NEW YORK CITY-Validating Downtown Brooklyn’s metamorphisis into a cultural mecca, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and local stakeholders unveiled on Monday an effort to explore the creation of a new business improvement district.
As announced in a release from the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the proposed BID’s focus area would represent several of the jewels in Brooklyn’s crown, including the new Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Cultural District, as well as commercial blocks on Flatbush, Atlantic and Vanderbilt Avenues.
If the BID gets created, property owners in the district would pay an additional property tax to fund services—including sanitation, extra security, streetscape improvements and maintenance, programming and promotion and marketing opportunities—and, in return, the BID would facilitate economic development, urban planning and advocacy efforts for the neighborhood.
As the first step in getting the effort off the ground, a steering committee representing local stakeholders has been formed. The group includes commercial property owners, government officials, cultural institutions and even small retailers. But the idea is far from being a done deal: BID creation procedures call for public hearings and approvals by the City Planning Commission, New York City Council and several community boards. All of that is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.
The area has made a name for itself in recent years with the opening of several high profile attractions, such as the Barclays Center, and that trend is likely to continue, says the release. Atlantic Yards, a Forest City Ratner Cos. Project, is expected to open while new cultural venues, such as BRIC House and Theatre for a New Audience, will debut and new public spaces—such as the renovated Fox Square, Visual Arts Plaza and South Site Plaza—will come online.
All of that growth warrants the creation of a new BID, the city’s 68th such organization, according to the Partnership. “These investments warrant a first-class management partner to provide clean and safe streets and vibrant public spaces,” says the release. “The creation of a business improvement district would ensure that these services are delivered, promoting a vibrant downtown for generations to come.”
The Downtown Partnership calls Downtown Brooklyn “home to one of the busiest retail corridors in the nation, attracting 150,000 shoppers daily and more than 100,000 office workers, over 40 arts and cultural organizations, as well as twelve universities and colleges educating some 57,000 students.”
City officials seem to believe in the area too, having invested over $200 million in infrastructure improvements in the area. Those dollars have been put to good use, as the area’s 432,000 square feet of office space and over 1.3 million square feet of retail space has come online.
The city’s position of standing behind this development has paid off with the addition of 26 new residential buildings with 6,860 units of mixed-income housing, five new hotels with more than 1,200 rooms, growth of academic institutions and cultural facilities.