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Brooklyn Broadside: New housing threatens to overwhelm Downtown

By Dennis Holt

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

With the release last week of more project details for the large City Point project, we may see, if all is built according to plan, the last of the major housing developments in Downtown Brooklyn.

The main reason for this is that developers are running out of economical geographic space. Another reason is that no one knows how many people Downtown Brooklyn can absorb.

The housing numbers are impressive — the four largest residential projects involve 2,520 more new housing units to be built. These are City Point, with 690 units; Avalon Bay along Willoughby and Bridge Streets, with 860 units; the 388 Bridge St. plan, with 250 units; and the large Steiner project along Schermerhorn and Livingston streets, known as The Hub, which will include 720 units. There are additional developments now being built that will total 689 housing units, and another 325 units are planned for various other nearby locations.

Looking at this subject, one must keep in mind that the numbers of units in the planning stage can change. While they can drop, note that they can also go up.

Add to these impressive numbers the more than 4,400 housing units that have already been built, and you have almost 8,000 new residential units coming to, or already in, Downtown Brooklyn.

Not included in these numbers are more than 900 new units being built in nearby DUMBO. The housing units planned for Brooklyn Bridge Park, the number of which is still fluid, are also not included. We also know that some new residential units are contemplated for the Brooklyn Cultural Center, but we don’t know how many.

And, of course, not part of these totals are the 6,400 units that are planned as part of the stalled Atlantic Yards development. Most of them will not be in the Downtown area, although the first two or three buildings will be next to the Barclays Center, which definitely is in the new Downtown space.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by all these numbers, but the important thing is to make sure that Downtown Brooklyn itself is not overwhelmed. This won't be easy to do, because traffic and transportation issues are extremely critical.

The announcement that City Point will contain a Century 21 store is good news. It reminds us that all these new people should attract more stores to Downtown Brooklyn, a trend that is already under way. While there may not be much space left for housing, there is plenty of space for new retail that could be developed.

The City Point project alone includes about 500,000 square feet of additional, unassigned retail space.

May 15, 2012 - 3:14am


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