Bay Ridge

A rebirth: Vitamin Shoppe relocation signals start of 86th Street BID area revitalization, officials say

July 31, 2023 Wayne Daren Schneiderman
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BAY RIDGE — After several years of waiting for business to boom again, the community and business owners are starting to see some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel along 86th Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues.

Hot on the heels of the news of the planned Century 21 redevelopment project, slated to come to fruition in the near future, The Vitamin Shoppe hosted a ribbon-cutting event this past Saturday, commemorating its new location, 480 86th St., with several noteworthy spectators in attendance — and The Brooklyn Eagle was there to get the inside scoop.

Renderings of the Century 21 project. Photos courtesy of ASG Equities
Brett Cohen, owner, Globe Pharmacy; Bay Ridge Councilmember Justin Brannan; Patrick Condren, executive director, 86th Street Business Improvement District; and Steve Petros, president, 86th Street BID

“The reason we are all here and happy today is because we are seeing a retailer that has been here a while, upgrading to a new and better store on Century’s side of the street — with the forethought that this side is going to come back, and that 86th Street is going to blossom again,” explained Steve Petros, president of the 86th Street Business Improvement District. “The Vitamin Shoppe is looking toward the future, and they see that things will be returning, and want to be where all the action is. This new development I expect to be beautiful and fantastic once it’s completed.”

It’s been previously reported that the site of the former Century 21 flagship store will be converted into an urban retail hub with the assistance of ASG Equities — the real estate firm of the Gindi family, who founded the flagship Century 21 location on 86th Street in 1961. The store filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2020.

While Century 21 on 86th Street filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2020, things are looking up for the community with a new urban retail hub development on the horizon.

The plan is to revamp 150,000 square feet of commercial space across 15 buildings on 86th and 87th streets and repurpose more than 700 feet of retail storefronts, introducing a mix of supermarkets and shops. The new retail hub could potentially be open by the end of 2024.

Patrick Condren, executive director, 86th Street BID

Patrick Condren, executive director of the BID, said with this new development plan he foresees “nothing but positive things,” pointing out that “we are most certainly going in the right direction.”

“I truly believe that Bay Ridge is the showplace of New York City. Much like San Francisco is the ‘gateway to the west,’ I feel that our neighborhood is the ‘gateway to the east.’”

He added that ASG has a tremendous staff, and is quite cognizant of the neighborhood’s needs.

“If anyone knows how to revitalize an area it’s them,” Condren said. “The Gindi family are good, smart people.”

Condren also explained that while the world is changing, with more people shopping online, they still need a place where they can shop in the flesh.

“You want to be able to inspect merchandise up close — feel a fabric, test a product,” he noted.

Paul McMahon, store manager of The Vitamin Shoppe, said he is “super excited to be part of a neighborhood resurgence.”

“We’ve been serving people in the community for so long, and we’re going to continue to do it with a brand new store in a brand new location,” McMahon added.

 

Joseph Patalano, district manager of The Vitamin Shoppe, who was also in attendance, explained that the planned redevelopment will be a boost to the community in a number of ways.

“It will help bring new people to all the small businesses in the area,” Patalano said. “They can shop along the entire strip, get their personal needs met, their wellness needs met, and their shopping needs met; it’s going to be a tremendous draw, and will also provide a lot of jobs in the area that are very much needed; it’s a win-win situation for all.”

 


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