To help make sure the area continues its economic growth, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) announced a strategic plan to continue the success.
The plan was unveiled in the newly renovated Richard B. Fisher Building of the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Thursday, July 26.
Downtown Brooklyn has received $3.5 billion in new private investments since 2006, which led to the creation of 7.9 million square feet of new space, according to a statement released by DBP. Of this space, roughly 237,000 square feet is office space and 539,000 new square feet is retail space.
“Everywhere you look things are looking up for downtown,” said Borough President Marty Markowitz, noting that start-ups, retail chains and students are all moving into the area. “Downtown Brooklyn is now home to more college students than Cambridge, Massachusetts.”
Roughly 57,000 students study in Downtown Brooklyn, and that number will increase over the next few years due to the construction of a science campus for NYU's Center for Urban Sustainability and Progress at 70 Jay Street, which was the former MTA headquarters.
And approximately 100,000 people now work in Downtown Brooklyn. At last week’s press conference, DBP President Tucker Reed laid out the plans going forward.
“If the first five years of the partnership was focused on facilitating the execution of public and private projects,” he said, “the next phase will be on synthesizing these investments to the Downtown Brooklyn mosaic.
Despite the impressive amount of job growth and economic success in the area over the past five years, Reed said there is still more potential.
“While much of the development since 2004 has focused on the residential market, we believe there are still underutilized commercial space for start-ups and entrepreneurial firms to locate in Downtown Brooklyn.”
One issue Reed said was a problem was the area’s infrastructure.
“From the pedestrian perspective, it's not always intuitive or pleasant to navigate our streets,” he said.
Reed also said that many residents don't understand that Downtown Brooklyn is one cohesive neighborhood because of its segmented nature.
“To change this perception, we are going to continue improving Downtown Brooklyn's pedestrian experience through an interconnected system of parks, plazas, greenways and green spaces,” he said.
Reed said DBP could also do a better job of marketing the neighborhood to the area’s college students.
“We will work to raise downtown's profile as a college town,” he said. “We will plan signature events for Downtown Brooklyn's college population and develop new programs that inform students about area amenities.”
Alan Fishman, co-chairman of DBP, said the goal was to make Downtown Brooklyn’s recent successes last long term.
“The key in our view is how do you go from being a hot spot, a high tech Silicon Valley flash in the pan, to being a blue chip name?” he said. “That's the whole objective.”