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As new tenants flow in, things look up for Atlas Park

By Gabriel Rom

HomeGoods, a popular household-supply franchise, opened its first store in Queens at The Shops at Atlas Park last Thursday—another sign that the long-struggling mall may be turning things around.

“This is a home run for the neighborhood,” said Kathy Massi, president of the Glendale Civic Association.

HomeGoods, owned by The TJX Companies, specializes in discounted home furnishings.

“The store is suburban. It has a broad depth of goods and it’s at the right price point,” said Faith Hope Consolo, a New York retail broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman.

“Atlas Park is moving in the right direction,” Consolo added. “The owners are making the right types of deals and I think that by the first quarter of next year you will see a real increase in sales.”

The 400,000-square-foot complex, located on the former Atlas Terminal industrial plot at 80-00 Cooper Ave., opened in 2006 but was plagued with empty stores, various vacancies and even a petty crime problem. In 2009, the mall fell into foreclosure. Two years later, Macerich, which owns shopping malls nationwide, including the Queens Center, purchased Atlas Park for around $54 million.

Before the mall went into foreclosure, it was run by Damon Hemmerdinger, who had a vision of the shops as a high-end retail oasis in the neighborhood.

Atlas Park’s new owners “have refocused,” Consolo said. “Before, they were focusing on the wrong price point. They were trying to be too upscale and that’s not what that neighborhood needed.”

In recent years, the mall has opened mass-retail stores that include Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, TJ Maxx and now Home Goods.

“They started slow, but over the past two years the mall has dramatically improved,” Massi added. “There are very few stores left from the original mall. There has been a complete transformation.”

Consolo sees HomeGoods’ arrival as another sign that the mall is beginning to listen to local consumer demands.

“They’ve figured out who their customer is,” she said.

Consolo expects more restaurant options to open soon at Atlas Park. “Fashion follows food,” she said.

On Tuesday, Danny Brown announced that he would oin the list of vendors at the LIC Flea&Food holiday market at Atlas Park.

In recent months, both Brooklyn Cupcake and Auntie Ann’s Pretzels have opened at the Mall.

HomeGoods, based in Massachusetts, has two other stores in New York City, one in Brooklyn and another on the Upper West Side. In September, Home Goods announced it would replace the Barnes & Noble in Bay Terrace.

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at [email protected]cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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