Downtown muni-building to undergo retail transformation

In a move that reflects Brooklyn’s financial expansion despitethe harsh economic downturn throughout the country, Mayor MichaelBloomberg and Borough President Marty Markowitz have announced theselection of a developer to transform part of the BrooklynMunicipal Building into retail space – continuing the effort torevitalize Downtown Brooklyn.

Downtown Brooklyn’s resurgence is just one of New York City’ssuccess stories, Bloomberg said at a press conference on August15, on the building’s second floor, to announce that UnitedAmerican Land LLC, which is paying $10 million for the space, wouldbe the developer of a portion of the structure, 210 JoralemonStreet. New York City has lost fewer jobs and is bouncing backfrom the downturn faster than the rest of the country, and that isno accident – it is because of our commitment to investing inneighborhoods and helping entrepreneurs create jobs across all fiveboroughs.

The transformation is part of the mayor’s promise to cut 1.2million square feet of the city office space by the end of 2014 tosave an expected $36 million, but Markowitz said that replacingsome city-owned offices across from Borough Hall with retail spacewill be financially beneficial for the borough.

As borough president, I like to think of all of Brooklyn as my ownbackyard, but it’s not often that I can actually look out of myoffice window and see a future economic powerhouse right across thestreet, said Markowitz. Now, thanks to United American Land, thatfuture is now.

With the construction slated to start next year, the project isexpected to create 64 full time construction jobs and 114 permanentjobs. The first, second and lower floors of the western side of the49,000 square feet building will be transformed into retail space,which Albert Laboz, a principal in United American Land, envisionswill feature a medium-priced cool, hip full-servicerestaurant.

Although no retail tenants have been selected yet, when it’scompleted, the entrance to the retail space will be on the CourtStreet side, away from the offices in the building, which will bemoved to higher floors of the 13-story building and othercity-owned space in the third-largest business district in thecity.

The city received and negotiated multiple bids from developers, butultimately chose to sell the space to Laboz, citing the best valueand the company’s interest in developing Downtown Brooklyn.

United American Land manages and owns over 40 properties inManhattan and Brooklyn- including the nearby Fulton Mall – makingthe family-owned company already familiar with the surroundingarea.

We are thrilled to continue our involvement in the DowntownBrooklyn renaissance by developing this unique property into athriving retail location that will enhance the ongoing retailrevival in this downtown district, said Laboz.

During the conference, it was confirmed that computer maker andiPod creator- Apple- will not open its first store in Brooklyn atthe new space, despite a strong campaign by Markowitz.

The borough president responded by saying he thinks, They’remaking a big mistake.

Even though we weren’t able to attract Steve Jobs here to 210Joralemon, thanks to Al we’re getting something better, actualjobs, said Markowitz.

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