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Another BJ’s a maybe - Could replace abortive Home Depot at Foster and D

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Someday soon, eastern Brooklyn may get a second BJ’s warehouse store.

The big box wholesale club, which operates a store in the Gateway Mall, was reported in the August 7th Daily News to be looking at a site adjacent to the Terminal Market, where a mall is currently under construction at the site of an old Key Food warehouse at Foster Avenue and Avenue D.

That mall, which is being built by Acadia Realty Trust, was originally supposed to be anchored by a Home Depot.

However, Home Depot pulled out of the deal earlier this year, sending Acadia – which received $4.1 million as part of a sublease termination agreement — scrambling to find a new tenant for its Canarsie Plaza development.

The termination agreement between Home Depot and Acadia was recorded on June 30th, and included in a report filed with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission dated July 7th.

While a spokesperson for BJ’s would confirm the company’s interest in additional Brooklyn locations, she would not confirm the specific site. “We are looking for locations in Brooklyn, but there are not specific ones at this time,” said Stephanie LaCroix on BJ’s behalf.

Similarly, Thomas Cohen, a consultant to Acadia, when asked about the possibility, would only reply, “We can’t comment on that right now.”

It’s important to get a new retailer into the space, said Gardy Brazela, the president of the Friends United Block Association (FUBA), who lives near the site.

While there had been initial concerns about the development, which is close to residential streets, at this point, Brazela said, “I don’t have a problem with it, especially now. They did the first phase, demolition, already. You can’t leave the spot empty. You have to have something in there.”

There would be benefits for the community, Brazela added, if a store like BJ’s comes in and hires area residents. Another benefit, said Brazela, would be streetscape improvements that the mall developers had agreed to make in exchange for the backing of Community Board 18. “They will beautify the neighborho­od,” he stressed.

The site had once been eyed by Costco, another warehouse store, which currently has one location in Brooklyn, but their effort was defeated by community opposition.

BJ’s is also developing a store in Bensonhurst, near Ceasar’s Bay shopping center. That site was confirmed by LaCroix, who declined to give an estimate of when it could be open. “There’s no specific timetable,” LaCroix told this paper.

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