Flatbush Central has stood the test of time as a commercial and cultural institution.
Located at the bustling intersection of Flatbush and Caton Avenues in the heart of a community with a rich Caribbean tradition, Flatbush Caton Market (FCM) was established in 2000 as an open-air market through the pioneering advocacy of Hon. S.T. Dr. Clarke. Dr. Clarke entered public service in 1991, and her mission as the first Caribbean-born woman elected to the City’s legislature was to advocate for her constituents and empower the community to thrive. As a community member and elected official, she witnessed the day-to-day struggles of street merchants in her district. Realizing the need and opportunity, Dr. Clarke’s office partnered with the City of New York to dedicate a permanent space in a municipal parking lot for merchants to set-up tents, and the market was born. Unsatisfied with vendors merely transitioning from the street to tents in a parking lot, Dr. Clarke’s office raised $100,000 for the construction of a permanent building to house the merchants by galvanizing the support of vendors, community members, and other local officials.
FCM houses over 40 merchants, community events and a seasonal farmers market.
In concert, they advocated for her vision of building an indoor market to provide opportunities for outdoor vendors to escape the harsh seasons, and to provide local vendors opportunities to incubate their businesses with support from small business development entities, including the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) and the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS.) In 2001, FCM broke ground for the construction of a permanent building to provide an indoor home at affordable rates to former local street vendors, with the new building opening on January 19, 2002. Since then, FCM has stood the test of time as a commercial and cultural institution housing over 40 merchants, community events and a seasonal farmers market.
In 2013, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) released an RFP for a developer to purchase, re-develop, and manage the Market, including new commercial, residential, and community uses, and a permanent home for the FCM. BRP companies along with Urbane Development are part of the joint venture partnership awarded the development project and will manage the redevelopment of the Market. In November of 2017, FCM relocated to a temporary, pop-up market site within the neighborhood on Clarendon Road, while the existing market site is re-developed into a 14-story mixed-use complex, which will include a revamped FCM.