Clearly timed to coincide with the upcoming election, The New York Times today tries to grade the effectiveness of Mayor Bloomberg’s pro-development strategy over the past eight years. They don’t say so explicitly, but it looks to us like the authors would not give it anything higher than, say, a C-. The article claims that the administration’s approach was based on the simple idea that the city needed to grow in order to both survive and thrive. So the mayor set out to create opportunities for developers and make it easier for them to finance their projects; to that end, more than a hundred neighborhoods, or one-fifth of the city, were rezoned and low-interest bonds were made much more accessible. (To be fair in recent years, there have been several rezoning initiatives to limit the scale of potential development.) The most visible change, the article notes, is not in Manhattan, where tall towers have always risen, but in outlying neighborhoods. The writers use City Point, the large-scale development project on the site of the former Albee Square Mall now set to receive $20 million in recovery bonds, and Downtown Brooklyn as a whole as Exhibit A in their case against Bloomberg’s vision, noting that the rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn was originally aimed at created new office towers and that none have materialized. Personally, we think it’s too early to pronounce Downtown Brooklyn a failure by any stretch. The mini building boom in the area, which gave Brooklyn one of its more interesting new pieces of architecture in the form of The Toren, should reach a tipping point this winter as two gigantic new rental buildings come online. The big test will then be whether or not a critical mass of the kinds of businesses that upscale residents want will follow: restaurants, gourmet food markets, wine stores, etc. That patient view is urged in the article by two not-impartial voices, former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and EDC head Seth Pinsky. For good or bad, the rezonings will probably be [the mayor's] most significant development legacy, said Jonathan Bowles, director of the Center for an Urban Future, an independent research group. They’ve never got as much attention as the large-scale development projects he was pushing, like the Olympic stadium, but the rezonings are what will ultimately transform a large chunk of the city. Developers will be rebuilding on these for years to come.
A Stalled Vision: Big Development as City’s Future [NY Times]
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Two of Brooklyn’s most influential figures in art and real estate, choreographer Elizabeth Streb and developer Jed Walentas, will discuss the borough’s evolution and the importance of supporting artistic ventures next month at the Brooklyn Historical Society. The MacArthur Genius Award-winning choreographer started the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics (SLAM) in a Williamsburg warehouse in 2003, […]
Brooklyn, one building at a time. Name: Berean Missionary Baptist Church Address: 1635 Bergen Street Cross Streets: Utica and Rochester Avenues Neighborhood: Crown Heights/Weeksville Year Built: 1894 Architectural Style: English Gothic Architect: Benjamin Wright Landmarked: No, but should be The story: On August 11th, 1850, a group of Brooklyn abolitionists got together to found a […]
A tipster sent along these photos of Tripp & Cooper Cafe in Fort Greene, which the city closed Tuesday for operating without a permit. The cafe and coffee shop at 80 Dekalb Avenue, across the street from the Long Island University campus, opened in the fall of 2012. It served crepes, coffee, sandwiches and pastries. […]
Park Slope 526 3rd Street Broker: Brown Harris Stevens Price: $3,995,000 Sunday 12:00 – 1:30 GMAP Greenpoint 78 1/2 Norman Avenue Broker: Corcoran Price: $2,495,000 Sunday 1:00 – 2:30 GMAP Clinton Hill 308 Waverly Avenue Broker: Elliman Price: $2,250,000 Sunday 1:00 – 3:00 GMAP Bed Stuy 165 Lewis Avenue Broker: Corcoran Price: $840,000 Saturday 2:00 […]