NEW YORK CITY—Brooklyn’s renaissance has been due largely to investment by private developers but now the city plans to make huge upgrades to the borough’s Downtown area.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a package of investments in Downtown Brooklyn designed to “ensure the district continues to grow into a dynamic economic, cultural and education hub.” The administration is seeking to bring together Downtown Brooklyn’s parks, commercial strips and institutions, driving growth and making the neighborhood more dynamic. 

Included in the package are redesigned streets that define the area as a destination, opening the ground floors of city-owned buildings to retail development, opening new parks and improving existing ones, and collaborating with the area’s 11 major education institutions to position Downtown Brooklyn as a national leader in technology.

“This is one of the city’s great success stories, and we have an incredible opportunity to take these stunning communities, parks and institutions and knit them together,” says de Blasio. “The investments we are making will help Downtown Brooklyn continue its rise, generate good jobs, and make this a more dynamic neighborhood to live and work.”

Adds public advocate Letitia James, “At the center of the revitalization is the restructuring of the ‘Brooklyn Strand’—the parks, plazas and greenways between Borough Hall and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Furthermore, the city will soon unveil the long-awaited Brooklyn Cultural District BID, and will increase collaboration among Downtown Brooklyn’s higher education institutions to strengthen our creative and technological footprint.”

In addition to those mentioned, initiatives underway in Downtown Brooklyn include a program to make streets safer and more inviting and a new internship program for CUNY students majoring in computer science and related tracks.

“The experience of the past decade has shown that the more we invest in Brooklyn, the more Brooklyn contributes to the economy and cultural reputation of New York City,” says City Council memberRobert Cornegy, Jr. “The expanded investments in business attraction, green space, cultural institutions and welcoming streets in Downtown Brooklyn being announced today will make our borough’s world class assets more accessible and visually evident to residents and visitors alike.”