By Sarah Trefethen
Even with construction still underway, the effects of Barclays Center Arena are being felt in the neighborhood, where property owners report that the going rent for retail space has more than doubled.
When Atlantic Terminal opened across from the basketball arena site in 2003, rents for 1,000 s/f spaces were in the range of $50 to $60 per square foot, Kathryn Welch, a senior vice president at Forest City Ratner, told attendees at TerraCRG’s Brooklyn Real Estate Summit last week. Today the same spaces are going for $100 per foot.
Michael Pintchik, president of Pintchik Development and the owner of 65 storefronts in the area of the arena, appeared with Welch on a panel discussing retail opportunities in the Borough. He has no available vacancies, he said, and he is planning to self-fund construction of 7-story buildings on four conconstruction sites on Flatbush Ave near the arena.
A number of name-brand restaurateurs are interested in space near the future home on the Brooklyn Nets, he said. “What I foresee is, very quickly, this will become the dining and fashion district.”
Welch also observed that the area was attractive to restaurant operators, who see the potential for an “LA Live kind of thing.”
Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center, totaling approximately 800,000 s/f, have been close to 100 percent leased since they opened, Welch said. In some cases, early tenants have 20-year leases, with the option to renew for another 20, she said; nonetheless, Forest City hopes that some of the businesses in the shopping centers will turn over to reflect the changing demographics of the neighborhood.
There are also plans to retrofit Atlantic Center, Welch said. “We would very much like it to look better, now that we’ve spent $1 billion across the street.”
Businesses that have signed sponsorship deals with the Nets will have stores by the entrance to the arena on Atlantic Ave, Welch said, including Starbucks, Adidas, and a cell phone operator.
Some of Pintchik’s properties near the arena — which previously leased for $50 to $55 per foot — are attracting offers of $175 per foot or more, he said. But he’s not in any hurry to commit to any of the businesses vying for a spot in this newly hot neighborhood.
“You have one chance to make that deal, and then you’re going to have to look at it for the next 25 years,” he said.