Kings Plaza is a shopping center within the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn, New York City, United States. Opened in September 1970, it is located at the southeast corner of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U, just north of Floyd Bennett Field. The mall's anchor tenants include Best Buy, Burlington, JCPenney, Lowe's, Macy's, Primark, and Zara. Previous anchors of the mall include Alexander's and Sears. The mall was originally owned by a joint venture between Macy's and Alexander's, and is currently owned and managed by Macerich. With approximately 4,200 jobs in retail services and over 120 individual stores, Kings Plaza is the largest indoor shopping center within the borough of Brooklyn.
Kings Plaza in 2017
|Location||Brooklyn, New York|
|Address||5100 Kings Plaza (2509 Flatbush Avenue)|
|Opening date||September 11, 1970|
|No. of stores and services||150|
|No. of anchor tenants||6|
|No. of floors||2|
|Public transit access||MTA Bus: B2, B3, B9, B41, B46, B46 SBS, B47, Q35 |
New York City Subway:
trains at Flatbush Avenue-Brooklyn College (via B41 and Q35)
train at Avenue U (via B3)
Kings Plaza is located along the south side of Avenue U, between Flatbush Avenue to the west and East 58th Street to the east.  The mall occupies 23 acres of land. The primary block of the mall lies between Flatbush Avenue and East 55th Street. It contains two levels of mall stores, along with the Macy's and former Sears/Alexander's anchor locations which are both four floors high. Both anchor stores contain around 330,000 square feet of space. At the south end of the block is a multi-level parking garage, accessible from northbound Flatbush Avenue and East 55th Street. The garage was built using specialized prestressed concrete columns, and holds nearly 4,000 cars. The eastern block is solely occupied by a Lowe's location and its adjoining parking lot. The block was entirely used for parking prior to the construction of the Lowe's. At the easternmost end of the site extending to East 58th Street is Mill Basin Plaza, a separate complex owned by Kimco Realty. It features The Home Depot, Walgreens, and Petland Discounts stores.
Unlike traditional malls in the United States where parking is usually free, shoppers visiting Kings Plaza (as well as most other malls within New York City) have to pay for parking within the parking garage.
To the east and south of the mall is the Mill Basin Inlet, which separates the mall from the neighborhood of the same name. A marina called the Kings Plaza Marina is located along the perimeter of the parking garage. The original purpose of the marina was to allow shoppers to travel to the mall by boat.
Kings Plaza has its own cogeneration plant on the roof of the mall, dubbed the Kings Plaza Total Energy Plant. The plant uses four Deutz AG natural gas engines to produce the mall's entire electricity needs with no connection to the Con Edison grid, while the heat from the engine exhaust is used to heat and cool the building. The plant, which was built with the mall, originally used five Nordberg-built diesel engines.
The mall acts as a terminal for the bus routes in the area. The B2, B9, B41, B46 and B46 SBS utilize a dedicated bus terminal on the Flatbush Avenue side of the mall, the B3 and Q35 serve the mall at intermediate stops, and the B47 terminates at the Avenue U entrance to the mall. The terminal was renovated in 2005. Since April 2017 due to construction, B2 and B9 buses terminate at the northeast corner of Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U, using the existing Q35 stop.
The closest New York City Subway stations are the Flatbush Avenue–Brooklyn College station (2 and 5 trains) on the IRT Nostrand Avenue Line in Midwood, and the Avenue U (Q train) and Kings Highway stations (B and Q trains) on the BMT Brighton Line in Sheepshead Bay and Midwood respectively.
Prior to the construction of Kings Plaza, the site was occupied by a Standard Oil petroleum storage facility, built in the 1930s. The site was later occupied by a plastics producer and an auto garage. In 1965, the Alexander's department store chain announced it would build a new store at Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U, in order to expand to Southeast Brooklyn in response to residential development in Flatlands and Canarsie. Alexander's was competing with E. J. Korvette to build a store in the area. By 1966, the mall was planned as a joint venture between Macy's and Alexander's.
Ground was broken on the Kings Plaza Shopping Center and Marina on July 8, 1968. The ceremonies were officiated by Alexander's president Alexander S. Farkas and Macy's president David L. Yunich, with Mayor John Lindsay and Brooklyn Borough President Abe Stark in attendance. Financing for the project was provided by John Hancock Financial. As part of the mall's construction, Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U were both rehabilitated, which included expanding Flatbush south of Utica Avenue to its current width. The bus terminal on Flatbush Avenue was also built along with the mall.
Opening and early historyEdit
The mall opened in September 1970, right after Labor Day, with 79 stores. Among these stores was the first location of the pizzeria chain Sbarro. A two-screen cinema was also opened along with Kings Plaza, while a marina on Mill Basin was expected to open the next year. The mall was the first in the city to be fully enclosed and air conditioned. In protest of the new mall, local residents barricaded nearby side streets to prevent traffic congestion from spilling over to residential blocks. The mall had expanded to 125 stores by the following year. The first "professional dinner‐theater" in Brooklyn opened at Cooky's Steak Pub, located within the mall, three years later. The number of visitors grew during the mall's first decade of operation. Although Kings Plaza's owners did not release official visitation figures, by 1983, there were 20,000 cars passing through the mall's parking lot each day, and the city was earning $12 million per year from sales tax collected at each of the 150 stores. However, both merchants and shoppers expressed concerns about theft at Kings Plaza, and that year, the mall expanded its private security force.
Initially, shoppers could park at Kings Plaza free of charge. In mid-1983, the owners of the mall proposed instituting a 50-cent parking charge to pay for improvements and the private security force, to be collected starting in October 1983. Shoppers' reactions toward the proposed fee were mixed, but local residents vehemently opposed the fee, causing its implementation to be delayed. The same month that parking fee collection was to start, community leaders organized a protest against the proposed fees. The parking fee was put in place in January 1984 and lasted four days before the New York City government ordered the mall to stop collecting the fee until a study on environmental impacts could be completed. Later that month, the parking fee was reinstated after the city's Departments of Environmental Protection and Buildings found no adverse effects would be caused by the fee, which was collected upon exit from the parking lot.
Macy's sold 50% ownership of the mall to Alexander's in 1985, and sold the other half to them three years later. In 1992, Alexander's filed for bankruptcy and closed all its stores including the Kings Plaza location. The space remained vacant until 1997, when Sears took over the site. Though the opening of Sears was expected to revitalize the remaining shops in Kings Plaza, there was concern that newer shopping areas in Brooklyn such as Atlantic Terminal, the Fulton Street pedestrian mall, or the shopping district in Flatbush would create competition with Kings Plaza.
A $50 million renovation program, begun in May 1999, included a new glass entrance at Flatbush Avenue and upgrades to the mall interior. Around 2002, the mall's owners planned to construct an addition to the mall, on the parking lot on the east side of 55th Street. As originally planned, it would have added 100,000 square feet to the mall, with a home improvement store, a multiplex theater replacing the original mall theater, and indoor parking space. A new complex on the site had been planned going back to 1997.
The parking lot was closed in mid-2003 in preparation for the addition. Lowe's signed on to occupy the home improvement store two years later. The expansion faced community backlash due to fears of increased traffic in the area. The developers, Vornado Realty Trust (the successors to Alexander's), and the New York City Department of City Planning were also accused of conspiring to keep the local community in the dark about the progress of the addition. The community opposition led the developers to downsize the expansion to the single Lowe's store. Construction began in 2009, and the Lowe's was opened on July 23, 2010. The AMC Loews movie theater, an original tenant, closed its doors in January 2010. Further renovations turned the former theater into a new Best Buy location.
It was announced in May 2012 that Alexander's/Vornado planned to sell the mall with the rest of the Vornado enclosed mall portfolio. Five months later, Macerich announced it was buying the mall, in a deal that closed at the end of that year. After Macerich's purchase, Kings Plaza underwent an significant renovation project which included reconstruction of the parking garage, renovation of the exterior facade and signage, as well as a renovation of the interior common areas and decor.
Sears announced that its store at Kings Plaza would close in September 2016 and be replaced by two European retailers: Primark and Zara. It was subsequently announced that Burlington would be opening in mid-2018 in the former fourth floor offices of Sears, while JCPenney opened a multilevel, 75,000 square feet (7,000 m2) store in a portion of the former Sears in August 2018.
On December 26, 2013, several hundred teenagers assaulted visitors and vandalized the mall, forcing it to close down. The incident began at about 5 p.m. and continued until the mall shuttered at 7 p.m. A temporary "no teens" rule was issued, banning all underaged people without an accompanying adult. One teenage girl was arrested, but not charged. No people were killed or seriously injured during the attack. It was reported that the incident was a violent flashmob organized via social networking services and intended to become the "world's largest knockout game".
On the morning of September 17, 2018, a seven-alarm fire broke out on the second and third floor levels of the mall's parking garage. Between 250 and 300 firefighters responded to the fire, and 21 people were injured by the fire, including 18 firefighters. One hundred and twenty cars belonging to a car dealership were parked on the second level. The New York City Police Department detained a suspect and filed arson charges the same day.
- Barmash, Isadore (September 4, 1970). "Brooklyn Shopping Center to Open in Week" (PDF). The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
- "Kings Plaza Shopping Center: Tenant Design Criteria" (PDF). Macerich. March 2017.
- William B. Helmreich (October 4, 2016). The Brooklyn Nobody Knows: An Urban Walking Guide. Princeton University Press. pp. 267–268. ISBN 978-0-691-16682-7.
- "Mill Basin Plaza". Kimco Realty. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- "Shopping Plaza and Marina Are Dedicated in Brooklyn" (PDF). The New York Times. July 9, 1968. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Shelby, Joyce (January 21, 2001). "NEW BEGINNING FOR MALL Kings Plaza gets $50M face - lift". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- "Civic Assn., Plaza Map Parking Plan" (PDF). Brooklyn Daily. Fultonhistory.com. July 12, 1969. p. 3. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- "Huge Kings Plaza Shopping Center Opening Planned For September 11" (PDF). Wave of Long Island. Fultonhistory.com. September 3, 1970. p. 1. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Rybstein, D. (September 25, 2003). "CB 18 Continues Opposition To Kings Plaza Expansion". Canarsie Courier. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Buiso, Gary (February 23, 2006). "With No Permits, Kings Plaza Expansion In Limbo; Cleanup Awaits". TimesLedger. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Mixxon, Colin (October 26, 2012). "Big sale at Kings Plaza — whole mall changes hands for $751 million!". Brooklyn Daily. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Sloane, Leonard (August 6, 1965). "It's Brooklyn and Yonkers for Alexander's; ALEXANDER'S SETS TWO NEW STORES" (PDF). The New York Times. pp. 33, 37. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- "Mammouth [sic] Shopping Center To Provide Electricity For Its Own Needs" (PDF). New York and Brooklyn Daily. Fultonhistory.com. August 7, 1970. p. 8. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- "Permit Type: Air Title V Facility" (PDF). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. June 23, 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
- Mormile, Dara (April 28, 2005). "CB 18 Approves Kings Plaza Bus Terminal Changes". Canarsie Courier. Archived from the original on 2015-09-11. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Brooklyn Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. November 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- "Plan Major Repairs On Flatbush Avenue" (PDF). Brooklyn Daily. Fultonhistory.com. April 1, 1970. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- "Anatomy of a Route: Reducing Delays on the B41 bus" (PDF). Transportation Alternatives, Straphangers Campaign, Schaller Consulting. July 18, 2003. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "DOT and MTA Announce Reconstruction of Kings Plaza Mall Bus Terminal". New York City Department of Transportation. June 24, 2005. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Cuba, Julianne (April 27, 2017). "MTA moved bus stops without warning: CB18". Brooklyn Daily. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Voluntary Cleanup Program; Operable Unit (OU)-3 – Former Standard Oil Terminal Kings Plaza Shopping Center". New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. May 13, 2002. Archived from the original on May 15, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "FACT SHEET: Kings Plaza Shopping Center/Marina Voluntary Cleanup Program; Remedy Proposed for Voluntary Cleanup Site Contamination; Public Comment Period Announced" (PDF). New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. May 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 27, 2017. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Barmash, Isadore (March 20, 1965). "Alexander's and Korvette Seek Big Brooklyn Site in Flatlands; Alexander's and Korvette Seek Big Brooklyn Site in Flat Lands" (PDF). The New York Times. pp. 31, 39. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Bennett, Charles G. (July 29, 1966). "Macy's and Alexander's to Build Joint Brooklyn Shopping Center; Macy's and Alexander's to Build Joint Brooklyn Shopping Center" (PDF). The New York Times. pp. 1, 28. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- "NEWS OF REALTY: PROPERTY TRADED; Manhattan Parcels Gained for Massachusetts Plot" (PDF). The New York Times. February 1, 1968. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Kadinsky, Sergey (2016). Hidden Waters of New York City: A History and Guide to 101 Forgotten Lakes, Ponds, Creeks, and Streams in the Five Boroughs. Countryman Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-1-58157-566-8.
- "Flatbush Streets Blocked To Protest Heavy Traffic". The New York Times. September 13, 1970. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Hudson, Edward (September 12, 1970). "Residents Block Brooklyn Roads". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "A Dinner‐Theater Opens in Brooklyn". The New York Times. July 21, 1974. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
- Golubski, Suzanne (July 26, 1983). "Kings Plaza will beef up security". New York Daily News. p. 76. Retrieved September 27, 2019 – via newspapers.com .
- Copage, Eric V. (August 8, 1983). "Mall parking fee feelings mixed". New York Daily News. p. 74. Retrieved September 27, 2019 – via newspapers.com .
- Seaton, Charles (October 5, 1983). "Parking fees draw gripes". New York Daily News. p. 101. Retrieved September 27, 2019 – via newspapers.com .
- Seaton, Charles (October 20, 1983). "Plaza protesters shopping list: Chaos". New York Daily News. p. 289. Retrieved September 27, 2019 – via newspapers.com .
- Golubski, Suzanne (January 13, 1984). "End parking fee, mall told". New York Daily News. p. 94. Retrieved September 27, 2019 – via newspapers.com .
- "Kings Plaza parking fee back". New York Daily News. January 24, 1984. p. 94. Retrieved September 27, 2019 – via newspapers.com .
- Bodamer, Dave (November 21, 2002). "ROYAL TREATMENT: Brooklyn's Kings Plaza gets a major renovation designed to modernize the 30- year-old mall" (PDF). International Council of Shopping Centers. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
- Fisher, Ian (May 16, 1992). "11 Closings: The Impact Rumbles In Region". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Shelby, Joyce (February 29, 1996). "Mill Basin Shops For Solution". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Lueck, Thomas J. (February 14, 1997). "Sears to Open 110 Stores in New York by End of 1999". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Feiden, Douglas (February 14, 1997). "Sear to Open Giant Stores in MAnhattan, B'klyn". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 20, 2017.
- Cohen, Mark Francis (1996-12-01). "Kings Plaza at the Crossroads". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-09-28.
- Fung, Amanda (January 19, 2010). "After 10 years, Crown family wins big in Brooklyn: Court throws out long-running case that had sought $120 million in damages over aborted plans to build theater complex near Kings Plaza". Crain's New York. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Friedman, Neil S. (August 14, 2003). "Pol Charges Mall Developer Has 'Unholy Alliance' With City". Canarsie Courier. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Berke, Ned (September 11, 2009). "Lowe's-Kings Plaza Gets a Wall". Bklyner. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- "Lowe's to open in Mill Basin on July 23". New York Post. June 22, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2017.
- Courier Life (January 19, 2010). "Kings Plaza Theater closes doors". New York Post. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
- "Kings Plaza Mall Renovation". Stratford Engineers. October 23, 2013. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
- Nadja Brandt, Bloomberg. "Vornado To Hold Quarterly Calls, Sell Some Retail Centers." April 13, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2012.
- Jonas, Ilaina (October 22, 2012). "Macerich to buy two malls from Vornado and Vornado affiliate". U.S. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
- Macerich (June 15, 2016). "Macerich To Bring Primark And Zara To Market-Dominant Kings Plaza In Brooklyn". PR Newswire (Press release). Retrieved September 28, 2019.
- Cuba, Julianne (June 17, 2016). "Sears ya Later! Department store departing Kings Plaza, makeover to follow". Brooklyn Daily. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
- "Burlington to open huge store at Kings Plaza Shopping Center". The Real Deal New York. 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
- "JCPenney Debuts Second Brooklyn Store". Globe News Wire. 2018-07-10. Retrieved 2018-07-13.
- "Flash Mob Of Teens Causes Disturbance At Brooklyn's Kings Plaza Mall". CBS New York. December 27, 2013. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
- "Facebook post to put Kings Plaza Mall 'on tilt' incites flash mob, fighting at Brooklyn shopping center". New York Daily News. December 27, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
- "Hundreds of teens trash mall in wild flash mob". New York Post. December 28, 2013. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
- Guariglia, Matthew (December 28, 2013). "400 NYC Teens Start a Mall 'Knockout' Riot". Heavy. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
- "Police investigate Kings Plaza fire as arson". News 12 Brooklyn. 2018-09-17. Retrieved 2018-09-17.
- West, Melanie Grayce; Honan, Katie (2018-09-17). "Police Call Fire at Popular Brooklyn Shopping Center Suspicious". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-09-17.