Former Century 21 store now on the market

By Brooklyn Reporter staff

Parcel includes garage, TJ Maxx site

RIPCO Real Estate, a well-known independent retail brokerage in New York City, has been tapped by ASG Equities to handle the leasing and marketing of its Bay Ridge portfolio, which includes the site of the former Century 21 Department Store at 464 86th St. as well as two other buildings, one of which housed the former TJ Maxx store. 

ASG Equities, according to its own website, is owned by the Gindi family, which also owns Century 21. Although Century 21 closed all 13 of its New York-area stores in late 2020, last year the chain announced plans to open a store in South Korea. This led to speculation that the chain might reopen on 86th Street, but this latest announcement appears to put that possibility to rest.

The TJ Maxx store on 86th Street in Bay Ridge, as it appeared in 2019. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

“In total,” RIPCO said, “the ASG Bay Ridge portfolio is a three-building collection of premier real estate offering 175,000 square feet perfectly suited for retail, health care, education or workspace, along with a dedicated 290-car parking garage.”

In addition to the former Century 21 site, which RIPCO said “provides flexible division options,” the property available for lease includes:

• 502 86th St., the former site of TJ Maxx, located on a prime corner at 86th Street and Fifth Avenue with 34,575 square feet available over four levels suitable for retail, healthcare, schools, and workspace as the building is divisible. TJ Maxx on 86th Street closed in early January 2021, about a month after Century 21. Unlike Century 21, the TJ Maxx chain is still active in New York.

• 436 87th St. and 415 88th St., a 65,952-square-foot campus opportunity with a 290-car, multiple level parking garage.

“ASG Equities has long and deep roots in Bay Ridge and is strongly committed to refreshing the 86th Street retail corridor as a vital community amenity,” said George Karnoupakis, head of asset management at ASG Equities. “We are very excited to bring a new generation of retailers to Bay Ridge that will transform the neighborhood.”

“We are excited to showcase the value of regional retailing in southwest Brooklyn servicing the communities of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Sunset Park,” said Gene Spiegelman, vice chairperson and principal at RIPCO, who is handling the portfolio along with RIPCO’s Ben Weiner, Morgan Singer and Chris Walther. “We are looking forward to securing a new generation of best-in-class retailers or service occupiers for the Bay Ridge community and beyond.”

“It is great news for our community that ASG Equities and RIPCO are actively working towards leasing out the former Century 21 site along with other large commercial properties here,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “The importance of 86th Street as a retail shopping destination and hub of local employment simply cannot be overstated. The vibrancy of this corridor is absolutely crucial to our overall local economy.”

When Century 21 closed, CEO Raymond Gindi blamed the move on insurance woes. 

“While insurance money helped us to rebuild after suffering the devastating impact of 9/11 [when the chain’s Lower Manhattan store was damaged], we now have no viable alternative but to begin the closure of our beloved family business because our insurers, to whom we have paid significant premiums every year for protection against unforeseen circumstances like we are experiencing today [presumably COVID], have turned their backs on us at this most critical time,” he said in a statement.

The Bay Ridge store had been a mainstay of the community since 1961. In the days before it closed, long lines of customers waited to scoop up the remaining merchandise. The inside of the store was bare by its final weekend.

Josephine Beckmann, district manager of Community Board 10, which includes Bay Ridge, mourned the closure of both Century 21 and TJ Maxx.

“For many in our community, Century 21 has served as our local mom and pop department store and I have been hearing from so many who miss shopping at Century 21 during the holidays,” Beckmann said at the time. “It was a significant anchor store on 86th Street, and I know many hope for new anchors to come to Bay Ridge soon.”On the subject of TJ Maxx, she said, “The loss of another large retail anchor on 86th Street in the short term will certainly leave a void, but I am optimistic that the vacancies will soon be filled, as 86th Street is a busy intermodal hub that will certainly attract new businesses to invest in Bay Ridge.”

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