Century 21, which was a fixture in the Bay Ridge Brooklyn community since 1961, closed in December 2020 after the Gindi family (who owns Century 21) announced that the chain had filed for bankruptcy and would close all of its 13 stores.
After an attempted comeback for the store, RIPCO was chosen by ASG Equities to handle the leasing of its Bay Ridge Portfolio, which includes the site of the former Century 21 Department Store. Gene Spiegelman, Vice Chairperson and Principal at RIPCO will be leading the RIPCO leasing team for this project. He shares thoughts about the loss of the beloved department store in the Bay Ridge neighborhood, and future plans of the project:
“Everyone loves Century 21. This is not just an investor that bought real estate. [The Gindi family] have been there for decades, and losing the business was very difficult and figuring out what to do. But they thought through the process and the goal is to deliver a good variety of name-brand national retail uses. We’re going to bring a mix of good retail back to 86th Street and revitalize and take it to the future. This is the first step to that process.”
The company has a separate leasing plan for the nearby former TJ Maxx store at 502 86th St. and the parking garage at 415 88th St. These buildings won’t be demolished.
Councilmember Justin Brannan (D- Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights-Bath Beach) promised that big plans are being made for the 86th Street shopping area:
“The vibrancy of this corridor is absolutely crucial to our local economic ecosystem. A rising tide lifts all boats: the busier 86th Street is, the better our smaller independent mom and pop shops and restaurants along 3rd and 5th avenues will do! The goal is to bring 86th Street back bigger and better than ever. And based upon ongoing conversations, in order to secure and attract fresh, new retail to the block, the old Century 21 buildings need a major renovation and more space. It also means more local jobs.”
Brannan added that the owners and local officials are working to attract high-quality commercial tenants that will help stimulate and ensure the neighborhood‘s small business recovery and revival.
Spiegelman said they have a lot of qualified prospects and hope to announce deals in the second half of this year, with the beginning of the project to follow.