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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Learn about gardening and food policy at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this weekend during its 33rd annual Making Brooklyn Bloom conference. The event, which is free with admission to the garden, includes workshops, networking lunches for gardeners and urban famers, walking tours and gardening how-tos. Workshops will cover topics like composting, soil contamination, nature walks […]
Brooklyn, one building at a time. Name: Row houses Address: 175-183 6th Avenue Cross Streets: Lincoln and Berkeley places Neighborhood: Park Slope Year Built: 1889 Architectural Style: Romanesque Revival Architect: Frederick B. Langston Other work by architect: Row houses on Hancock Street, Bedford Stuyvesant. With frequent partner Magnus Dahlander – row houses, flats buildings in […]
A group of artists are transforming a large parking garage on Dean Street between Grand and Classon into a performance space that will feature a restaurant, bar, art gallery and a large backyard, as DNAinfo was the first to report. Their venture, Global Square, will host concerts, dance performances, movie nights and art shows at […]
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