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BROOKLYN, NY-The Downtown Brooklyn Plan was certified and now it will face a public review process. The expansion project could bring 5.4 million sf of commercial space and 1,000 housing units to the area. The key challenges are possible traffic problems and attracting big-name businesses.

To deal with the traffic concerns, the Department of Transportation will begin an in-depth study. Downtown Brooklyn Council executive director Michael Burke tells GlobeSt.com that a city-hired traffic coordinator is expected to release findings from a survey by the end of 2004. “A tremendous amount of work has been done,” Burke says. “This is a long-term plan–a traffic survey will be a huge step forward.”

While developers will make their own efforts toward marketing the area, Burke anticipates that there will be a public-private cooperation toward that regard, as well. A comprehensive plan for a marketing effort will also be completed by the end of next year with the goal of making the area more attractive for office and retail development.

Originally announced in April, the plan calls for the city to increase zoning allowances, assist in the assembly of key sites and undertake infrastructure and streetscape improvements to help facilitate the creation of new office, residential, retail, open space and cultural facilities.

The plan calls for the creation of three office towers, which will have as much as three million sf of space, to be built abutting a newly created 1.5-acre park on Willoughby Street just west of the Flatbush Avenue extension, as well as an office development anchoring the west end at Boerum Place with a total development potential of nearly 850,000 sf. There will also be residential and commercial opportunity on the eastern side of Flatbush Avenue extension and the addition of approximately 2,000 parking spaces.

The plan also works with cultural institutions and the area’s seven existing academic institutions, which occupy more than 900,000-sf of campus area. A mixed-use cultural district with a new library, theaters, galleries, rehearsal spaces and other cultural venues, as well as mixed income housing is in the works for the area surrounding the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

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