Thursday, November 8, 2007

Downtown Brooklyn Finally Arrives

The NY Sun writes breathlessly about the stunning array of new developments in Downtown Brooklyn, from high-rise luxury apartments, to high-rise office towers, to a flood of new hotels. Here is a taste of "Downtown Brooklyn Finally Arrives":
"Brooklyn has morphed into a 24/7 community. The area is teeming with activity — artsy and cool Generation Xers and Yers, families with strollers, Manhattan exiles, office workers, and out-of-town visitors are coming to take advantage of the new venues that big-bucks bohemia has to offer," the president of Troutbrook Companies, Marc Freud, said. "Redevelopments, new developments, and the continuity of change dot the skyline. The vaunted destination known for haute cuisine and eclectic art galleries, shopping, and culture has created an urban modernity that when you leave has you yearning for more."
The article gives a good sense of how the neighborhood is becoming stiff competition to Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. The spectacular growth shows no end of slowing down, despite problems elsewhere in the real estate and other markets. With such tremendous optimism, you have to question this statement by Joe Chan of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership:
Willoughby Square has always been the centerpiece of the plan, and is an important incentive to attract private investment....

Acquisition of property is critical and necessary for Willoughby Square to move forward — and without Willoughby Square, much of this new investment, and therefore businesses, jobs and housing, will not happen.
Huh? Read the New York Sun- do they make it seem like Willoughby Square (recently dubbed the "Bonsai Bryant Park" by blogger Norman Oder) is the linchpin of of all economic growth? None of these jobs will happen without this small grassy knoll? And a 1.25 acre park is a more unique cultural attraction to Downtown Brooklyn than a museum at the home of prominent Abolitionists?

Businesses have to be flexible in their plans if they want to stay in business. The NYC Economic Development Corporation and their buddies at the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership seem to have no incentive to be flexible in their plans. We can have spectacular economic growth in Brooklyn, and preserving the Duffield Abolitionist homes will help, not hurt, that economic development.