Downtown Brooklyn is bursting with new real estate development, but as NY1's Jeanine Ramirez reports, a pair of new reports say it's not exactly the type of growth that was envisioned when the city rezoned the area a dozen years ago.
Cranes have become as much a part of the downtown Brooklyn skyline as water towers. A new report by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership says 30 million square feet of new development is taking hold —some projects completed, others underway — all since the area's rezoning in 2004.
"The city invested $400 million in downtown Brooklyn at the time of the rezoning," said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed. "We're now tracking close to $10 billion in private investment."
Much of those billions have gone towards housing. Almost 20,000 apartments have been built or are being built, most are rentals — about 20% of them set aside as affordable units. Here's the latest planned apartment tower — an enormous 73-story high-rise on Flatbush Avenue adjacent to the landmark Dime Savings Bank building. The rezoning also has spurred hotels and retail development. But what's lagging far behind — the rezoning's main objective — office space.
"Those areas that were designed office space turned into residential spaces," said Borough President Eric Adams. "People wanted to be close to the waterfront. They want to be close to the happenings of Downtown so that was a surprise that took place."
The borough president has also released a report on the redevelopment. He says there were supposed to be more projects in downtown Brooklyn like this, which broke ground in November, the first entirely new commercial space in more than a decade.
"Now we're looking for (the Economic Development Corporation) and the Department of Planning to put in place a task force to reexamine how we move forward."
Developer Tishman Speyer made a $270 million deal to buy this Macy's building in Downtown Brooklyn.
It will include 10 floors of office space above a renovated Macy's store. But even including this project, there is 10 times more residential space being developed than commercial space.
Experts say there should be more of a balance for downtown Brooklyn to truly thrive.
"What makes a neighborhood with a lot of vitality is really the mixture of the uses that make a 24/7 use," Reed said.