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PR- 098-04
April 28, 2004


Home Improvement Retailer Helps Revitalize Gowanus Canal and Neighborhood

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and Lowe's Regional VP of Stores Terry Johnson today announced Lowe's will open its first store in Brooklyn on Friday, April 30th, the company's second store in New York City. While a new Lowe's usually creates 175 new jobs, Lowe's Brooklyn store has created approximately 320 new jobs due to the expected demand at the Brooklyn location. Located along the Gowanus Canal, Lowe's worked closely with the New York State Department of Labor and local community groups to hire locally for the Brooklyn store.

“This is a great day for Brooklyn and a great day for Lowe’s,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Most importantly, Lowe’s of Gowanus will create roughly 320 new well-paying jobs for New Yorkers. And because of the major housing boom going on in Brooklyn, there’s clearly no better place to open a home improvement store. Each year since 2000, new housing activity in the borough has been three times greater than it was during the years of the late 1990s.  In fact, there were more than 6,000 housing permits granted here last year alone. What’s more, these new housing starts were borough-wide, bringing renewed vitality to many neighborhoods. I want to thank Lowe’s - a great corporate citizen - for recognizing the tremendous economic opportunities presented by Brooklyn, and specifically by the area surrounding the Gowanus Canal.”

“The changes Lowe’s has made to Gowanus are helping to revitalize the neighborhood and the Canal,” said Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President.  “Lowe’s has really made it to the big time, because if you can make it in Brooklyn you can make it anywhere!”

“The opening of the Brooklyn store further demonstrates our commitment to the New York City area,” said Rick Damron, Lowe’s senior vice president of store operations. “This gives the residents of Brooklyn and surrounding areas a new choice.  We’re rolling out the welcome mat to bring these customers quality, variety, value and exceptional service in a clean, bright shopping environment. The Brooklyn store is merchandised specifically to meet the needs of urban customers and building superintendents.  For example, we’ve taken out the riding lawn mowers and reduced space devoted to fencing and mailboxes, while making room for more of the products these people are looking for—storage solutions, plaster and gypsum boards, masonry items and more security and fire doors to name a few.”

Lowe’s Brooklyn includes a 600-foot esplanade, the first of its kind along the Gowanus Canal, with trees, park benches and lighting. The exterior of the store will be enhanced by two giant murals depicting the theme, Brooklyn: My Neighborhood, My Home™.  Images will be selected through a Borough-wide competition with the winning artist receiving $10,000 and residents voting for their favorite mural concept.  In keeping with its national sponsorship of Habitat for Humanity’s Women Build program, Lowe’s will also be making a donation to the Brooklyn Habitat Chapter.

The creation of the esplanade was made possible in part by the reactivation of the Gowanus Canal Flushing Tunnel.  In 1999, the City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) completed its effort to restore the flushing tunnel, bringing fresh water from Buttermilk Channel into the head of Gowanus Canal. The operation of the tunnel replaced the stagnant water the Canal with fresh, oxygen-rich water that improved water quality, minimize odors, and greatly enhance the quality of life for neighboring residents. This effort served as a catalyst for the revitalization of the entire community - an area that will be not only more aesthetically pleasing, but environmentally healthy as well.

“DEP’s partnership with the Gowanus Canal community has produced an environmental success story,” said Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Christopher Ward. “New life has been breathed into this neglected waterway and the surrounding neighborhood and we are committed to helping further this renaissance.”

“Lowe’s estimates that this store has the potential to be among the highest performing in its nearly 1,000-store chain.  More than $70 million worth of sales are projected in the store’s first year, more than double the company-wide average. Lowe’s confidence in its newest location is the latest proof that our Administration’s strategy of making New York City more livable, business-friendly and economically diverse is working,” concluded Mayor Bloomberg.


Edward Skyler / Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958

Jennifer Smith (Lowe’s)   (704) 758-2298

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