With Century 21 reopening near World Trade Center, will Brooklyn be next?

May 18, 2022 Jaime DeJesus, Brooklynreporter.com
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The Gindi family, which owns the Century 21 Stores company, announced on Tuesday that it will reopen a store next year in its former Downtown Manhattan location across from the World Trade Center.

The announcement of the department store’s return and rebranding leaves many Brooklynites wondering whether the chain will also reopen its “flagship store” in its former Bay Ridge home. 

The spaces within the former Century 21 in Bay Ridge are currently unoccupied. The last update was reported in March, when demolition permits were filed with the city’s Department of Buildings for the adjacent retail buildings between 448 and 460 86th St.

Sheila Smith, director of the communications firm SEQUEL, which represents Century 21, didn’t rule out the possibility, but said the chain is currently focused on its Manhattan location.

“Century 21 will be reopening first and foremost at the brand’s original downtown location on [22] Cortlandt Street,” she told this paper. “Conversation around future openings are still in the works and, we hope to have more news to share soon following the spring 2023 debut.”

The retail clothing chain filed for bankruptcy in 2020. At the time, the reason given was insurance woes tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its Bay Ridge location, which was a fixture in the community since 1961, closed in December 2020.

RIPCO Real Estate (RIPCO) was chosen by ASG Equities, a privately-owned investment real estate company, to handle the leasing and marketing of the site of the former department store. As the Brooklyn Eagle has previously reported, ASG Equities, like Century 21, is owned by the Gindi family.

In March, RIPCO Real Estate Vice Chair and Principal Gene Spiegelman said the company plans to bring a mix of good retail back to 86th Street and revitalize and take it to the future.

As for Century 21’s latest plans, Spiegelman told this paper that the announcement is not related to the Bay Ridge project.

The Century 21 store at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. Eagle file photo by Lore Croghan

Century 21 also had a short-lived location at City Point, at Albee Square in Downtown Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, the Manhattan location has teamed with Legends, a company that provides data and analytics service for other firms and describes itself as a “global premium experiences company,” to introduce a “revitalized shopping experience” to the store. It will also be adding NYC to its logo.

“Century 21 is, and always will be, a New York City brand,” Raymond Gindi, Century 21’s co-chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Our flagship store has been a longtime symbol of this city’s resilience and unwavering spirit. In our 60-year history, we have only closed our doors twice, once after the devastation of 9/11 and then again during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“But like the true New Yorkers we are, we have persevered. We could not be more excited to bring Century 21 back home, delivering the same products and value to customers, in partnership with Legends,” he added.

The reopened Cortlandt Street location will span the four main floors of its original space and will offer men’s, women’s and children’s designer apparel, footwear, outerwear, handbags, accessories and fragrances.

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