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Retailers' attempts to colonize Brooklyn with chain stores is getting serious. The Real Deal recently laid out last year's largest real estate leases in the borough's westernmost neighborhoods, which included Williamsburg's Apple Store and Whole Foods and Downtown Brooklyn's TJ Maxx and Neiman Marcus Last Call. When totaled with Brooklyn's biggest retail lease of the year, Sunset Park's Bed Bath & Beyond, chain stores nabbed 275,000 square feet of space here—at the very minimum.
The report also included Greenpoint's New York Sports Club, Cobble Hill's Michael's, and Williamsburg's forthcoming Joe Fresh. If it included the whole borough, like the JCPenney or TJ Maxx that opened in Gateway Center this year, that square footage number would be much higher.
But real estate experts think that this paints an unnecessarily downtrodden portrait of what's going on in Brooklyn. "Unfortunately the indigenous retailer in Brooklyn or pretty much anywhere is not the 40,000 square foot user," Shopping Center Group Retail partner Chase Welles told the publication. However, he added, it's pushing smaller stores to be more creative when attracting customers, and that's a good thing: "That is the part of retailing in Brooklyn that is exciting."