Brooklyn Heights

Is 1 Pierrepont Plaza a smart move for Brooklyn Family Court?

January 27, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn’s Family Court is considering relocating its offices, which currently sit at 350 and 330 Jay St., to 1 Pierrepont Plaza. AP photo/Mark Lennihan, File
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Brooklyn’s Family Court is considering an expansion of its current offices at 350 and 330 Jay St. to 1 Pierrepont Plaza. The news of a possible expansion surfaced following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order in December that raised the age for nonviolent offenders who are tried in the criminal courts from 16 and 17 to 18.  

The Real Deal reported on Tuesday that “the court, which expects its caseload to increase dramatically, is eyeing 30,000 square feet at Forest City Ratner’s 1 Pierrepont Plaza.”

Aside from North Carolina, New York was the only other state in the country that tried 16 and 17 year olds as adults.

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In accordance with Cuomo’s order, young women and low-security-risk males will begin to be transferred from adult prisons to juvenile facilities in August.

Some see expanding as a necessity, given the expected increase in cases and considering the fact that the Kings County Family Court Division has no room to grow at its current offices on Jay Street.

According to an application filed with the Department of City Planning, the Law Department is looking to obtain the entire eighth floor of Forest City Ratner’s 19-story, 700,000-square-foot building at 1 Pierrepont Plaza.

One Pierrepont Plaza has made headlines recently as it is the headquarters for Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It is also home to the Office of Court Administration on the 14th floor.

Some Brooklynites, however, think an expansion at 1 Pierrepont Plaza would be illogical for Brooklyn’s Family Court, given the building’s makeup.  

Brooklyn Heights resident Andrew Porter took to Disqus, a blog comment-hosting service, to speak about the potential problems that may arise with an expansion to 1 Pierrepont Plaza.

It is “not a good fit, unless they have a dedicated elevator and lobby entrance,” wrote Porter. “There’s also a large Mt. Sinai urgent care facility. But to have tight screening before the elevator banks, and then have people going through the criminal justice system allowed past that point, would seem to me to be a non-starter.”

But Blair Brewster, who works on the 13th floor of 1 Pierrepont Plaza, told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday that the building has two different elevator banks with separate turnstile entrances.

One elevator bank goes from the second floor to the eighth floor, while the other bank goes from the ninth to the 19th floor.  

Clinton’s presidential campaign headquarters, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Mount Sinai and Brewster’s office would not be affected if Family Court were to expand, as they all occupy spaces in the upper echelon of the building.

The Brooklyn Family Court’s potential expansion would only impact the lower half of the building, which is anchored by Morgan Stanley.

Crain’s reported this week that Morgan Stanley is plotting an exit from 1 Pierrepont Plaza to Manhattan due to cheaper real estate and because the company’s office leases in Brooklyn are set to expire this year.

Despite the rumors, an employee at Morgan Stanley told the Eagle on Wednesday that Morgan Stanley is not in fact looking to move.

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