Tucker Reed leaves behind group of specialists at Downtown Brooklyn Partnership

August 22, 2016 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
From left: Patrick Krause, Ryan Grew, Laurel Brown, Peter Coyne, Vivian Liao Korich, Tucker Reed, Andrew Kalish, Roscoe L. Smalls and Alan Washington. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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The current trend of growth in Brooklyn is greater than it has been during any other period in the last 100 years. It is estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau that Brooklyn will pass Chicago in population by 2020 to unofficially become the third largest city in the country.

Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) for nearly the last five years, helped to usher in a lot of the changes in the Downtown Brooklyn area. However, despite the incredible transformations that he has seen recently, stepped down as president of the community organization on Aug. 5.

The Brooklyn Eagle recently sat down with Reed to discuss some of the great changes he helped to oversee. Rather than talk about himself or the projects he fought to achieve, he spent the interview discussing the dedicated staff that he’s leaving behind and their potential headed into the future.

“I think we have a very talented group of people that we’ve assembled here,” Reed said. “They are all, in their own right, stars. Any success that we’ve had here is because of what people have done. Yes, I’m leaving, but this is a story of those who are staying behind.”

The DBP is a group that has existed in various forms for a few decades. In 2004 it was called the Downtown Brooklyn Council when the Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood was rezoned. The Bloomberg administration devoted funding to the group, and in 2006, the modern organization was created.

Currently, the corporation works with three business improvement districts (BIDs) — the MetroTech BID, Fulton Mall Improvement Association and Court-Livingston-Schermerhorn BID — to manage more than 1 million square feet of public space. Reed describes running the DBP like a small town. He says that having such a talented team of specialists running the show rather than three separate BIDs has streamlined the process, allowing for everything the group has achieved despite the fact that it currently receives very little funding from the city.

“We [used to have] district managers in each of the three BIDs because that seemed like a logical way to organize ourselves,” Reed explained. “Political infighting aside, we had three people interacting with our sanitation contractor, we had three different security directors, we had people doing redundant tasks. What we have been able to do is to merge those different resources together and free up resources to allow for specialization.”

Once the group hired these specialists and cut away the redundancy, it thrived.

“Because we’ve specialized and pooled those resources, we’re able to pool our talents and work on larger projects,” Reed explained. “I hear from a lot of other BIDs and LDCs who wonder how we do so much. They think we just have more money to do it. No. The reality is that we’ve assembled a really talented team that is entrepreneurial that goes out and fundraises for it, [determines] how to conceive of it [and] works with private partners on how to execute it.”

The conversation quickly switched over to Reed speaking about Andrew Kalish (director of cultural development), Alan Washington (managing director of real estate and economic development), Laurel Brown (executive vice president) and Vivian Liao Korich (managing director of programs and DBP’s chief of staff). Instead of discussing Brooklyn Bridge Park or the creation of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, Reed spoke about what his team looks forward to accomplishing in the future.

Reed might be moving on from Downtown Brooklyn, but he’s confident that his group will continue his mission in spite of his absence, and even possibly because of it. Gone are the days of old out-to-pasture executives and in is a group that is more professional, more productive and is involved with every aspect of the neighborhood.

“You don’t need a bull in a China shop anymore,” Reed said referring to himself. “We need somebody who has a vision for community development related to the more granular aspects of making a neighborhood a community. I recognize that my tenure here is over, my talents are best used somewhere else and it is someone else’s turn to lead the neighborhood.”


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