BROOKLYN, NY-The patchwork quilt that is this borough’s commercial gentrification took a major step toward unification yesterday afternoon when the New York City Mayor’s office unveiled plans for major upgrades in office, multifamily and cultural developments. Called the Downtown Brooklyn Plan, the strategy, unveiled by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff and key local politicos, calls for the creation of some 5.4 million sf of commercial space, initially in three office towers; 1,000 new multifamily units with a substantial affordable-housing component; and the creation of a cultural district of theaters, galleries and rehearsal studios centered around the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Financial details of the developments are still sketchy, Doctoroff told, and the Deputy Mayor admitted that incentives to drive developers and tenants to Brooklyn are still unformed. He did estimate that over the next seven to 10 years, the city would invest some $100 million in infrastructure improvements to make the various projects under the plan come to life. These expenditures would come in addition to the cost of transportation upgrades.

The push to develop the borough is an economic necessity, Doctoroff stated, in a city whose “market share for office workers has been declining for decades. In the last boom period this city had no space for companies that wanted to stay or grow here. There was no available space for less than $40 per foot. As a result, we lost jobs.” By contrast, he continued, Jersey City’s development push resulted in space for 50,000 new workers. The new program “will give New York city the opportunity to create class A office space without the class A rents.”

He explained that the new focus on Brooklyn, which will begin with rezoning for the new commercial projects, is part of an overall push on the part of the city to provide commercial users with alternatives beyond Midtown Manhattan. The Lower Manhattan incentive–one of those alternative sites–has been the most publicized focus since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But also included in the strategy are the Hudson Yards and Long Island City.

“In each case, public investments will ensure a broad array of alternatives for companies who need them,” he said. “One size does not fit all.”

The new construction would be centered mostly in close proximity to the Forest City Ratner’s ongoing MetroTech Center acting as a sort of hub to existing developments in Brooklyn such as Dumbo, Brooklyn Bridge Park, and Atlantic Terminal.

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