By Dennis Holt
At the beginning, when Bruce Ratner was overlooking the MetroTech site, with David Walentas doing the same in DUMBO, and the city was trying to figure out what to do with the Navy Yard, no one had any idea that Downtown Brooklyn might come to rival Silicon Valley.
Now that prospect is coming close. Last week when we found out that NYU-Poly was to create an advanced science center on Jay Street, we also learned the following: “The tech sector in the greater downtown Brooklyn area will grow to a $5.85 billion a year industry—an 87 percent increase—and support more than 61,000 jobs by 2015.”
This is a joint statement from the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, the DUMBO Improvement District, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation.
For perspective, what is being called the Brooklyn Tech Triangle is currently home to more than 500 creative companies in more than 1.7 million square feet of space and amounts to a $3.13-billion-a-year industry. By 2015 the area is expected to have more than 600 firms requiring more than 3.1 million square feet.
No one planned all this activity from the ground up; it evolved at three locations, but now planning is a must. The three groups conducted a detailed survey by Urbanomics of 185 tech companies, 144 of which are located in the Triangle.
The Tech Triangle coalition will use the survey findings to help create an area-wide master plan that examines the viability of the area and the reuse of certain real estate assets to accommodate growth.
A request for proposals seeking a planning firm will be issued this month to study a host of elements: placemaking, infrastructure, land use, transportation and educational linkages.
Tucker Reed, president of the Partnership said, "The survey results provide tremendous insight into the current state of industry and the boom anticipated in the short term. Perhaps the most surprising finding is that companies and their workforce want to be in Brooklyn."