Bklyner has an optimistic view for the future of Downtown Brooklyn, as well as an outstanding look at how we got to be here:
Brooklyn’s historic central business district also suffered during the pandemic. But the area’s boosters and developers believe its location, open spaces, and large residential population could give it a leg up over Manhattan as the post-pandemic recovery finally begins.
I didn’t know much about the neighborhood before moving here from Flatbush in 2016. The only bit of knowledge I had was that the neighborhood was re-zoned in 2004, the results of which were just starting to bloom. And that the spot with all the stores in the colorful shipping containers was now a mall (City Point).
The full story of Downtown Brooklyn is as much about the recovery after 9/11 as it is anything else. One avenue of thought about the re-zoning was an effort to decentralize office buildings, which were mostly clustered in the Financial District and Midtown at the time.
The Downtown Brooklyn re-zoning wasn’t totally successful though, as it was meant to give us a ton of office space but instead it’s just housing, housing, and more expensive housing. But that new construction also allowed for a lot of new Affordable Housing opportunities in new buildings, as the companies behind the construction wanted the tax breaks.
My apartment window has a direct view at a new office building that’s currently under construction. When the pandemic hit and the stage officially went on PAUSE, all construction stopped.
Eventually, after what felt like forever but was actually just weeks, construction started up again. I met a friend that works in commercial real estate at Fort Greene Park around that time. The future felt very uncertain at the time (I think May? June?) but he said his company was shifting resources from residential to commercial in the short term. It was taking the bet that offices would come back, but with remote work being more flexible, housing rentals might be soft.
Seems like the opposite of what’s being proposed in Midtown Manhattan, with office space potentially being converted into apartments. But Downtown Brooklyn is not Manhattan, and almost all available inventory is residential already.
The full article from Bklyner goes into way more detail, and is well worth the read.
What do you think about the future of Downtown Brooklyn?