April 4, By Hannah Wulkan
The Court Square Civic Association will host a panel later this week to discuss retail development in the neighborhood.
At its meeting Thursday, the CSCA will host several neighborhood influencers to discuss retail in Court Square from multiple perspectives.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at MoMA PS1, and will include a panel discussion with Senior Vice President of Development for Rockrose Properties Patricia Dunphy, President of the LIC Partnership Elizabeth Luskin, and owner of local bar The Beast Next Door John Veenema.
“I wanted to have a mix of folks that could talk about business development from different perspectives,” said President of the CSCA Amadeo Plaza, adding that each panelist could offer a unique insight in to the neighborhood development.
As president of the local Business Improvement District, Luskin could bring a macro perspective to the discussion and speak on the overall vision for the neighborhood as it develops, Plaza said.
He added that Dunphy could provide a more grounded perspective as the head of retail in LIC for Rockrose, a major development company in the area. “Rockrose has a lot of influence in day-to-day retail and neighborhood amenities in Court Square, so I hope she can provide context as to what people can expect when it comes to ground floor retail throughout neighborhood,” Plaza said.
Finally, Veenema will bring the business owner perspective, Plaza explained. “I’m eager for people to hear what the challenges one could face opening a business in Court Square might be,” Plaza said. “He did it and knows what the challenges were in doing so, and he can hopefully provide greater clarity as to why retail spaces haven’t filled up so quickly and can bring his own perspective as to what is missing in the neighborhood.”
Plaza hopes that the panel will be educational to those in the neighborhood who don’t know how retail is brought in to the area, and will also allow for an exchange of ideas between market influencers.
He added that many people see empty storefronts and wonder why they are not filled, but he hopes this meeting could provide perspective and hope for the future. Though plans are still under wraps, Plaza said that Rockrose is in the midst of bringing several new businesses in to the area.
“If everything comes together, we will have some pretty interesting things coming to the neighborhood in the not too distant future,” Plaza said. “I want people to realize that our neighborhood is developing and I believe that the days of feeling like we have to go to Manhattan to do anything will be behind us soon.”