It’s a big day for the Urbane family and a blog post 2 years in the making! We are delighted to announce that Urbane Development has been selected as part of a joint venture to redevelop and manage the Flatbush Caton Market by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). We are joined in this project by BRP Development (BRP) and the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI). Together, we will be responsible for all aspects of the Flatbush Caton Market redevelopment and operation.
The Flatbush Caton Market, currently managed by CACCI and overseen by the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), was established in 2000 to provide former street vendors a permanent indoor market to sell their wares. Currently, the market houses 47 merchants 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.
NYCEDC’s RFP, released in 2013 sought a developer to purchase, redevelop, and manage the Market and included new commercial, residential, and community uses to leverage high traffic in the neighborhood as well as provides a permanent home for Flatbush Caton Market. Our team’s winning proposal includes over 20,000 SF of retail, 10,000 SF of community facilities, and 166 units of affordable housing units totaling approximately 212,000 SF. It also includes an assemblage of business training and support initiatives to help strengthen existing vendors and support entrepreneurial growth in the neighborhood.
The following quote from James Johnson-Piett, best captures our excitement about this amazing opportunity:
“Our vision is to position Flatbush Caton Market as the definitive destination for Caribbean commerce, entertainment, and culture in New York City. Our market program introduces food, fashion, art, and personal care products and services that leverage the vibrancy of the Caribbean community with a world-class retail destination in the heart of Flatbush.
The repurposed market aligns with our strategic goal of developing a true community of businesses that works in cooperation to create a dynamic retail destination in Flatbush. It complements existing businesses on Flatbush Avenue and the surrounding community while acting as an engine for entrepreneurship within the Caribbean community in Brooklyn and beyond.”
The project will also include a business incubator with a shared commercial kitchen to help Caton Market vendors operate efficiently and with the latest tools and resources to help their businesses succeed. Existing vendors will be relocated to a temporary space in the neighborhood during construction while receiving tailored business training and technical assistance from Urbane Development and other partners during the transition period.
The new market, designed by the supremely talented visionaries at Freeform + Deform, will incorporate design elements, including convertible indoor/outdoor swing space, modular vendor pods, and multiple dedicated production spaces for food, natural personal care, and fashion/textile uses. The perimeter of the hall will be filled by food tenants, some with their own dedicated seating while others will share communal seating.
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.
I don’t know about you, but my taste buds can barely contain themselves! And be sure to bookmark our blog, as we’re excited to keep you updated on the Market’s progress!