Flatbush Caton Market
The Flatbush Caton Market (FCM) was established in 2001 to provide former street vendors a permanent indoor market to sell their wares. The 41 FCM vendors offer a range of goods and services, including clothing, music, dry foods, personal care products and services, and a seasonal farmers market. Sitting at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Caton Street, the market sits at the de facto gateway to the neighborhood of Flatbush – Brooklyn’s historic Caribbean stronghold. While this stretch of Flatbush Avenue is bustling with pedestrian traffic and Caribbean-themed fashion, music, and other related retail, the market has not been able to capitalize on this energy.
In 2014, NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) sought a developer to redevelop the current Market site with new commercial, residential, and community uses to leverage high traffic in the neighborhood as well as provide a permanent home for Flatbush Caton Market. Urbane Development was selected as part of a joint venture to redevelop FCM as part of a larger affordable mixed-use complex, along with BRP Development (BRP) and the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI). Together, the joint venture team will be responsible for all aspects of the Flatbush Caton Market redevelopment and ongoing operations.
The redevelopment plan includes over 23,000 SF of retail/commercial uses (incl. over 11,000 SF for an expanded FCM), over 10,000 SF of community facilities (including the addition of over 5100 SF of business incubation infrastructure including commercial kitchen, textile and cosmetic fabrication spaces, and digital technology lab), and 251 units of affordable housing units totaling approximately 277,700 SF. It also includes an assemblage of business training and support initiatives to help strengthen existing vendors and support entrepreneurial growth in the neighborhood.
Since January 2016, Urbane has conducted an extensive analysis of the internal and external market conditions at FCM. A comprehensive commercial market study, which measured the size and composition of the economic activity in the FCM trade area, was completed in Summer 2016. Urbane has collected and assessed internal operations, finance, and workforce data from the FCM vendors, as well as conducted a series of focus groups and individual interviews with FCM vendors in English, Spanish, and Haitian Kreyol. The Urbane team also has provided technical assistance to FCM vendors in marketing, merchandising, business planning, and financial management.
In 2017, Urbane will lead efforts to relocate existing vendors to a temporary facility in the neighborhood to ensure a seamless transition during the construction of the permanent market. Urbane has begun development of an updated market operations manual and a tailored business training curriculum series for existing and newly recruited vendors.
The promise of the Flatbush Caton Market redevelopment is manifold: provide a showcase venue for Caribbean entrepreneurs and small businesses to offer an array of unique products, services, and signature experiences to Flatbush, the surrounding neighborhoods, and the city at large; construct a true anchor development that paired with the redevelopment of the Kings Theatre creates an arts corridor that will showcase the best of Caribbean and mainstream cultural offerings; and channel the excitement of the food and makers movements to a community with a longstanding history of excellence in both spaces.