All Things Brooklyn – Brooklyn Sting: Driving Up Downtown

It’s been easy to come up with things to write about Brooklyn over the past few weeks. My Downtown Brooklyn neighborhood especially has seen an influx of attention from many sources. This attention has led to seemingly weekly articles on raising rent and purchase prices, gentrification, etc.

The Real World story led things off earlier this summer, when MTV announced it would be renovating the penthouse in the BellTell Lofts, a recently renovated building not too far from my own, for the next season’s cast. This press release was soon followed by news of another H&M location making a home on the Fulton Street Mall, a retail-heavy stretch of Fulton Street between Adams Street and Flatbush Avenue known for its two Footlockers and two Duane Reades.

The Brooklyn Heights Courier published an article on Friday about the state of the rental market in Brooklyn. According to Ideal Properties Group LLC, the number of out-of-staters looking to relocate to Downtown Brooklyn has dramatically risen. As you would expect, the demand for apartments and office space has gone up as well. Developers are looking at every available option for building new or renovating old structures.

SL Green, a large Manhattan-based developer, just purchased 16 Court Street. They’re renovating this iconic building which was erected in 1929 for commercial use.

There’s even a plan on the table to sell the shuttered Brooklyn House of Detention on Atlantic Avenue to commercial developers.

While the Department of Corrections has its own plan to expand and reopen the facility (so inmates don’t have to be transferred from Riker’s Island), City Councilmember David Yassky, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, State Senator Martin Connor, and Comptroller William Thompson all advocate selling the facility. Given the increasing residential nature of Downtown Brooklyn, I agree that putting the House of Detention on the market and collecting the subsequent commercial taxes is the better plan.

Every few months or so, my parents call me and ask if I’m interested in looking at this place in Park Slope or that place in Cobble Hill… and my answer is always a resounding “no.” A few years ago I never would have believed that my strange hybrid neighborhood in between courts, bridges, technical colleges, and Brooklyn Heights would be called “up and coming” by anyone. Now I’m considering permanent residency.

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