Pressure Increases For Brooklyn Store

August 20, 2010

A three-year search by Brooklyn (NY) officials to find retail tenants for empty space in a municipal building has now dovetailed with the borough president’s recent lobbying efforts to bring an Apple store to Brooklyn, resulting in an architectural rendering that suggests how the 1920s building could be modified specifically for the computer company. The building at 210 Joralemon Street at Court Street houses various city offices, but 44,000 square-feet on two levels at the corner could bring the city $20 million in a sale, a local business group determined. So in October 2007 city officials began exploring how to lease or sell the vacant space. To assist potential buyers, the city had an architectural rendering created that showed larger windows and brighter lights that would illuminate the interior retail space. Earlier this year borough president Marty Markowitz posted a too-cute YouTube video pitching the Joralemon Street location for an Apple retail store. Now, in the latest move, a second rendering has appeared, showing an even more radical renovation of the existing building—removal of nearly all the exterior walls over two floors, large two-story display windows, a spiral glass staircase inside, and an enormous back-lit Apple logo. Insiders say Apple’s retail team has been scouting Brooklyn for at least three years, but has not found a suitable location. Real estate broker Robert Greenstone says he has shown Apple execs several potential store locations in Brooklyn. The Racked Web site reports that Greenstone knows the location of the future Brooklyn Apple store, possibly in the Atlantic Yards area, about a mile southeast of the Joralemon Street building. However, Greenstone won’t reveal the location.

This is the first architectural rendering produced by city officials to promote the empty space at the municipal building. (Studio AMD)

This is the August 2010 updated rendering, showing a possible Apple store inside the municipal building. Typically for Apple, the corner streetlight is removed in this view. (Studio AMD)

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Jones August 22, 2010 at 0159

The rendering looks like some airport from the 70’s, not an Apple store.

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Brianbobcat August 22, 2010 at 1216

I like the original renderings better. The new ones don’t match the rest of the building and just look out of place. The original ones at least have character and are in line with some of the historic stores that europe has. Go for it Apple, only as long as you have a reason to go in in that area.

-Brian

PS Gary, I think that YouTube link is wrong.

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Cedric Brown August 23, 2010 at 0455

I vote for the second version. I think the Apple logo is a bit oversized for the space. The columns look a bit skimpy in version two. I loved the YouTube video of the Brooklyn president. He makes some very good points. He probably should have found himself a Mac computer to have on his desk, instead of the Windows machine. I might have scored a point or two with Mr. Jobs.

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Cedric Brown August 23, 2010 at 0459

I vote for the second version. I think the Apple logo is a bit oversized for the space. The columns look a bit skimpy in version two. I loved the YouTube video of the Brooklyn president. He makes some very good points. He probably should have found himself a Mac computer to have on his desk, instead of the Windows machine. It might have scored a point or two with Mr. Jobs.

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ZoetMB August 25, 2010 at 1355

Personally, I don’t think that’s a good location. While there are lots of lawyer types there and it can be busy during the day, that particular block is dead at night and Court Street can be kind of seedy and dirty. Apple would be better off more fully inside Brooklyn Heights, perhaps on Montaque Street, but I don’t think there’s any really large spaces there.

And the Atlantic Yards location would be far worse. There’s a giant mall there, but it’s a very downscale mall. A location on either 5th Avenue or 7th Avenue in Park Slope would be hipper, but perhaps more isolated from the masses. Final contruction on the Atlantic Yards project is years away. Once the new arena (for the Nets) is completed, the area will be crowded on game nights (although not necessarily with people who would then decide to browse in an Apple store) and pretty dead other times, IMO.

If Apple wants to be hip, I think a place in Brooklyn that makes sense is Williamsburg, although people from other parts of the borough don’t generally go there unless they know people there. But that’s where all the 25-year-olds are. The other option would be Dumbo, which does have some upscale retail and extraordinarily expensive housing, but it is also fairly isolated.

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Some Guy August 28, 2010 at 2152

Apple is a business with a fiduciary duty to increase shareholder value. It is not a charity. It is not a PR firm for second-rate politicians.

If Apple opens a retail store in Brooklyn, it will be because their own research indicates that a store in that location is worth the investment, weighed against all of their other options for store locations.

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Park Slope Mac User August 30, 2010 at 2054

Williamsburgh would be a disaster; mass transit is awful and I don’t think the hipster types there would support Apple – just another big corporation to them. Municipal Building would be better because it gets daytime traffic, has excellent mass transit (being right over the Borough Hall station which serves IRT and BMT). I do agree that the Atlantic Yards area would be a mistake; it’s kind of a dead zone between Park Slope and Brooklyn Heights/Borough Hall. The only way they could make the Atlantic Yards area work, is if they put a store closer to the intersection of Flatbush Ave and 5th Avenue (5th Ave. is a restaurant row for the younger Park Slope residents).
Frankly, after seeing the great work Apple had done within older buildings in their recent stores in Britain and France, I believe they could work around the Municipal Building’s structure without making it a 5th-Avenue-wannabe.

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