In response to our critics and readers, we weigh in here on three topics that may be of interest to Brownstoner readers: whither Red Hook; what of the Downtown Brooklyn Plan; what do modern tenants want?
We believe Red Hook will see further retail development on the waterfront — first at the Thor site. The Nets looked at it for a practice facility, too. High-rise residential is impractical, at least now, due to limited transportation, intense local opposition, the high costs of building on waterfront land, the high water table and more. We’ll see continuing small-scale residential development, rising prices and a bit more local retail. Here’s hoping Red Hook stays a small town. Change will be incremental, IMO.
The Downtown Brooklyn Plan incorporates a key element dear to our hearts: space for tech tenants. How we get there is another matter, other than ensuring the Sands/Prospect Watchtower buildings stay commercial. We say, New Economy tenants, take over Downtown Brooklyn and transform it! Dumbo is full.
The Plan engenders controversy where it assists high-income housing and the inevitable homogenization of retail, the way of almost all gentrifying urban areas. Support for public transit, bikes and walking are key plan elements that are often overlooked, as is the huge entertainment district growing around BAM and the Barclays arena. Overall, the many traffic and infrastructure improvements, downtown’s better appearance, the improving retail and restaurants, the denser population and the hugely successful growth of higher education here are major pluses. Much needed is more affordable housing, better management of the area’s NYCHA stock (70 buildings!) and much more small office space. On the whole, things are better now than they were four years ago.
Modern tenants, and most all office tenants, want a good experience when they take a space: Transparent terms, easy-to-deal-with owners and brokers, and quality. It’s not complicated. However, this simple package is hard to find. Owners can be hard to deal with, slow to respond, unclear in their terms and too demanding on tech tenants. Spaces are shown in horrible condition, connectivity is lacking and tenants are treated roughly. Tenants may be flaky, unresponsive and uninformed. Yet they are the customers, the backbone of the real estate economy and what we are here for. Take care of them better!