Brooklyn booms with big real estate developments

There are big things in the works for Brooklyn!

The biggest and most populated borough, home to everything from local markets to commercials starring Liam Neeson, has been booming on the real estate charts and adding tons of new developments, including in Downtown Brooklyn, Park Slope, Red Hook and Williamsburg.

According to Ariel Property Advisors, over 9.8 million buildable square feet of development property in Brooklyn—both residential and commercial—traded for over $1.8 billion last year, a 28 percent increase in dollar volume from 2013 and an 84 percent increase in dollar volume from 2012.

“While investment opportunities in the borough have grown tremendously, the potential for additional growth and development remains high with rezoning discussions on the table,” said Mark Spinelli, vice president of Ariel Property Advisors.

With this growth in mind, Brooklyn is gearing up for big-time developments like a 12-acre, 1.2-million-square-foot mixed-use project called the Red Hook Innovation District, a potential Macy’s redevelopment on Fulton Street, a mixed-use artist workspace in East Williamsburg, and towers being developed by the Gotham Organization and Two Trees Management in the BAM Cultural District of Downtown Brooklyn.

Set to include offices, shops, performance spaces and a promenade, the ambitious space that would make up the Red Hook Innovation District is a total 180-degree-flip from the industrial hub it once was.

To blend in with the surrounding buildings, the design by international developer Estate Four for structures on the site will include “a brick facade for the lower stories, with the type of paned windows found in older factories,” according to the New York Times. The entire project will cost approximately $400 million and will take five years to complete.

Totaling 841,000 square feet, Downtown Brooklyn’s Macy’s flagship store could be looking at considerable renovations and a possible sale. Brookfield, a real estate property management group, has drawn up preliminary plans to “depict the refurbishment of the existing garage in the area into a major expansion for Macy’s, fulfilling a demand for 300,000 square feet of retail space,” according to YIMBY New York.

The mixed-use artists’ space taking shape in East Williamsburg will boast a six-story, 56,000-square-foot building and will include 8,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and a six-story-plus cellar, according to Real Estate Weekly. The layout also calls for “50 to 60 studios” and the interior has been “designed to allow for maximum flexibility and utility, with heavy floor loads, extra-large elevator bays, and strategically placed stairs.”

Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, spoke about the growth of Downtown Brooklyn in a statement, citing a new report that describes how $6 billion in private investments have spread over 79 construction projects within the past 10 years.

Growth in this realm is expected to continue, with 36 projects and $4.2 billion in private investment in the works for projects like the towers being developed by the Gotham Organization and Two Trees Management.

“Downtown Brooklyn’s strong growth will continue over the next several years,” said Reed. “The key is identifying and nurturing the type of growth that will meet the demands of current and future residents, workers and visitors.”

Nearly 80 percent of the “next-gen apartments” being developed in Downtown Brooklyn will be “rentals as opposed to condos,” according to Crain’s New York, and a full quarter of them will be defined as “affordable.”

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