Brooklyn is booming.
On Tuesday, May 12, JudyNetworks Real Estate held its annual “Subway Series” event at the Dumbo Loft, for a day that consisted of entertainment along with a collection of panels that discussed the past and future of the borough as it grows in popularity.
One of the panels, “Blooming in Brooklyn: Retail Reborn in New York’s Legendary Borough,” was moderated by Chair of Douglas Elliman’s Retail Group Faith Hope Consolo. She was joined by Executive Vice President of Forest City Ratner Kathryn Welch; Jack Sitt, principal of Colt Equities; and Argyris Argitakos, business development manager, Argento Construction.
Making the opening remarks for the event was Borough President Eric Adams, who discussed his excitement over future development of Brooklyn, but also stressed that all residents should be able to enjoy its success.
“Real estate is becoming an extremely complicated conversation because there are so many driving forces that are given input in what Brooklyn is going to look like in the future,” he said. “The popularity of the borough must turn into prosperity for all Brooklynites. This must be a borough for those who made Brooklyn a great place to live and raise healthy children. We must make sure families won’t be pushed out and won’t be treated as no longer desirable.”
Welch touched on that topic, while citing Forest Ratner’s future projects. “We’ve done a lot. We have a lot more to do,” she explained. “We are working on Pacific Park, our current development project in downtown Brooklyn. It is 22 acres and will have 14 residential buildings with 6,400 residential units. Three of the buildings are 100 percent affordable buildings. [Affordable housing] is something that everyone has to commit to doing.”
“As the borough president said, the affordable housing part is something that has to work in building Brooklyn, not just retail,” Consolo added.
Consolo also asked each panelist questions about their respective field and talked about the rise of the borough. “Retailers used to want to go to the east coast and the west coast. Now in New York, it’s almost like they’re asking for Brooklyn first so it has become its own brand,” Consolo said, adding that restaurants have also played a role in the positive change. “What I found in Brooklyn during the downturn, more restaurants and food establishments located in Brooklyn than all of Manhattan. That average was incredible. Fashion follows food and that creates a destination.”
Consolo asked the panelists what they thought the next game changer was for tor the borough, and Coney Island repeatedly came up.
“My dad [Joseph Sitt of Thor Equities, which has invested heavily in the waterfront neighborhood] wants to turn Coney into what it used to be — a destination to so many New Yorkers — by bringing the culture back,” Sitt said.
“These are exciting times. The excitement must include all of the borough,” Adams said.