Brooklyn Boro

2017 Building Brooklyn Awards celebrate teamwork, community enrichment

July 18, 2017 By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Honors were accorded to the team behind the Ford Amphitheater multiuse center, including, center:  Rachel Oehl, Cosmo Marfione (at left), Jeffrey Dewey (right), Joseph Barbagallo, Jay Sugarman and Karl Frey. Eagle photos by Andy Katz

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Looks Confidently to Continue Year’s Progress with Federal Planning Grant

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce celebrated a year’s worth of accomplishment on July 13 with its annual Building Brooklyn Awards, where it promotes the collaboration between architects, realtors, developers and attorneys in creating state-of-the-art commercial, cultural, educational, community and residential centers.

Projects ranging from the renovation of the Marcus Garvey Apartments in Brownsville to the Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and even to 1 Hotel in Brooklyn Bridge Park — the venue hosting the awards — were among those cited for creating positive economic impact, providing affordable housing, encouraging retail stimulation, venues for arts and access to educational resources.

“We’re trying to accomplish something,” said Katepalli Sreenivasan, dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, upon accepting his honor. “That’s the spirit of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, and that’s the spirit of Brooklyn. I’m very happy to be part of it. I know Brooklyn hasn’t always been like this. The people who made this transformation possible worked very hard for it and made their vision come true.”

“It really wasn’t that many years ago that Brooklyn had a much different feel to it,” said Chamber of Commerce Board member Peter Meyer while introducing honoree Timothy King. “A second-class mentality. And many people accepted that.”

“Let’s talk about great art,” honoree King, CPEX Real Estate managing partner, told the audience. “The people behind the projects being honored tonight might not pick up a chisel or a paintbrush. Their canvas is the mean streets of Brooklyn, and the masterpieces they bring out are every bit as enduring and beautiful as those which hang in museums.”

“We now need to focus on sustainability,” said Brooklyn Chamber board Chair Denise Arbesu. “Our mission is to help businesses create jobs and make Brooklyn a better place to live, play and do business.”

Announcing the procurement of a $100,000 federal grant awarded by the United States Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA), with the dogged advocacy ofBrooklyn’s Congressional delegation that helped secure it, Chamber President Andrew Hoan said, “Starting tomorrow, the Chamber will begin consultations with elected officials, thought leaders, economic development corporations, hospitals, community boards, real estate developers to plan the economic future of Brooklyn … We’ll be calling on everyone in this room for their input.”

Given the number and variety of projects that were also honored that evening, plaques were distributed to each project’s principals prior to the start of the program. The audience watched a short film depicting each one of the worthwhile projects, highlighting aspects that made each one special.

After the, viewing the audience retired for food and drinks and socializing.

With the scope of successful achievements on display, it was impossible to miss the sense of pride and accomplishment that filled 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge that evening. The power of Brooklyn’s motto, “Unity Brings Strength” was never more in evidence.

Meanwhile, just outside the hotel, parked conspicuously under an awning on Furman Street, a gleaming race car awaited the moment it would compete in New York City’s first-ever Formula E road race — to be held, of course, in Brooklyn. 

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