Long-Awaited Downtown Tower on Albee Square Will Be Offices

Photo via Downtown Brooklyn‘s Instagram

With much fanfare, city officials and developer Jemb Realty Monday officially announced a 35-story commercial building to be built at 420 Albee Square. The announcement was heavy on prepared statements of support from local politicians but light on the details, such as when construction might start or end. The building was no secret, however, as permits were filed in March.

At 35 stories and with 400,000 square feet of office and retail space, the building will be one of Brooklyn’s tallest. It is part of a trend of skyscrapers coming to downtown that includes a planned 1,000-foot tower at 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension next to beloved Brooklyn icon Junior’s Cheesecake.

A skyscraping tower has been in the works for years, but was initially intended to be residential and 65 stories high.

The project represents the area’s first ground-up development since the 2004 rezoning of Downtown, and is part of the city’s Downtown Brooklyn Redevelopment Plan to revitalize the area, according to a press release put out by the New York City Economic Development Corp.

The development of 420 Albee Square is expected to create 722 permanent jobs, 566 construction jobs, and represent a percentage of the 3,100,000 square-feet of office space needed for the area according to a Tech Triangle Economic Impact report released by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, Brooklyn Navy Yard and DUMBO Improvement District.

“With a vacancy rate of 3.5 percent in Downtown Brooklyn, the building that is planned cannot be built fast enough,” Community Board 2 Chairperson Shirley A. McRae. is quoted as saying in the NYCEDC press release. “The community board hopes this is the first of several new commercial buildings.”

Construction is slated to start in 2016 and wrap by 2018, according to The New York Post.

The development is part of a much larger effort to redevelop Downtown Brooklyn. Other projects under way include City Point, BAM South, and the NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress.

Albee Square has been slated for development for years, following the city’s removal of residents from apartments in the area via eminent domain. Three buildings that were reputed to have been stops on the Underground Railroad were sold to JEMB by the city for air rights allowing the developer to put up a taller building and “help ensure” the development would be offices, according to the Post.

The area has been trenched in drama, which has included the demolition of those buildings, the long-delayed demolition of vacated tenements and the promise of a park that has yet to come.

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[Renderings: KPF Architects]

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