."

Whew! What did any of that even mean? That came from:

Anyone who takes a quick look at Truthiness' DISQUE profile can see that Truthiness loves to go for the long ride. There's nothing wrong with that. Just saying, stop describing yourself, Truthiness, in other people.

Sept. 7, 2012, 6:04 pm
de la Mancha from 11211 yo says:
Damn, here go Voice of "Truth" [what?] talking about neighbors in Greenpoint:

"Nasty little pieces of hate propaganda featuring angry, ugly-on-the-inside olds yelling at clouds and attacking young people trying to find a home in the city and developers trying to find a better use for industrial, polluted and abandoned land the lack of development of which causes artificially inflated rents and prices around the city. Earlier waves of gentrifiers attack the latest versions of themselves, attempting to align themselves with the local poors, featuring ignorant commentary by people unaware of the inevitable impact from a globalized economy who lash out and demonstrate a galling sense of entitlement and selfishness that would make a Wall Street banker blush. The anti-gentrification crowd believes that their age, skin color and unwillingness to adapt to a changing world makes them "better than" and more entitled to property they don't own and a lifestyle they imagine they deserve simply for having been an earlier gentrifier.

Each generation of New Yorkers has to deal with this hateful, spiteful, small minded entitlement society, intent on retaining blight and poverty in order to preserve their comfort zone."

Damn, them is lots of words to say about your neighbors, and sounds a little crazy, too!

Damn hater, don't hate! Congratulate!
Sept. 7, 2012, 6:30 pm
Anti-sycophant from Anna Westside says:
I heard Voice of Truth came in last for this:
Sept. 7, 2012, 6:40 pm
Dave from Prospect heights says:
That cool old bank building on flatbush avenue between Bergen st and 6th ave where that checks cashed store is currently located.
Sept. 8, 2012, 2:36 am
Resident from PPW says:
How about Ersksine (sp?) off the Belt Parkway. And while Apple builds the store out there, leave space for a jumbo Walmart. This way people people can drive or bike to/from these stores.
Sept. 8, 2012, 6:14 am
Alex from Dumbo says:
The perfect location is a warehouse on Jay street in Dumbo after the theater will move out.
Sept. 8, 2012, 6:15 am
Alex from Dumbo says:
The perfect location is the warehouse on Jay street in Dumbo.
Sept. 8, 2012, 6:16 am
Rufus Leaking from Around says:
Sept. 8, 2012, 8:54 am
Scott from Park Slope says:
Someone needs to check the recursion logic for the bot that calls itself Richard Martinez/Dennis sinneD. Also, its Switch statement has developed faults because it didn't spew out one Tal/Or/SwampYankee persona at all. I recommend calling the Norwegians: they're experts on trolls.
Sept. 8, 2012, 9:05 am
Noel Hogan from Park Slope says:
Buy my album:

Everyone Else is Doing It, Why Can't We?
Sept. 8, 2012, 9:26 am
TJ from Williamsburg says:
I'd prefer to keep out any more chains from coming into the neighborhood.
It's bad enought that Duane reade is here and
Whole foods is coming.
Keep this neighborhood resident owned
Businesses. The landlords are price gauging
Rents and pushing these business owners
Out. It's a crime
Sept. 8, 2012, 9:46 am
Frieda Livery from The Heights says:
Whole Foods is organic!

How can you be against Whole Foods?
Sept. 8, 2012, 10:14 am
MedicateUnstableTrolls! from PsychWard says:
Dennis your sock puppets are lame and your trolling stinks.
Sept. 8, 2012, 10:29 am
Charlie Sheen from Truthiness' Place says:
Right, because attacking people by calling them "developmentally disabled" or "retarded" or "insane" or some other ad hominem instead of engaging ideas is WINNING.
Sept. 8, 2012, 10:44 am
Charlie Sheen from Truthiness' Place says:
Learn something about yourself, or, continue to make personal attacks on people. All the same:
Sept. 8, 2012, 10:45 am
old time brooklyn from slope says:
Barclays center area is best location due to public transit, foot traffic, proximity to areass with bucks to blow on toys. Other areas (Flatbussh - CI etc are just too far off the beaten path.
Sept. 8, 2012, 12:37 pm
jay from pslope says:
how about Brooklyn borough hall, its by all the trains, a central location and its a blight on the community with its present occupant Marty Markowitz, and hey if its a blight on teh community then we should give out a huge gov payout like we did for the Barclays center!!
Sept. 8, 2012, 12:48 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
I agree with old time brooklyn. The Barclays Center area is the best, but which building? Of the listed properties in the poll the bank building has the best proximity, but its historic landmark designation makes turning it into an Apple store problematic. If they were somehow able to transform the pedestrian island at the intersection of 4th, Atlantic, and Flatbush into a store it would be perfect, plus every time the NBA did its outside shots of Barclays Center the Apple Store would be front and center, but there's no way they could get enough square footage out of it.
Sept. 8, 2012, 1:17 pm
John from Honolulu says:
Bay Ridge!
Sept. 8, 2012, 2:23 pm
@Frieda Livery says:
"When It Comes To Buying Organic, Science And Beliefs Don't Always Mesh"

"Organic Food vs. Conventional Food"

"The Organic Fable"

The most important issue in all this is cost for people in the neighborhood, not labels based more on belief than science or utility.
Sept. 8, 2012, 6:17 pm
lillian from bed-sty says:
how about in the red hook section near ikea, where there can be adequate /ample parking for customers,including provisions for the disabled/handicapped customers.
Sept. 9, 2012, 3:25 pm
Dennis=Stalker from OrderOfProtection says:
Dennis you are a creepy stalker.
Sept. 10, 2012, 12:20 pm
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
That's funny, because I'm arguing issues, and you're busy obsessing over me--ignoring issues for personal attacks. You are stalking me--NAG et al.
Sept. 10, 2012, 1:37 pm
Sunny from Clinton Hill says:
It shouldn't open a Brooklyn store at all
Sept. 10, 2012, 2:33 pm
k from gp says:
What happened to the old salvation army spot in williamsburg?
Sept. 10, 2012, 9:43 pm

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