Thursday, April 19, 2012

Impact of Atlantic Yards arena, actually, will be felt a lot more when new/empty spaces get filled

Has the advent of the Barclays Center really changed retail in the blocks around it?

That was the theme of a misguided Times article Tuesday, which focused significantly on gentrification-led change (see the map below, highlighting small establishments), while missing the fact that such change had nothing to do with reclaiming the enduring "scar" of the Vanderbilt Yard.

The map even missed the burger boom outlined by the Brooklyn Paper, which, that article suggests, is partly driven by the arena for Five Guys, but not for 67 Burger.

Meanwhile, the Times scanted the opportunity to address issues of accountability, such as the five-month delay in the Transportation Demand Management plan or the Appellate Division's smackdown of the Empire State Development Corporation. And that raises questions about whether local officials are prepared to address arena impacts on the residential blocks.

What's coming

Map from NY Times, annotations in blue
While the area around the Barclays Center is changing, and there's significant retail demand for open spaces, what struck me last night as I walked Flatbush Avenue is how much more change there will be.

There are several major spaces empty, or not yet open, unmentioned in the Times's oddly-focused map:
  • the Bergen Tile building, just below Dean Street on the north side of Flatbush, expected to become an apartment building, presumably with ground floor retail across the street from the arena
  • the retail space just east of that building
  • the furniture warehouse at Flatbush and Pacific, destined likely to be a bar or restaurant
  • the former Triangle Sports building, at the key crossroads of Flatbush and Fifth avenues
  • the space for the would-be Kemistry, along the south side of Flatbush, between St. Marks's Avenue and Prospect Place
  • the space for Prime 6, now supposedly Woodland, which has yet to open, at the southwest corner of Flatbush and Sixth avenues
  • the two long-running medical clinics along the south side of Flatbush between Dean and Bergen streets, which surely are entertaining offers to buy out their leases (assuming they're renters)
And that's not even counting the changes on the northern side of the arena along Atlantic Avene, such as retail space at Atlantic Terrace, catercorner to the arena, or the building within the Phase 2 footprint that recently changed hands.

After all, Hooters has to go somewhere.


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