Regina Myer introduced as new president of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership at ‘Make it in Brooklyn’ summit
Shifting her focus from the waterfront to downtown, Regina Myer, former president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, was formally introduced as the new president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership during the second annual “Make it in Brooklyn” summit at City Point on Wednesday.
“I came all the way up the hill from Brooklyn Bridge Park, where I led the team to transform an inaccessible waterfront into a world-class park that now receives over 4 million people a year in visitorship,” Myer said. “Downtown Brooklyn is now in the process of writing its success story, and we are all doing this together.”
Myer, who was appointed to run Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2008 by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is now taking over the reins of Downtown Brooklyn after Tucker Reed announced he was stepping down in August after five years holding the position. Just as she transformed the park, Myer has big plans for Downtown Brooklyn over the next 10 years.
“The borough as a whole, and more specifically Downtown, is defining the resurgent and urban growth nationwide,” Myer said. “If you think of this process like a start-up, the next decade is critical in the neighborhood’s growth. Like the waterfront, where we set the pace for the rebirth of waterfronts here in NYC, the next decade in Downtown Brooklyn will do the same. We’re already well underway.”
Prior to running Brooklyn Bridge Park, Myer served as senior vice president for Planning and Design at the Hudson Yards Corporation, and she worked for the Department of City Planning for 22 years. It was there where she helped lead the rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn in 2004, a move that sparked massive changes in the neighborhood.
While addressing the crowd at “Make it in Brooklyn,” Myer talked about the thousands of units of housing underdevelopment in the neighborhood and spoke of the importance of fostering the “innovation economy.” She also spoke about the Brooklyn Strand project, which aims to better connect the Downtown Brooklyn area.
The “Make it in Brooklyn” setting was appropriate for such an introduction as the summit brought together some of the dignitaries in the borough to discuss business, real estate, technology and transportation innovations. Its location, in City Point, one of the biggest projects currently near completion in Downtown Brooklyn, also fed into the transformational announcement.
Following Myer’s introduction, MaryAnne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner and Michael Stern of JDS Development Group sat down with reporter Matt Chaban for a panel discussion on the future of Brooklyn’s skyline. The trio covered a number of different topics within that context, including their thoughts that the city will re-institute the 421-a tax program that gives developers tax credits in exchange for including low-income housing in their buildings, and the need for office space in Downtown Brooklyn.
“Brooklyn deserves an iconic office building,” Gilmartin said before she explained that any new office building construction would likely have to involve an anchor-tenant prior to any approval. She did explain that the situation was ripe for such a building. Stern agreed and added that the success of residential development over the past 10 years in the neighborhood will only help attract more office space.
“If you look at what happened in the financial district when it started seeing a lot of residential conversion, it was a dead zone,” Stern said. “It’s a dead zone still today after 6 p.m. You won’t have that situation here, because there is already a 24/7 type of environment thanks to the rezoning in 2004.”
The remainder of the summit was broken down into various panels, including one run by Ya-Ting Liu centered on the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, a plan that will connect the two boroughs via street cars. Claude Silver, chief heart officer at VaynerMedia, was the keynote speaker during the afternoon, and the summit was wrapped up with a pitch contest where five Brooklyn-based entrepreneurs pitched their ideas for funding.
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