Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sid's Hardware is leaving MetroTech; last June, a representative told the MTA board that Atlantic Yards would benefit it and other local retailers

The Brooklyn Paper reports that family-owned Sid's Hardware, the first local retailer to transfer to MetroTech after the project changed Downtown Brooklyn, is moving to Hamilton Avenue at the southern end of the Gowanus Canal and near Park Slope.

In what in retrospect seems like an act of duty to the AY-supporting Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (on whose board Sid's has a seat), a representative of the story testified last June before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that the arena project would bring new customers and other benefits to Sid's and its neighbors.

Instead, Sid's isn't waiting around. According to the Paper:
“Look, the rents are too high, there’s no parking, and this dead scene isn’t a place to run a business,” said Rich Popper, a store manager. “The other day, I had one guy go around the block for 20 minutes so he could pick up a couple cans of paint.”

...The location change will complete a business model revamp for the 78-year-old shop — moving away from “terrible” retail sales to direct sales. A new service counter will focus on delivery to construction sites and ordering, said sales manager William Ruzzo.
(I think his name is actually Ruzza. Photo from Sid's Facebook page.)

At the meeting

Several forceful critics and a parade of project supporters testified at the 6/24/09 hearing. Ruzza's statement was unremarkable, so it didn't generate coverage. Learning of the move, however, I went back to the webcast.



"Sid's Hardware is a family-owned hardware store that has been serving the Downtown Brooklyn area since 1932 and was the first retailer in the MetroTech area when it opened in 1991," he began, reading a statement.

"As a small business, we believe that Atlantic Yards would have a positive impact and [sic] Sid's and other shopowners and merchants in the area," he continued. "This project will create thousands of units of housing who [sic] we hope will patronize Sid's and other retailers within the area."

There's no reason to think they would go to Sid's or other retailers in MetroTech when there would be much retail nearby, including at Forest City Ratner's two malls.

"As importantly, it will create thousands of jobs for residents of Brooklyn and diversify the Brooklyn economy in a way that is beneficial over the long term," he said, despite no evidence that Brooklyn residents would get "thousands of jobs."

"The development will also deliver significant transportation and infrastructure improvements, which are vital to our community's future," he added, not making a distinction between the project and the community.

"I wish to call upon MTA to take into account all the potential economic benefits and all this project stands to deliver in improving the economic and business climate here in Brooklyn," he closed. ""I ask your board of directors to approve this proposal so can we witness the continued revitalization of this wonderful neighborhood many call Brooklyn but we call home."

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