Commercial Klutch: February Edition


This month Chris Havens, director of commercial real estate at, takes a look at how tech is taking over and making over Downtown Brooklyn:

As pointed out in the Commercial Observer this week, the tech and creative wave will inevitably take over the Downtown Brooklyn office market. Consider that — given the City of New York’s tech uses and the hundreds of thousands of feet of tech service — tech and creatives are already here. Transportation and service offerings (banks, food, biz support) are the most concentrated anywhere in the boroughs. Major creatives like Univision in MetroTech, Van Valkenburgh Landscape Architects at 16 Court and Shore Fire Media at 32 Court are already in place. MetroTech’s MakerBot will soon be joined by an internationally famous tenant that has outgrown Dumbo. Etsy grew up in 325 Gold. Additionally, dozens of lesser-known tenants dot the area.

We tell tenants to come on down, take over the area, and make it over. Ten years ago, tenants objected to Dumbo, and now, with a 1.5 percent vacancy rate, you can hardly get new ones in. Brooklyn now has creative and tech space options in Fort Greene, Crown Heights, Flushing Avenue, the Navy Yard and Sunset Park. None have the advantages of Downtown, yet they also attract tenants, of which there turn out to be plenty to go around. Downtown wins on transportation and proximity to Manhattan.

For example, we leased a space to a solar business, who at first didn’t feel comfortable in a high rise office building, until they noticed how quickly they could travel around from Court Street. And they were surprised! These tenants spend all day inside and come out for food and subways. Downtown rules in those categories.

So we say, take over Downtown, make it over like Dumbo and Midtown South were made over. Occupy Downtown. Tenants need to include the option in their thinking, as they do the Sunset Park waterfront, south of the Navy Yard, and other emerging areas. The tech and creative boom will continue, and will spread throughout our dear borough.
Image of Brooklyn Bridge Park by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates

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