The New Coney Island - Brooklyn's Times Square by the Sea

Monday, January 19, 2015

WSJ - High Rises spin Gold in Downtown Brooklyn

Excerpt -

There may not be a waterfront, but the glittering high rises piercing the sky in downtown Brooklyn give all the appearances of New York City’s next gold coast. 

In the apex of that development is the patchwork of lots surrounding Gold Street. While high-rise development on the street from 2008 to 2010 clustered north of Myrtle Avenue, the new round of shining columns is cropping up closer to Fulton Street Mall.

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the local development corporation, estimates more than 13,000 affordable and market-rate residential rentals are in the pipeline, a result of the 2004 rezoning of downtown that added both more residential development, and Class A office space. Partnership president Tucker Reed says it created “huge opportunities for downtown Brooklyn to become a 24/7 destination.”

“The speed of change taking place now—it’s astonishing,” Mr. Reed said.

“It’s the only area in Brooklyn where there’s a concentrated density akin to what you find in Manhattan,” he said.

Fueling the frenzy is BKLYN AIR, a 40-story luxury rental tower at 309 Gold St., which opened in July and reached 75% occupancy in five months. MNS, the real-estate brokerage that marketed the building, also is in predevelopment planning for a 70-floor residential building at the corner of Gold and Willoughby streets. 

The new project will “tower over 388 Bridge,” said Andrew Barrocas, chief executive of MNS, referring to the 53-story condo-rental hybrid about four blocks away, which opened last June, and is currently Brooklyn’s tallest high-rise, according to its developer, the Stahl Organization.

“High-rise living is fairly new to this part of Brooklyn,” said Stahl Vice President Roger Fortune. “Downtown is a great location that [buyers] didn’t know was great.”

Given the area’s dormancy in the not-too-distant past, the pace of both discovery and construction is as dizzying as the building heights. The building at 388 Bridge has leased 90% of its 234 rentals and sold about 50% of its 144 condominiums, ranging from studios to four-bedrooms, Mr. Fortune said.

Supplementing the inventory soon: the 57-story Avalon Willoughby West, with 861 rental units, under construction a block away at 214 Duffield St.; 120 luxury rental lofts in a 19-century conversion at 248 Duffield St.; and 250 mixed-income and 440 market-rate apartments at City Point, the 1.8-million-square-foot retail/residential complex that abuts Gold Street.

On Fulton Street, long a center of urban street style, Shake Shack and Brooklyn Industries now flank the entrance to the pedestrian mall. H&M, and outlet stores from Nordstrom, Gap and Banana Republic have also put down roots alongside longtime tenants.

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