Southern Brooklyn

City Considers Mall On Local Nature Preserve

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by Marina Fridman-Rybner

A new retail project is being proposed on city-owned property near Kings Plaza, and the city is looking for your input.

Four Sparrows Marsh Retail Mall, named after the 67-acre preserve that it will be built on,  is a proposed 15-acre development that will expand the existing Toys “R” Us lot at 2875 Flatbush Avenue.

Details of the plan are still being drawn up, according to NYC Economic Development Corporation’s project description, but a key component of the plan includes a commercial building will go on the left side of the existing Toys “R” Us building and will house Kristal Auto Mall, which is moving from it current Kings Highway location. That building will house the dealership, showroom and the service space.

Aside from that, there are two options being considered for the other side of Toys “R” Us. The first is for two commercial structures that will house multiple commercial tenants. The second option is for one large commercial structure that will house one tenant. They’re also planning on-site parking for approximately 820 vehicles.

Nature enthusiasts will find more than just a shopping option in the space, as a nature path will be created with a publicly accessible waterfront open space. However, the trail is both small (400 feet) and placed in only a corner of the marsh, on the far end of the retail center parking lot.

A public scope meeting for the Four Sparrows Retail Center Project is scheduled for January 11, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kings Plaza Community Room (5117 Avenue U) to answer questions and concerns from the public.

Among the topics that will be discussed are:

  • A detailed project description, including new jobs created and economic benefits to the city
  • Land use and rezoning necessary for the project
  • Socioeconomic conditions, potential displaced population, and how it may affect existing businesses
  • Urban design, meaning the overall look of the development and the effect on the water and marina views
  • Effects to the area’s ecology, including local parkland and wetlands. This is important, as Four Sparrows Marsh Preserve is the larger and older of the two remaining salt marshes on the north shore of the Jamaica Bay estuary system. It serves two critical roles besides nesting habitat. It is a rest stop for up to 326 species of migrating birds on the Atlantic Flyway, and filters pollution and excess nutrients from the Bay
  • Transportation: potential traffic, parking and transit impact on the neighborhood of the proposed project.
  • Effect on air quality, and the potential effects of additional traffic generated emissions
  • Impact on the neighborhood quality
  • Unavoidable adverse impacts

You can find out more about the project here.

Comment policy


  1. This is an outrage. But to be expected from a city that wants to destroy, rather than protect widlife.

    Stay tuned, Central Park is to be replaced by condo development, news at 11.

  2. Be realistic Lisanne! Nobody would do anything to destroy a tourist attraction like Central Park in precious Manhattan. Prospect Park will obviously be the first to be destroyed for condos. Cause you know, Bloomberg hates Brooklyn.


    Today I learned html tags don’t work on Disqus.

  3. I think until you have the stores filled in the existing Kings Plaza Mall, this is a sick project. I can understand cleaning up the area and creating a park like area for the residents with access to the waterfront but this is not what they are doing.

  4. I like this development. If they dont try to pack in tenants and put in a couple of solid anchors this really makes sense. Its right off the Belt on a major thorough fare that can handle traffic with out backups. Its perfect for a walmart JOKING. Actually a Super Stop and Shop would be good for this location.

  5. I do agree that Kings Plaza needs to be saved before any thoughts are
    400 feet is not a park like area when they are talking acres of
    It will only be the beginning of the end for the whole preserve.
    How the hell can the city build on it in the first place?

  6. It’s been going on. Do not feed squirrels, do not feed birds; they would trap and kill other animals if they thought they could get away with it.

  7. Birds don’t generate millions of dollars for Bloomberg’s peers.

    Remember what Ronald Reagan said; “If you’ve seen one tree you’ve seen them all”. Bloomberg makes whatever noun substitution is needed for the occasion.

  8. As an employee of the Parks Department I am disgusted by the proposed plans for this site. Four Sparrow Marsh was supposed to be a sensitive environmental area unique to Brooklyn or so they said. They pulled the same scheme in East New York 10 years ago with the Gateway Center which I think is a blemish to southern Brooklyn. That mini so called marsh preserve they have bordering that shopping center is nothing more than a collecting station for runaway shopping bags from the mall that collect there like a graveyard of plastic.

    I know for a fact that the southern reaches of Brooklyn are teeming with small wildlife. Canarsie Park for example has a very large Cottontail Rabbit population very much in evidence by the recent snowfall and Rabbit tracks in the snow all over the “back” of the park. Add Opossum, Raccoon, Muskrat, the occasional Skunk and many bird species to the mix and this population is repeated in Bergen each, Marine Park, Floyd Bennett, Plumb Beach and Four Sparrow.

    What a shame tis the greedy consuming society we live in.

  9. A public scope meeting for the Four Sparrows Retail Center Project is scheduled for January 11, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kings Plaza Community Room (5117 Avenue U) to answer questions and concerns from the public.

  10. I’m sure the JOB CREATION asspect will be the main selling point to push this through. Those fighting this must address this. Are sales clerks the best jobs to create?

  11. Four sparrows Nature Preserve has a very interesting history. It was initially created as a SECRET preserve. Open only to those who knew about it, I repeat that is was created as a SECRET preserve. There were no signs, there was/is a heavy metal, locked, barrier to prevent cars from entering. The nearest parking was in the Toys are Us parking lot.

    I have been inside it a few times. During those times I was pleased to see that there were road construction machines there. But, as with Plumb Beach, they were merely parked. No work was being done.

    Once on Earth Day, I took part in planting trees inside. I am handicapped I can no longer do those things, but I would if able. I don’t know what corrupt political/commercial forces have gone on behind the scenes, but upon reflection, I would hate to see the trees that we planted destroyed to make more stores where our economy doesn’t support existing stores.

    If we think about the Federal Clean Air, Clean Water activities that are going on in our area, Four Sparrows is a necessary addition. In recent years, raccoons and lots of other indigenous wildlife has returned to Southern Brooklyn. More unnecessary retail stores do not improve the quality of the Earth.

    Four Sparrows should be made part of Gateway National Park. Not any longer a SECRET area, with Park Rangers conducting regular tours for those interested so that we can all learn more about the Nature we right in our backyard.

  12. With the weather forecast for this week, I don’t expect to be able to get to the meeting. I have been a prisoner in my apartment due to the storms. But I would like to point out that the City, under the current “Mayor” has been active in creating new parks in Northern Brooklyn, presumably for the gentry who live near there, Brooklyn Heights, Dumbo, Red Hook, and other newly gentrified areas. Those are the areas were the people who can no longer afford Manhattan have been forced to move to. That is until the rents become prohibitive and they move to Southern Brooklyn, then we will have Four Sparrows developed for their use.

  13. Like that meeting has really been publicized. Why isn’t it part of Gateway National Recreation Area if it has wildlife?

  14. If it is built, which I hope won’t happen, you can be assured the MTA won’t even increase bus service to serve it.

  15. I live 5 blocks from flatbush and the traffic is always heavy in the morning and afternoon/ evening hours and weekends. Those reckless dollar vans and double parked cars do not help matters. After thanksgiving is crazy and the summer has the beach traffic.

  16. It sounds like you should be at this meeting. Your current limitations must be frustrating at the least.

    This piece of land shouldn’t be a park in the conventional sense. And given its location, it probably wouldn’t see that much use as one.

  17. I dont think traffic gets backed up on Flatbush on this small stretch. Once you get to Kings Plaza then yes there is traffic but coming off the belt say going north on your way home this would be a great place to go to a supermarket with parking. I dont know anything about the land or animals or environmental impact i was just talking about location.

  18. Nothing north of the Belt in Brooklyn is part of the Federal Gateway land. This was always city land but not city parkland that is why the Economic Development people are involved. Is it a good idea to turn all vacant land over to the Fed’s to keep development out? Or should it be made NYC parkland? Ironically, the NPS doesn’t know what to do with Floyd Bennett Field as the the Blue Ribbon Commission is suggesting NYC Parks or others come in manage it.

  19. My understanding was that the city came into possession of the land which makes up the Four Sparrows preserve. Just not sure exactly when that happened. I also believe that the city had held that land at an earlier time as well, in the 1920s it was part of a development plan for that area. I’m rather sure it had been part of the common lands of the Town of Flatlands. Part of it may have been within the original route of Mill Creek.

    Floyd Bennett Field is another jurisdictional headache. It was a city airport. It was still in use when Gateway was proposed. It has some historical significance; NPS would do a much better job managing it but the main complex falls outside of the focus of the Jamaica Bay/Marine Park Unit.

  20. Well said. Are you able to make it to the meeting? I hope so, those
    are some words for serious thought.

  21. Do you live in the area, if so, I can offer a ride. If it is helpful.
    I can not lift a wheelchair though. Speak to Ned…he can hook us up.

  22. If this had been posted on April 1, I would have been sure it was a JOKE. There is a reason the area is called a PRESERVE.

  23. There is no jurisdictional headache at FBF. It is part of Gateway National Recreation Area. The problem IS the NPS managment. See , The problem is always that there is no money for parks, but plenty for developments either at FBF or Four Sparrows.

  24. That link is good for people that like to read. Me, I come from the lazy side of the field. I need to hear things so they spread in my brain and in the community.
    I hope you go to the meeting. My offer still stands.
    I will shut up now.

  25. Gee, why not put the retail development south of the Belt. Remember when Paul Neuman wanted a race track? But, noooo that was whack. RIP

  26. There is a lot of activity over there right now, involving lots of heavy equipment. No signage, or permits posted. Looks like a successful end run.

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