Downtown

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership names Regina Myer as new president

September 19, 2016 From Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
Regina Myer. Photo by Julienne Schaer

Longtime Brooklyn Bridge Park President to lead nonprofit local development corporation

The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP), a nonprofit development corporation that serves as the primary champion for Downtown Brooklyn as a world-class business, cultural, educational, residential and retail destination, on Mondayannounced the hiring of Regina Myer to serve as its next president. Myer has served as president of Brooklyn Bridge Park since 2008 and will begin work at DBP in early November. 

“Regina is a Brooklyn visionary, and we’re lucky to have her as our next president,” said MaryAnne Gilmartin and Bre Pettis, co-chairs of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Board of Directors and president and CEO of Forest City Ratner Companies.  “Over the past decade, we’ve seen tremendous growth and investment in Downtown Brooklyn — now it’s time to build on that success by stitching the neighborhood together with vital infrastructure and continuing to advocate for targeted investment in office space to meet the demands of the growing innovation economy in the area.”  

“This was an opportunity I just couldn’t refuse — a chance to really come full circle,” said Myer. “Now that Brooklyn Bridge Park is teeming with visitors, financially secure and nearly fully built, it makes sense to head back up the hill to Downtown, where I’m ready to embrace the exciting challenge of building on the area’s success over the past decade. Through smart public and private investment — in open space, in commercial development, in the burgeoning Brooklyn Cultural District — we really have the chance to shape the future of Downtown in a holistic way, and I can’t wait to get started.”

At Brooklyn Bridge Park, Myer oversaw a period of dramatic growth, as a formerly industrial waterfront was refashioned through a historic public investment into one of the most popular parks in New York City and one of the most lauded urban parks across the globe. After taking the helm before any of its major constriction began, she leaves with 90 percent of the park complete or under construction.

Piers 1, 2, 5, 6, the Main Street and John Street parks, and a revamped Empire Fulton Ferry with Jane’s Carousel all were designed, built and opened under her watch. Just 3.7 of 85 acres remain to be built. Since the park started tracking weekly usership in 2012, that number has increased from 146,000 to more than 330,000 today.  

Myer successfully executed the park’s financial plan, leading the development of its designated revenue-generating real estate sites at John Street, Empire Stores, Pier 1 and Pier 6. Through that work, Myer secured the long-term financial stability of the park, including funding for its maritime infrastructure.

Myer also enriched the park experience through partnerships with some of the city’s leading cultural institutions, including the Public Art Fund, St. Ann’s Warehouse, which opened in the park last year, the Brooklyn Historical Society, which will open a maritime-themed branch in the park next year, and the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, which will open an outpost in the park later this year. Myer ensured that each cultural space included a public open space component. Myer also supported the work of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and led the construction of its educational center at 99 Plymouth St., creating a state-of-the-art venue for the Conservancy’s diverse educational programs. 

Under her leadership, the park has been the recipient of numerous awards from such organizations as the Municipal Art Society, American Institute of Architects and the American Planning Association. 

Myer worked for 22 years in the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP), first as a project manager in the Manhattan office, and later as the director of DCP’s Brooklyn office. At DCP, she helped spearhead the 2004 rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn, leading to much of its growth and development over the past decade and spurring more than $400 million in public investment, and more than $11 billion in private investment in the area. Downtown Brooklyn’s population grew by 17 percent over the past decade, with 6,758 units of housing built there during that period and 13,000 more in the planning stages today. Further, private-sector employment rose by nearly a third between 2002 and 2013, an increase of 17,078 jobs.

At DBP, Myer will look at ways to both build on that success and supplement it with supportive infrastructure, like the growth of the Brooklyn Cultural District and the increased open space development throughput the district.

In particular, Myer will continue DBP’s leading role in advocating for the Brooklyn Strand, a vision supported by more than 40 local community groups that aims to transform the nearly 50 acres of public space and city-owned land that connects Downtown Brooklyn to the Brooklyn Bridge and the surrounding neighborhoods. The plan, which has the support of the de Blasio administration, lays out a comprehensive series of recommendations to the city for how to transform the quality of these public spaces, better connect people in surrounding neighborhoods and make the waterfront more accessible between Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

 “From spearheading the creation of Brooklyn Bridge Park – one of the best parks in America – to her vast planning and design experience in the borough, Regina Myer is a terrific choice to lead the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership,” said Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Carlo A. Scissura. “The incredible renaissance experienced in Downtown Brooklyn and surrounding neighborhoods is due in large part to Regina’s work, making her the perfect person to build upon the incredible efforts of former president Tucker Reed. Congratulations to my good friend Regina Myer and the entire Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and I look forward to working with her to help Downtown Brooklyn reach even greater heights.” 

Fostering the growth of the area’s innovation economy will be a chief focus for Myer. She will continue the work of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle initiative, which is focused on Downtown, DUMBO and the Navy Yard. Thus far, that effort has helped drive Downtown’s office vacancy rate from 10 percent to three percent over the past four years, resulted in more than a million square feet of positive net absorption in the neighborhood. The Tech Triangle now generates $5.3 billion in total economic impact and is home to 1,350 innovation firms and 17,300 employees at those firms, increases of 22 and 45 percent since 2013, respectively. 

Myer will also enact recommendations from Culture Forward, a report released this past summer by DBP that outlines ways to create new opportunities and resources for artists, and enhance cultural spaces on public land and in new developments.   

Immediately prior to her work at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Myer served as senior vice president for Planning and Design at the Hudson Yards Corporation. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Urban Planning from the University of Michigan, and she lives in Park Slope. She succeeds Tucker Reed at DBP, who left the post in August after serving as president for nearly five years.

Myer will deliver opening remarks at DBP’s Make It in Brooklyn Innovation Summit on Sept. 28 at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. For more information, go to http://www.makeitinbk.com. 

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