New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Housing Development Corporation (HDC), BRP Companies, and Urbane have announced the opening and rebranding of Flatbush Central—formerly Flatbush Caton Market—the revitalized marketplace which has been part of the fabric of the community for more than 20 years.
The Grand Opening took place on Friday, May 13th, 2022 with remarks from Mayor Adams, elected officials and others. The opening celebration invites the community to enjoy steel drum/Haitian folk music performances, stilt walkers, chef demos and food tastings, dance and printmaking classes, tours of the newly revitalized marketplace, and more during a weekend-long block party-style event, kicked off with remarks from elected officials and key stakeholders of the project.
Continuing the Celebration, Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace will host a weekend-long celebration ahead of the annual West Indian Day Parade! Friday, September 2nd through Monday, September 5, 2022.
The new Flatbush Central offers upgraded amenities, expanded space for food vendors—inclusive of a Caribbean-themed food hall, shared commercial kitchen, bar, and lounge—and new programming to engage entrepreneurs and the broader community in building connections and celebrating the cultures of Flatbush and Central Brooklyn.
Flatbush Central’s rebrand was inspired by a desire to fulfill the vision of the market’s founder – The Honorable Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, former NYC council member – who sponsored the market’s creation to build an institution for Caribbean people in Flatbush through the incubation of Caribbean businesses. Through an extensive research and design process that involved discussions with several community stakeholders, including patrons and vendors of the market, a new logo and brand emerged to reflect the diversity of the vibrant Caribbean cultures that influence the market.
“I am delighted to see my vision fulfilled, that vendors and entrepreneurs from our community now have a permanent home which gives both pride and dignity to those who struggled for existence and recognition,” said Dr. Una Clarke. “The name of the new site—Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace—is fitting because it acknowledges the contribution that Caribbeans have made to Flatbush and East Flatbush. I have long dreamt of and supported the aspirations of the Caribbean people. As a civil rights leader at the forefront of the community for more than four decades, building long-standing institutions rather than promoting temporary programs in our community is of the utmost importance. Because institutions last while programs come and go.”
“Flatbush Central Caribbean Market is an embodiment of New York City’s small business recovery,” saidNYCEDC President and CEO Rachel Loeb. “We are excited to open the doors to this market whose resilient vendors celebrate the rich Caribbean culture of this area of Brooklyn. We are proud to have worked with our development partners to deliver a project that will strengthen the Caribbean and Brooklyn communities for generations to come.”
“The Flatbush market has served as a cultural hub for the Caribbean community for more than 20 years and the opening of the new Flatbush Central continues with that tradition, while also bolstering resources and opportunities for local small businesses. Today’s announcement marks only the beginning of celebrations for this dynamic project, which will also provide 255 affordable homes to New Yorkers from a range of incomes,” said HDC President Eric Enderlin. “Congratulations to the entire community and our partners on the opening of the newly revitalized Flatbush Market.”
More than just a shopping destination, Flatbush Central represents a central place where Caribbean culture and diaspora traditions are expressed in a shared space through commerce, food, events, myriad arts, and more. The market features a variety of small businesses that operate year-round.
Additionally, the market will introduce its Mangrove™ accelerator—an economic mobility platform and incubator program whose goal is to spur community wealth opportunities—to the site to promote the growth of new and existing small local businesses. The Mangrove™ at Flatbush Central will offer access to state-of-the-art shared food and culinary, natural body care and cosmetics, new media, and textile production facilities, specifically targeting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs to support the growth of their businesses. The Mangrove™ will provide direct, industry-specific technical assistance, access to capital, cohort-based business curriculum for informal and emerging businesses, respectively, as well as facilitate partnerships with larger corporate entities and institutions for business-to-business (B2B) opportunities.
“Flatbush Central is a great example of what happens when we bring together immigrant entrepreneurs, government, and the private sector to create a new vibrant community,” said NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “This market showcases the rich contributions of the Caribbean community in Brooklyn, and its many talented entrepreneurs. I’d like to thank my partners in government for all of their efforts to sustain this market and bring it to this next level.”
“Small, local vendors like the ones returning to Flatbush Central are part of what makes Brooklyn so unique,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “I’m excited to see them in a new, permanent home that celebrates Caribbean culture and will also have incubator space to support new small businesses. I can’t wait to go and try some doubles and roti!”
“The distinctly Caribbean character of Flatbush is one of the many reasons I’m so proud to represent the neighborhood in the Council,” says Councilmember Rita Joseph. “The Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace will be a beacon of culture in Central Brooklyn for both Caribbeans and non-Caribbeans, and I’m thankful for all the leaders who made the opening possible.”
“For years the Flatbush Caton Market has been responsible for the success of entrepreneurs in the 21st district in which I represent and the surrounding areas,” said State Senator Kevin Parker. “The rebranding will be helpful to so many small business owners who took a hit a during the pandemic. The market not only spurred economic growth but met the needs of the community. I am proud that they were able to still be up and running during this critical time”
The newly opened market is located on the ground floor of Caton Flats, a 14-story, mixed-use development containing 255 units of 100 percent affordable housing and over 20,000 square feet of community space in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Residences range in size from studios to three-bedroom and are available to a range of incomes from very low-income to middle-income households.
“The new Flatbush Central market will at once serve as a vital hub for Caribbean commerce within the community, and as a first-rate retail destination attracting visitors and locals alike,” says James Johnson-Piett, Principal and CEO of Urbane. “For over two decades, the market has served as a cultural and commercial anchor in the neighborhood. Urbane is proud to be a steward in the evolution of the marketplace, through the preservation of legacy businesses who have operated at the market from its inception, while investing in a new era of entrepreneurial opportunity with upgraded and enhanced facilities serving emerging and existing talent throughout the Caribbean diaspora in the region and beyond. Additionally, Flatbush Central’s community programming will continue the tradition of the market as a community anchor where neighbors and friends can gather and make the space their own.”
Located at the northwest corner of Caton and Flatbush Avenues, Caton Flats delivers:
- Just over 220,000 square feet of residential space for the affordable housing component
- 16,000 square feet of space for Flatbush Central, small business incubators and offices
- 5,000 square feet of supplemental community space, a Caribbean Trade Center and headquarters owned and operated by Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI)
- 10,000 square feet dedicated to local retail
NYCEDC selected BRP Companies in 2015 through a competitive process to redevelop the city-owned Flatbush Central—formerly Flatbush Caton Market—into a mixed-use building that includes affordable housing as well as the market. BRP Companies was the only respondent to offer a temporary location for Flatbush Caton Market to operate during the construction period. Relocation costs for the vendors were covered by the development team and Urbane worked closely with the vendors to provide additional support and mitigate disruption during the period of construction.
Flatbush Central Caribbean Marketplace is located at 2123 Caton Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11226, and open to the public Monday-Saturday from 10:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. For more information on the market, visit on Instagram @flatbush_central and at flatbushcentral.com.
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