Skip to main content

Featured Post

Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

A decade in real estate: the Barclays Center and the "outer-borough renaissance"

On 12/30/10 6sqft quoted 21 experts on NYC’s most important projects of the past decade. They interviewees cited the World Trade Center site, the High Line, Hudson Yards, and yes, the Barclays Center (though not Atlantic Yards):
Christine Blackburn, real estate broker with Compass: I would say the Barclays Center. It completely transformed that corridor and also expanded Boerum Hill over to 3rd Avenue. 
That's interesting, because the transformation of Flatbush Avenue below Atlantic Avenue has very much been piecemeal, and the transformation above Atlantic Avenue has as much to do with the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning and the disposition of city sites around the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Another interviewee cited the arena:
Bill Caleo, founder and managing director of The Brooklyn Home Company: Being a Brooklyn based developer, my impression is the Barclays Center is the most influential new building in NYC in the last decade. Brooklyn for the last 15 years has experienced a renaissance. Folks from around the tri-state area saw the quality of the housing stock and the cultural and outdoor amenities available in Brooklyn and started buying and living in the borough. Compared to the value offered in Manhattan, Brooklyn offered a more peaceful residential experience. 
But as a community, we needed a gathering place, a landmark, that put Brooklyn on the map internationally. I think that Jay-Z opening the Barclays Center with his concert series put Brooklyn on the world stage. While the development may have some drawbacks, there is something to be said about a developer stepping up, taking a risk, buying a pro sports franchise and completing the construction of a game-changing music and sports venue.
He's right that the arena has put Brooklyn on the map in a new way, though the new investment in Brooklyn started well before the arena was even approved, much less built.

But "the development may have some drawbacks" is very much a shorthand for a contentious, vexed development project that only got passed because it made promises that couldn't be kept.

The "outer-borough renaissance"

The Real Deal, on 12/31/19, published David Kramer on outer-borough development in the 2010s, subtitled "Hudson Companies president weighs in on overlooked neighborhoods, retail’s slow pace of change."

Rather than point to 2003, for example, when Atlantic Yards was announced, the article sets a different inflection point:
New York’s outer-borough renaissance was well on its way by the start of the 2000s, but it really kicked into overdrive over the past ten years.
Think about 2010, when Two Trees Development secured a rezoning for the Domino Sugar factory site in Williamsburg. Two years later, the Barclays Center opened in Downtown Brooklyn. And while most development in Queens was, at the start of the decade, focused on the Hunters Point waterfront, towers started sprouting up around the Queens Plaza area years later.
He says that only in the last decade did "institutional equity" look beyond places like Dumbo and Williamsburg, while his company went to Crown Heights, Windsor Terrace, and Flatbush.

He credited the rezonings, but suggests, "But I think what happened was that the zoning was the condition precedent and the market caught up with the zoning."

Regarding Downtown Brooklyn

Or, alternatively, the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning was a surprise, given that it simulated residential--without affordability, for the most part--rather than expected office development. He does acknowledge that the prosperity "hasn’t been equal," so affordability is now required. (Indeed, it's part of the mayoral policies.)

He says:
Contrast that with when Bloomberg and Doctoroff were rezoning Greenpoint/Williamsburg and the council people were trying to get some increase in the housing requirement and it didn’t go through. That is so far from today’s reality. Could you imagine rezoning Greenpoint and Williamsburg and not having an affordable component? The politics have changed; real estate’s changed; the market’s changed. Some of this stuff is pretty seismic.
The same would go for Downtown Brooklyn.  Note that the failure to include affordability in that rezoning was part of why the Atlantic Yards plan, essentially a private rezoning, seemed attractive to housing advocates.

The rise of "Brooklyn"

The Real Deal on 12/31/19 offered  Kelly Mack on the new development boom of the 2010s. The Corcoran Sunshine president said, regarding condo development:
There are three outstanding shifts, the first being the growth of the luxury market; the second being that these amazing new master plans have created new neighborhoods; and the third being the rising status of Brooklyn as a place people really choose to live. These new master plans are creating new neighborhoods and enlivening parts of the city. You think we’re an island with limited opportunities for transactions but it continues to happen over and over. As for Brooklyn, no other area of the city has transformed as a residential destination in the last decade. It’s pulling in buyers from Manhattan who needed no convincing to live there. In some ways, it’s become Manhattan’s newest neighborhood.
Of course "Brooklyn" is a rather amorphous area.

Comments