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Summer clearance: Macy’s selling part of Fulton Mall store to developer

The Brooklyn Paper
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A big change is in-store for Fulton Mall.

Macy’s has inked a deal with a developer to sell part of its storied Downtown department store and the neighboring block that houses its parking garage, which the retail giant claims will help it pay to spruce up the run-down emporium.

“In recent years, it has become clear that our Fulton Street store requires major improvements in order to serve the Brooklyn of today, as well as future generations of customers,” said Terry Lundgren, the company’s chief executive officer and chairman.

The retailer says it will move its entire operation into the first four of building’s nine floors, and sell floors five and up to Manhattan development firm Tishman Speyer, which plans to add 10 floors of high-end office space to the property.

Tishman Speyer — which also owns and runs Rockefeller Center — will shell out $170 million for its stake in the building, and put another $100 towards Macy’s renovation over three years, according to a release.

The department store says it will use the extra cash to remodel its entire retail operation, including a face-lift for its street entrance, a makeover for the restrooms, and new elevators and escalators.

What that means for the future of the store’s historic interior details — such as the ornate art deco elevator doors, which were designed in the 1920s by iconic department-store architecture firm Starrett and Van Vleck — is unclear, though Macy’s claims it will preserve “key architectural elements” of the building’s exterior.

Tishman Speyer has not announced its plans for the five-story garage between Hoyt Street and Elm Place, but it is unlikely the poetry-covered parking lot will stay standing — the current zoning would allow the company to knock it down and build a commercial or residential skyscraper on the site. One developer pitching for the properties last year proposed building a 910-foot tower — about 65 stories — on the two lots.

The building that now houses Macy’s was the long-time headquarters of department store Abraham and Straus. The outfit — then called Wechsler and Abraham — moved in around 1885, and stayed until 1995 — extending and renovating the structure throughout the years — when it folded into the larger Macy’s empire.

Macy’s also announced a slump in its quarterly profits this week, prompting Carroll Gardens financial guru Jim Cramer to suggest investing your money elsewhere.

Tishman Speyer will close on the purchase later this year, according to a statement.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Me from Bay Ridge says:
I believe the lovely original elevators are still there, with their wood paneling and operator's controls concealed by black plastic walls and self-service buttons.
Aug. 13, 2015, 11:43 am
Susan from Bay Ridge says:
How many people are going to lose their jobs?
Aug. 13, 2015, 7:13 pm
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
Death knell for Fulton Mall.
Aug. 14, 2015, 6:49 am
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Nonsense, the store as it is currently operating isn't that much bigger than the cited plan. Also, there are more well known retailers there now than there have been since the 1940/50s.
Aug. 14, 2015, 8:02 am
Ruth Brown (Brooklyn Paper) says:
Susan: In its release, Macy's said "The Macy’s store’s workforce of about 490 associates will remain in place." Of course, that doesn't *necessarily* mean the current staffers will be the ones in those jobs, but the company claims it will keep the retail operation running through the renovations, and, as "Me from Bay Ridge" says, the renovated store will apparently have almost as much space as the current one (310,000 square feet vs. 378,000), so I don't see any reason to suspect mass firings.

You can read the release here: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=84477&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=2079033
Aug. 14, 2015, 9:42 am
Anna from Bath Beach says:
Fulton Street is defined by the decline of western civilization. So many beautiful buildings rotting. Never understood why the real estate crazies didn't swarm it like SoHo - Something to do with Metrotech most likely.
Aug. 14, 2015, 9:46 pm
Me from Bay Ridge says:
Sort of like 86th Street, eh, Anna?
Aug. 15, 2015, 5:43 am
Anna from Bath Beach says:
I don't think that's a fair comparison. The only building of any real architectural significance on 86th is the bank, which is still a bank and in pretty decent condition. Trouble is there you've got the loud overhead subway and yes the big block stores by the water do suck kinda like Metrotech.
Aug. 15, 2015, 7:24 am
Anna from Bath Beach says:
Bath Beach's firehouse too is pretty cool.
Aug. 15, 2015, 7:35 am

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