This is an extensive article on City Point and Downtown Brooklyn.
By Tobias Salinger on December 3, 2014.
You could say it took Paul Travis and Christopher Conlon 10 years to get to the Point.
We’re talking, of course, about City Point.
They’re the developers implementing the vision that city planners laid out as far back as the Bloomberg administration’s 2004 rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn.
But the upzoning of Downtown Brooklyn is its own saga that extends even further back. It followed an extensive 1983 study of the area by the Regional Plan Association, a 1986 plan from the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development that would turn into MetroTech Center and the 2001 designation of a special district that yielded the Brooklyn Cultural District around the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The 2004 effort would facilitate 6.7 million square feet of new development, including 4.6 million square feet of office space, 979,000 square feet of residential development and 844,000 square feet of retail, the rezoning’s final environmental impact statement predicted.
And one way the city would support such new building, the 2004 planning study notes, would be to “allow the development of property on the south side of Willoughby Street between Albee Square West/Gold Street and Flatbush Avenue Extension.” These days, that site is turning into the massive undertaking known as City Point.
Mr. Travis, the managing partner of Washington Square Partners, and Mr. Conlon, the executive vice president and chief operating officer of Acadia Realty Trust, are spearheading the effort to create a 675,000-square-foot shopping center spread over five above-grade floors along with three adjoining residential towers that could hold nearly 1,000 residential units, once the development partnership completes the project’s three phases. The Albee Square Development team, which also now includes Tower 1 residential partner BFC Partners, is moving through the second stage of the development with leases signed for anchor tenants Century 21, CityTarget and Alamo Drafthouse, another deal in the works for an operator at a food market onsite called Dekalb Market, one residential building topped out and another rising up.
When all is said and done, the development will sprawl 1.8 million square feet and feature 30,000 square feet of office space.
“One choice we made here was to build a building of a level of density and quality that no one’s ever done,” Mr. Travis said as workers banged away on the future Alamo Drafthouse on the fifth story of the shopping center. “Probably the best comparison is the Time Warner Center. The response from retailers who have toured it is that they’ve never seen anything like this.”
A rendering of a view from a new green space the city is building across the street from City Point. (Neoscape)
....Yet that tower will be just one of many that have popped up in the now-thriving downtown area. Mr. Travis pointed out a site across the street from City Point where Morris Bailey’s JEMB Realty has filed plans to build a 65-story tower at 420 Albee Square. Since the 2004 rezoning, Downtown Brooklyn has added 8 million square feet of new development, including 5,200 residential units, over 1,000 new hotel rooms, nearly 250,000 square feet of office space and 625,000 square feet of retail, according to a 10-year report by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. After the public sector invested $400 million in infrastructure, the private sector has spent $4 billion on new development, figures from the report say.
“When we purchased it, we were in a site that was in the middle of a downtown that was beginning to transform,” Mr. Travis said. “We were very focused at first on the neighborhoods around Downtown Brooklyn. What we didn’t know was that Downtown Brooklyn would transform so fast.”