Commercial Klutch: December Edition

Our masked correspondent is back with a look at Downtown Brooklyn.


With Dumbo, Gowanus and the Navy Yard almost “sold out,” with a only a handful of spaces available, the choice to “occupy Downtown Brooklyn” is all but inevitable due to the continuing growth of the tech and creative sector. 1000 Dean Street and Sunset Park creative spaces beckon as well, and are popular options. Yet no one submarket has the space needed and little is being created, other than the aforementioned 1000 and the Pfizer Building. Adding more pressure, substantial Manhattan tenants (with 5,000 to 20,000 employees, generally) want to be in Dumbo and can’t find space.

Trend-setting tenants are now taking space or considering same in Downtown. While modern tenants like Univision and Ms. Foundation for Women have long been in MetroTech, the arrival of MakerBot, whose offices were formerly housed in a Boerum Hill warehouse, at MetroTech, moves the needle on the pace of change Downtown. Led by the international landscape architects responsible for Brooklyn Bridge Park, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Court Street is seeing change as well. At 16 Court for several years now, MVV is down the street from Shore Fire Media, at 32 Court. MVV is the largest architects’ space we are aware of in Brooklyn and is not located in Dumbo, but at Court and Montague. (That’s part of their lobby pictured above.)

Cloud computing company MiMedia just took water-view space at 32 Court this year, installing lovely glass walled conference rooms to create one of the best looking spaces on the street. Even real estate companies are joining the fray, with CPEX transforming a rare duplex layout at 81 Willoughby Street into a modern space. Creative companies also dot the many small buildings around the Heights, Cobble Hill and Vinegar Hill, with the Invisible Dog Art Center on Bergen one of the standouts.

We urge creatives and techs to include Downtown Brooklyn in their space search plans if they want a top location in an improving community. They’ve been reluctant due to “corporate” lobbies, the high percentage of health care, legal and social service tenants and some of the hard-to-deal-with landlords still operating as if this were 1992 instead of 2012. Yet legal and social service uses are declining, nonprofits can’t pay the $30-per-square-foot-plus-electric rent level in Downtown, so the opening is there for the Downtown part of the tech triangle to flourish.

Occupy Downtown Brooklyn you mods and rockers!

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