Friday, February 09, 2007

Reasons to Worry About Coney Island's Future, Part 45

We're not sure why we didn't come across this until now, but in looking at things related to the sale of The Gallery Mall by Joe Sitt and Thor Equities, we came across an old story in Shopping Centers Today, which is published by the International Association of Shopping Centers. (Please don't tune out yet, we're doing this for a reason.)

Mr. Sitt often speaks in grand terms about his Coney Island vision. The $1.5 billion plan Thor has floated for Coney can be criticized for many things, but "thinking small," is not among them. It's in this context that his comments about and plans for The Gallery, which he sold this week for $125 million, are interesting. The story says, in part:
"We’re the only property in Brooklyn that’s got anywhere near the size that retailers need to come in [to the market],” [Mr. Sitt] said.

To be sure, there’s no longer anything murky about the three-level, 250,000-square-foot center’s layout and physical appearance. Much of the basement still awaits new tenants, but the center is no longer dark dimly lit.

Thor has installed floor-to-ceiling windows at the entrance and a huge skylight. There are granite floors, gold handrails and new signage. When everything is done, it will be a “Bellagio Hotel” of malls, Sitt says, referring to the posh hotel-casino in Las Vegas.

The two-level Toys ‘R’ Us is still the only major national tenant, but that will change soon, executives say. National women’s apparel chain Forever 21 has signed on and plans to open this month.

Sitt says he is talking to department stores, big-box tenants, specialty retailers and everything in between.

Besides renovations, the firm plans to add nearly 400,000 square feet of retail and a 39-story office and residential tower. When it’s completed in four years (at a cost of some $675 million), the center will comprise 1.4 million square feet of mixed-use space, says Sitt.
The "Bellagio Hotel of malls," huh? Food for thought.

Related Post:
Sitt Speaks



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