Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Brooklyn, Prepare for more Chain Stores

The NY Daily News writes today about the expanding presence of chain stores throughout Brooklyn.

Tuesday, November 27th 2007, 4:00 AM

Chains, chains, chains...

If you like your morning coffee in a venti cup, you'll be able to grab one at some 75 more Brooklyn Starbucks locations in the next three years.

But if you're a mom and pop shop in Brooklyn: Beware.

A recent Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable meeting revealed that retail giants such as Starbucks, Duane Reade pharmacies and Chase Bank are planning to double and in some cases triple their presence in the borough.

"Brooklyn has been underretailed for a very long time," said David Kramer, who was one of the organizers of the roundtable at the Brooklyn Historical Society earlier this month.

"What's happening now is that practically every week there is new story about a different high-profile retailer coming to Brooklyn," he said, while insisting that "the majority of the retail space [in Brooklyn] continues to be mom-and-pop stores."

Sources familiar with the meeting said that a representative from Chase, which now has 46 branches in Brooklyn, said that number will go up by 20 in two years.

A representative from Starbucks suggested that its presence may mushroom in Brooklyn at a rate of 25 new stores per year over the next three years.

"We are defiantly expanding and we are looking in Brooklyn," said a Starbucks realtor, who refused to elaborate on the details.

The vice president of Duane Reade, Michelle Bergman, suggested that the druggist's 30 locations in Brooklyn will double in three years.

But not everyone is onboard for more chains in Brooklyn. "We not getting any variety. You turn around, you get another real estate broker, another bank, another cell-phone store," said Irene Janner of the Brooklyn Heights Association.

"We certainly have enough drug stores to OD ourselves. Where's the butcher? Where's the baker? They're gone!"

And while it isn't yet clear which neighborhoods will be targeted by the chains, they do have certain criteria for setting up shop on your block.

Starbucks looks for areas with high street traffic and good income demographics, said a source.

Chase, meanwhile, likes big corner spaces and neighborhoods where the average income is at least $30,000 a year.

Still, for Robert Nadel, president of the Fraser Civic Association in Midwood and Marine Park, the thought of Starbucks on his block was as soothing as a creamy caramel macchiato.

"We have felt that we've been deprived of a Starbucks. It opened up in Park Slope but not yet where we would like to see a Starbucks," Nadel said.

"I love a Frappuccino every once in a while. They're a welcome competition."

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