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Brooklyn Space October 26, 2023

Brooklyn Space

October 26, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
Tower at One Willoughby Square
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Exclusive Look: 1 Willoughby Sq. — Brooklyn’s Tallest Office Building

JEMB Realty’s 35-story tall, 1 Willoughby Square, recently crossed an important milestone reaching around 60% leased. Currently, it is home to companies in the architectural, health care and consulting industries. Those include Gemic, FXCollaborative (the architecture firm that designed the building) and long-time DUMBO-based company, Big Spaceship. It’s also home to a nonprofit called Ms. Foundation for Women. Many of the businesses were previously located in Manhattan and decided to move over the bridge to Brooklyn to be a part of the growth. “We need more interesting places for people to work so smaller businesses, tech firms, design firms, really can be attracted to working in Downtown Brooklyn,” said Regina Myer, the president of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

Hailed by Metropolis Magazine as “the most striking high rise to arrive in the borough in almost a century” when it opened, the building’s developer JEMB Realty, was originally planning yet another residential tower for the site but opted to do something different in response to dwindling commercial vacancy rates In Brooklyn pre-Covid. This path was quite innovative at the time and has become even more so in the post-Covid world as office demand has continued to struggle. The developers now hope that the first office tower constructed since the 2004 downtown Brooklyn rezoning — which the city imagined would produce all sorts of office construction — will continue to attract new tenants. Superlatives, like the building now holding the title of the tallest office building constructed in the borough since the 1929 Williamsburg Savings Bank building, which has since been converted to residential use, helping to drive demand. 

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News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The Atlantic Avenue Shell station site is a sold-out condo project at 95 Rockwell Place.
The Atlantic Avenue Shell station site is a sold-out condo project at 95 Rockwell Place.
Photo: Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Around Kings County

Permits Filed For 38-story Tower At 95 Rockwell Place In Fort Greene

Permits have been filed for a 38-story mixed-use tower at 95 Rockwell Place in Fort Greene. Located between Lafayette Avenue and Fulton Street, the interior lot is within walking distance of the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station. Charney Companies is listed as the owner behind the applications. The proposed 418-foot-tall development will yield 167,679 square feet, with 135,111 square feet designated for residential space and 32,568 square feet for commercial space. The building will have 158 residences, most likely rentals. Demolition permits were filed in August for the five-story building on the site. An estimated completion date has not been announced.

Read more.

East New York Project With 634 Affordable Apartments Advances

Several developers promise 2.5 million square feet and 2,400 units by 2030. The second phase of a massive affordable housing project in East New York is moving forward with 634 apartments planned. L+M Development Partners will build two 14-story buildings at 895 Erskine Street and 888 Fountain Avenue, according to Department of Buildings records. The $1.2 billion state-backed development, dubbed Alafia, will create 2,400 apartments over six construction phases on the former grounds of the Brooklyn Developmental Center, a 27-acre campus once used to institutionalize severely mentally ill patients.

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How An Abandoned Brooklyn Lot Will Become A Hub For Student Learning, Urban Agriculture

After a decade-long effort, the city will transform a once-abandoned lot into a communal gardening and learning space for students and local residents in Bergen Beach. The City broke ground on the 2.2-acre garden last year, and construction is now underway. The concept came about after a parent coordinator at P.S. 312 raised concerns about a nearby garbage-strewn lot, which was owned by the City’s Education Department. Project organizers hope the “learning garden” can become a model for other communities across NYC.

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Ranco Gets Rezoning For Bed-Stuy Project As Block Transforms

Brooklyn developer Ranco Capital received rezoning approval that will pave the way for a rental development in Bed-Stuy. The City Council approved Ranco’s application to change 703 Myrtle Avenue’s zoning from manufacturing to mixed residential and commercial. Ranco’s planned mixed-use building would bring 54 rental units to the block, including 18 affordable to households earning less than 80% of the area median income.

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NYC’s Outer Boroughs Overtake San Francisco As Most Expensive Industrial Market

Industrial space in New York City’s outer boroughs has reclaimed the top spot as the most expensive industrial market in the country, overtaking the San Francisco Peninsula, according to a Cushman & Wakefield (CWK) report.

Overall industrial asking rents in the outer boroughs — which covers the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island — rose slightly to $26.02 per square foot in the third quarter of 2023, enough to make it the most expensive of 83 industrial markets C&W tracks. The overall industrial vacancy rate there grew slightly by 20 basis points to 4.4%. Vacancy has been inching upward since reaching a historic low of 3.7% last year, according to C&W. 

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These Brooklyn Neighborhoods Buck the Trend of Slumping Prices in Flood Zones

Multiple Brooklyn neighborhoods in flood-prone zones have bucked the trend of slumping sale prices over the last decade, according to a new analysis from Property Shark. These areas even compare well to lower-risk neighbors, the analysis said. In a review of residential sales in 2012 — before Superstorm Sandy hit — and through 2023, the real estate data provider found that price increases for properties have significantly slowed in flood zones compared to low-risk areas across the city, rising 33% and 53%, respectively. But the median price in flood zones in a handful of neighborhoods — Red Hook, Greenpoint and Gowanus, in particular—dramatically surged over nearby, less-vulnerable residential properties.

Read more.

Top 10 Brooklyn Real Estate Listings: A Bed Stuy Brownstone, A Fort Greene Row House

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Work Begins On Studio Gang-designed Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center In Brooklyn

new recreation center that will serve as a hub for learning, fitness, and recreation is coming to East Flatbush. City officials broke ground on the $141 million Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center, a new facility named after the late congresswoman and Brooklyn native who was the first Black woman ever elected to Congress. Located in Nostrand Playground, the roughly 62,000-square-foot center will feature a public plaza, indoor swimming pool, gymnasium, walking track, commercial teaching kitchen, and a media lab.

Read more here and here.


Housing Solutions From 

Across The Globe

Tokyo, Japan skyline.
A view of Tokyo, Japan.
Photo: Greg Baker/AP
The Sure-Fire Way to Save America’s Cities?
Do what Tokyo Does.

Cities across the U.S. are flailing under a worsening housing affordability crisis. Superstar metropolises from Los Angeles to Miami are becoming playgrounds for the elite. Americans fleeing New York and San Francisco for more affordable lives in the Sunbelt are experiencing sticker shock. The median home price in the U.S. has jumped 52% since just January 2020.

But affordability isn’t an issue in the world’s biggest city, Tokyo. Despite facing many of the same pressures of scarce land and a growing population, the city of 14 million builds much more housing — and much more quickly — than U.S. cities do. Since the 1960s, Tokyo has tripled its housing supply, while New York’s has grown by only about a third. And because housing is far more abundant in Japan’s capital, it’s also cheaper. The median Japanese tenant spends about 20% of their disposable income on rent (in America it’s 30%). Rent for a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Tokyo, which Americans are fawning over as “the new Paris,” is a quarter of what it is in New York. Read more.


Perspectives From Brooklyn 

And Beyond

► New York On Track For Its Worst Year Of Housing Production Since 2012

The implosion of activity pins builders’ hopes on infrastructure. Fewer tax breaks and higher interest rates have throttled the construction of residential housing in New York City. A report from the New York Building Congress forecasts that home production will fall 62% from last year’s level to 11,300 new units, making it the worst year for new housing construction since 2012, and ending a seven-year streak of more than 20,000 new homes created annually. Read more.


► Zoning Wars: City’s Developers, Future At Mercy Of Politics

City Council’s appetite for housing construction faces big tests. It is no exaggeration to say the future of New York City and its real estate industry depends on zoning. Seeds of their prosperity or decline will be laid in the next year as rezonings play out along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, around four Metro-North stations in the Bronx, in Manhattan’s Garment District and perhaps in western Queens. Zoning largely dictates what gets built. That, in turn, affects what people pay for housing and where they live — which heavily influences how their lives play out. The impact on real estate is also profound. Zoning that allows more housing helps developers. Restrictive zoning helps landlords by limiting competition for their rentals. But what determines zoning? Politics, ideology and ignorance. Mostly politics. Read more.


► I Live In My Car: Dozens Of Parking Lots Have Opened Across The Country For Working People Who Can Afford A Car But Not Rent

Ms. Audet, 49, earns over $72,000 a year as a social worker for the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. But a combination of bad luck, bad debt and a bad credit score priced her out of her apartment in Bellevue, another suburb of Seattle, one of the most expensive housing markets in the country. With eviction looming, she put her furniture in storage this spring and began parking the sedan in a U-shaped parking lot outside a church in Kirkland. The car, her biggest investment, became her home — the roof turned into a dining table, the trunk a closet. And a weathered stretch of blacktop provided by a Methodist church became her yard, her neighborhood and her safe place. Read more.


►  Governor Hochul Announces Financing For More Than 700 Affordable Homes Across New York

Governor Kathy Hochul announced that $236 million has been allocated through bonds and subsidies to create or preserve 732 affordable, supportive, and sustainable homes across New York State. This financing will expand and protect the housing supply across four developments located in the Capital Region, Finger Lakes and Hudson Valley. Read more.


What’s On X?

Furman Center tweet: Property taxes are New York City's largest single source of revenue. But their distribution is inequitable. NYC imposes one of the highest tax burdens on apartment buildings in the country, while the city's tax on one- to three-family homes is one of the lowest in the country.
See the tweet.

The Top Line: Space for Living, Working & Investing is produced by Eagle Urban Media. Contact at [email protected]

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