First Ground-Up Commercial Development in Downtown Brooklyn Since 2004 Re-Zoning
Announcement Follows NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer’s Speech Identifying Need for 60 Million Square Feet of Commercial Office Space by 2025; Brooklyn Tech Triangle Coalition Report Calling for Additional Commercial Space in Brooklyn’s Tech Triangle
BROOKLYN, NY—Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and JEMB Realty today announced a brand new commercial development that will bring 400,000 square feet of new office and retail space to 420 Albee Square in Brooklyn’s Tech Triangle. This project, the first ground-up construction of commercial space since the re-zoning of the area in 2004, builds off the de Blasio administration’s commitment to supporting growth and creating jobs in emerging innovation and commercial centers across New York City. The project is also the latest part of the Downtown Brooklyn Redevelopment Plan, a City strategy to revitalize this area, under which the City has made $300 million in public investments in open space and infrastructure commitments. 420 Albee Square will provide much needed space for innovative and technology focused businesses in rapidly expanding sectors of the economy while helping to further advance the growth of Brooklyn’s Tech Triangle. The project is expected to create approximately 722 permanent jobs and 566 new construction jobs, and by adding at least 400,000 square feet of space, this development will help address the need for additional office space in New York City. NYCEDC projects that 60 million square feet of new commercial office space will be needed across the city by 2025, much of it in outer borough commercial hubs like Downtown Brooklyn.
Today’s announcement accompanies the release of a Tech Triangle Economic Impact report by the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Coalition, a group comprised of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Brooklyn Navy Yard and DUMBO Improvement District. The report calls for the creation of 3.1 million square feet of office space to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding workforce and business community located in the Tech Triangle. The Coalition projects that the Tech Triangle could generate $15.5 billion in economic impact by 2025, and the report highlights the need to support the future growth of the area by making four recommendations to ensure that the it remains a world-class center for innovation. These recommendations – creating commercial and industrial working space, leveraging City assets to support commercial growth, investing in public spaces, and enhancing transit infrastructure – will help support the growing creative and tech ecosystem, which the Coalition expects to grow by 18,000 jobs in the next 10 years. The Brooklyn Tech Triangle Coalition consists of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, DUMBO Improvement District, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation.
“We want to make sure that companies keep starting-up, innovating and growing in the Tech Triangle. And the City can spur that growth by making sure innovators have the office space they need,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen. “This is a fantastic project that will stoke Brooklyn’s economic engine and deliver the kind of high quality jobs and careers we want to secure our place in the 21st Century economy.”
"Brooklyn's Tech Triangle has seen incredible growth over the last decade, and with this new development, the City continues to invest in the neighborhood's future and position the area as a center for innovation and job creation," said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. "In our efforts to support entrepreneurs and encourage economic opportunity and job creation, we are finding ways to utilize City-owned assets by leveraging the power of public-private partnerships, capitalizing upon every opportunity to create the space innovative businesses need to thrive, expand and create the jobs of today and tomorrow."
“Today’s announcement delivers exactly what Downtown Brooklyn needs: critically needed space for jobs to support Brooklyn's economy and a commitment to infrastructure like open space to support that growth,” said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed. “In 2004, Downtown Brooklyn was rezoned with a primary aim of creating new office space, but since then we’ve experienced a residential boom instead. It’s time for our commercial inventory to catch up, and today we can see how leveraging government owned assets to help the marketplace achieve public goals helps get us there. That’s smart economic development policy.”
"More and more businesses want to set up shop in Downtown Brooklyn, and JEMB is helping ensure that they have the space they need to thrive,” said JEMB Chairman Morris Bailey. “We're proud to be working with Mayor de Blasio and NYCEDC on this exciting project and investing in the continued growth of Brooklyn's economy."
“Office buildings are our factories – whether for tech, creative or traditional industries we must continue to grow our modern factories to create new jobs,” said United States Senator Chuck Schumer. “This project is yet another step in the push to create a new commercial business district in Downtown Brooklyn that goes back to the Group of 35 Report I commission over 10 years ago. Tech is booming in Brooklyn – and these are businesses that only want to grow in Brooklyn – Brooklyn is in their DNA. We must make sure adequate commercial space exists to allow continued job growth. Kudos to Mayor de Blasio for this forward thinking development and the larger goal of adding 3.1 million square feet of new office space in Downtown Brooklyn.”
"The demand for commercial space in Downtown Brooklyn is far outweighing the supply, a direct impact on our ability to create local jobs and support the needs of our burgeoning community,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “Developing 420 Albee Square for commercial and office usage is an important piece of the larger puzzle we must solve. I look forward to continued work with the City and stakeholders like the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to ensure that our borough's central business district grows in a holistic manner that benefits everyone."
“New commercial construction, and the good jobs that come with it, is vital to the economic health of our neighborhoods,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “This project is an important step toward delivering the commercial and office space and job growth that were originally envisioned by the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning. I look forward to strong, continued commercial investment in the downtown area.”
"I am thrilled with this announcement, which is the culmination of the hard work of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the extraordinary leadership of Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer,” said former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Together, they recognize that the continued development of Downtown Brooklyn is a major catalyst of economic development for Brooklyn and all of New York City, and it's one of the few downtowns in America that you can also live in and raise a family. Bravo to Mayor Bill de Blasio for making this visionary plan a major step forward to reality!”
“The 420 Albee Square development will be transformative for Brooklyn, adding much needed commercial and office space, parking and green space – which make it easier for people to live and work in the borough,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura. “Not since Muss Development built Renaissance Plaza and FCRC completed MetroTech has Brooklyn seen a substantial addition of office space, but this new building will allow for growing employers to stay and expand in Brooklyn, rather than being forced to leave the borough and city. I had the privilege of working on this project during my days as Chief of Staff to Borough President Marty Markowitz, and I could not be prouder to see the hard work of so many finally come to fruition. I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer, and the entire administration for their continued commitment to commercial development across New York City.”
“A Brooklyn location helps attract top talent and clients,” said DUMBO Improvement District Executive Director Alexandria Sica. “The Brooklyn Tech Triangle gets firms coming in from Europe and the West Coast and many firms migrating from Manhattan to Brooklyn. And we see the growth of some of our superstar companies like Etsy who need several hundred thousand square feet themselves. It’s so important that we capture as much of this growth as possible. The key right now is to keep adding more space and this new building is a big leap in that direction.”
"Innovators and makers are gravitating to new commercial space in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle at a rapid pace," said Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation President David Ehrenberg. "Businesses are making a conscious choice to work in Brooklyn, and we are creating more space to meet this demand. Brooklyn has long been a catalyst for innovation, and the Tech Triangle brings together our brightest minds in tech and manufacturing at an exciting intersection, allowing for collaboration. Providing more commercial space in Brooklyn will allow us to compete both nationally, and internationally."
"With a vacancy rate of 3.5 percent in Downtown Brooklyn, the building that is planned cannot be built fast enough," said Community Board 2 Chairperson Shirley A. McRae. "The community board hopes this is the first of several new commercial buildings."
With commercial vacancy rates well below the national average, demand for flexible and modern commercial and office space in New York City is extraordinarily strong and is expected to continue to grow. Today’s announcement follows NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer’s speech at the Crain’s Business Breakfast Forum on November 5th, at which she announced projections of demand for 60 million square feet of new commercial office space by 2025 across New York City.
The announcement is part of the overall Willoughby Square project, which will also bring a brand new one-acre public open space atop a fully automated below-ground parking garage, providing needed public space for residents, workers and visitors as well as meeting additional parking needs as the area continues to rapidly expand. The Willoughby Square project is part of a suite of NYCEDC projects and initiatives in Downtown Brooklyn and the surrounding neighborhoods that are driving the area’s emergence as a mixed-use residential, commercial, cultural and innovation center. These projects include:
- City Point, a mixed-use development creating thousands of square feet of retail, office and residential space;
- BAM South, a groundbreaking project bringing new arts facilities, public space and badly-needed affordable housing to the area;
- The NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress, a part of the Applied Sciences initiative further establishing the Brooklyn Tech Triangle as an innovation hub of New York City; and
- The Made in NY Media Center by IFP, a 20,000 square foot center providing workspace for entrepreneurs and innovative media projects and companies, particularly those in the digital media, interactive entertainment, trans-media, digital advertising, social media, and mobile application space.
As part of the City’s efforts to expand economic and workforce opportunities, NYCEDC offers a comprehensive workforce and procurement program that supports communities and helps create job opportunities, especially those that enable low-income New Yorkers to participate in the City’s economic growth. At 420 Albee Square, JEMB is expected to utilize NYCEDC’s HireNYC program for disadvantaged workers, as well as commit to contracting goals for minority and women-owned business enterprises.
New York City Economic Development Corporation creates shared prosperity across New York City’s five boroughs by strengthening neighborhoods and creating good jobs. NYCEDC works with and for communities to provide them with the resources they need to thrive, and we invest in projects that increase sustainability, support job growth, develop talent, and spark innovation to strengthen the City’s competitive advantage. To learn more about our work and initiatives, please visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.