Friday, July 20, 2007

Albee Square: When the Mall’s No Longer Home

Gotham Gazette tackles some of the development issues surrounding Downtown Brooklyn in Albee Square: When the Mall’s No Longer Home:

Brooklyn’s African-American community has a collective memory of this lively slice of downtown. But now this sense of shared past is threatened by a new development proposal for the site that would remake what is now an urban, discount-oriented mall into a sleek new tower with upscale retail and apartments.

The latest vision for the Albee Square site is just one of a slew of new development proposals prompted by the Downtown Brooklyn Plan (in pdf), a major rezoning approved by the city in 2004. Since then, development downtown has proceeded on a site-by-site basis, and so have the struggles to ensure that it happens equitably. When the proposal for the Albee Square site emerged early this year, advocacy groups and locals rushed to obtain information about who owns the land, what policies are shaping its future, and how purported benefits or drawbacks could potentially be distributed among different stakeholders.


While not opposed to more office space downtown, Good Jobs New York criticizes the use of subsidies for its construction, arguing that the city could have avoided them through a more creative approach to the rezoning. Instead, the city tied its own hands, forcing itself into a position in which subsidies are necessary in order to accomplish its economic development goals.

Here is a link to PlanNYC's page on Albee Square: