Increased Development Needs Increased Infrastructure In Downtown Brooklyn, Say Community Leaders

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Construction cranes at work along Flatbush Avenue. (Photo by Fort Greene Focus.)
Construction cranes at work along Flatbush Avenue. (Photo by Fort Greene Focus.)

The intersection of DeKalb and Flatbush Avenues, where it meets with Albee Square and Fulton Mall is likely slated for even more development — even beyond the talk of “Brooklyn’s tallest tower” at 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension, adjacent to the historic Dime Savings Bank at 9 DeKalb Avenue.

According to Crain’s, other developers are already buying multiple low-level properties, likely with an intention to combine them into one or two developments with a larger footprint.

These trophy towers are spurring interest from investors hoping to capitalize on the residents and businesses that will fill them, said Derek Bestreich, president of Bestreich Realty Group, a commercial brokerage in the borough. Downtown has long lagged such Brooklyn neighborhoods as Williamsburg and Greenpoint for attention from developers and investors.

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One early arrival is RedSky Capital, a Dumbo-based investment firm. Since 2012, it has bought at least 10 of the 16 small commercial buildings across from the 9 DeKalb Ave. site: Nos. 547, 548, 549, 551, 553, 565, 573, 575 and 585 Fulton; and 396 Flatbush Ave. Extension. Several of the buildings are contiguous, suggesting that RedSky is assembling them for its own large-scale development. The firm did not respond to requests for comment.

RedSky is unlikely to be the last investor to buy multiple properties in downtown Brooklyn with an eye toward perhaps building big.

The boom in demand for Downtown Brooklyn properties among real estate developers is nothing new, but ongoing. According to the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, existing projects like City Point are coming on line this year and next, and hotels are also being built to accommodate visitors — 1,500 existing rooms will soon be joined by an additional 700 rooms that are currently under construction across four hotels.

Image via Independent Budget Office.
Image via Independent Budget Office.

According to Tucker Reed, DBP’s executive director, we also “need infrastructure across the board to support this growth” and DBP is actively “encouraging fresh uses in land use policy to support and encourage [such] development.”

For example, “there’s not nearly enough [school seats] to accommodate the amount of residential development in the pipeline,” he noted.

School District 13 is actually among the four districts citywide that are slated to receive the most number of new seats, according to a recent analysis by the Independent Budget Office — the number of new seats jumped by roughly 1,500, to total “almost 2,600” over the next five years — but that is spread out across Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, DUMBO, Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Downtown Brooklyn, and northern Park Slope and Prospect Heights.

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