Music, food and undulating strings of balloons marked the grand opening of the public plaza at 300 Ashland Place in Fort Greene on Wednesday.
Located at the corner of Flatbush and Lafayette avenues, the elevated, wedged-shaped plaza gives the public access to open space at the center of the busy cultural district.
It was designed by Enrique Norten’s firm TEN Arquitectos with Grain Collective.
Initial renderings for the the 15,000-square-foot plaza were released in 2014 and the portion now open to the public adheres closely to that original vision — a stepped seating area with views towards the surrounding cultural district.
The broad seating areas are broken up by bands of planting beds filled with trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses. The balloons — which made navigating the steps a bit tricky — are presumably not a permanent feature.
Yet to open is the southern section of the development shown in the renderings. Additional green space will sit atop the triangular-shaped structure at the base of the tower, part of the 50,000 square feet of the building that will be dedicated to cultural organizations.
These will include a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, BAM Cinemas, the Museum of the Contemporary African Diasporan Arts and 651 ARTs.
Also still under construction are the retail spaces planned for the base of the tower, including a 365 Whole Foods store and Brooklyn’s second Apple store. The lower-priced Whole Foods spinoff is slated to open by the end of the year.
Plans for 300 Ashland — aka BAM South —were filed in 2013. The metal-clad building includes 379 residential units, 76 of them affordable housing.
Developer Two Trees and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership hosted the opening day festivities. Two Trees, the developer of 300 Ashland, a 32-story mixed-use, mixed-income development that started leasing last year, financed and built the plaza.
Ownership will be transferred to the City of New York and the space will be maintained by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. The group will plan music, art and other events that will take place in the plaza.
[Photos by Susan De Vries unless noted otherwise]
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