Developer to Transform Part of Brooklyn Municipal Building into Retail
By NYC.gov - AUG. 15, 2011
Mayor Bloomberg and Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz today announced that United American Land will develop 49,000 square feet of retail space in the City-owned Brooklyn Municipal Building at 210 Joralemon Street in Downtown Brooklyn. United American Land will transform the western portion of the first, second, and below-grade floors of the space; creating a lively, pedestrian-friendly, and unique retail space that will serve as an anchor for the Court Street retail corridor in the City’s third largest Central Business District. While tenants have not yet been selected, there will be multiple retail tenants in the space and one of them will be a full-service restaurant.
Construction is expected to begin in 2012, and the project will create 64 full-time construction jobs and 114 permanent jobs. The space is currently being occupied by the Department of Finance, which will relocate and consolidate within the building and to other City-owned space. This development will build upon the City’s efforts to revitalize Downtown Brooklyn and is a product of a City initiative, announced in the 2010 State of the City Speech, to use space it owns and leases more efficiently. Mayor Bloomberg and Borough President Markowitz made the announcement at the Brooklyn Municipal Building and were joined by Councilmember Stephen Levin, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, Economic Development Corporation Chief Operating Officer Josh Wallack, Department of Citywide Administrative Services Commissioner Edna Wells-Handy, Department of Finance Commissioner David Frankel, Chairman of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Alan Fishman, and Albert Laboz of United American Land.
“Downtown Brooklyn’s resurgence is just one of New York City’s success stories,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “New York City has lost fewer jobs and is bouncing back from the downturn faster than the rest of the country, and that is no accident – it is because of our commitment to investing in neighborhoods and helping entrepreneurs create jobs across all five boroughs.”
“As borough president, I like to think of all of Brooklyn as my own backyard, but it’s not often that I can actually look out of my office window and see a future economic powerhouse right across the street,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Now, thanks to United American Land and Al Laboz, that future is now. Let this be a message to all developers and businesses that there are underutilized City-owned buildings that would be perfect sites for economic development. Kudos to
Mayor Bloomberg and his staff, the EDC and Seth Pinsky, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and Joe Chan, and especially to my tireless chief of staff, Carlo Scissura, whose laser-sharp focus and tenacity helped turn this idea into reality.”
“The selection of United American Land LLC to develop the retail space at the Municipal Building is an exciting step forward for the continued revitalization of Downtown Brooklyn,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Steel and EDC President Seth Pinsky for their commitment to bringing innovative retail opportunities to Brooklyn and Borough President Marty Markowitz for championing this project for many years.”
“A redeveloped Municipal Building will continue to make Downtown Brooklyn a destination for all New Yorkers,” said Senator Daniel Squadron. “By bringing in new businesses and new jobs, this is one more piece of a downtown revival – and an important step for this community and for the city as a whole. I’d like to thank Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Markowitz, EDC President Pinsky, and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership for their work to make this a reality.”
“The Bloomberg Administration is committed to fostering economic development in all five boroughs, and Downtown Brooklyn is one the City’s great success stories,” said Deputy Mayor Steel. “This redevelopment project will bring more businesses, visitors and – most importantly – jobs to this vibrant and dynamic economic engine for Brooklyn and the entire City.”
“With this project, United American Land will bring vibrancy and activity to the streetscape, expand job opportunities for local residents, and enhance and diversify the Downtown Brooklyn retail base in a manner that will meet the everyday needs of the diverse population of workers, residents and visitors to the area,” said NYCEDC President Seth W. Pinsky.
“210 Joralemon is a wonderful example of DCAS’ creative collaborations with sister City agencies, yielding valuable revenue and space savings,” said Edna Wells Handy, Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “The DCAS Asset Management Line of Service was engaged in every step of the process – from the analysis of the space, creation of the RFP, shepherding the ULURP process to assisting with the developer selection procedure. The creative multi-use of this space furthers our mission of leveraging city-owned real estate more efficiently, and we continue to look for more opportunities like 210 Joralemon.”
“The Department of Finance is looking forward to offering improved service for customers in our rebuilt Brooklyn space,” said Department of Finance Commissioner David M. Frankel. “In the meantime, we encourage all of our Brooklyn customers to take advantage of our recently revamped online services, or visit one of our four other locations.”
“Downtown Brooklyn today is a diversified, 24-7 live work community, having benefitted from a surge of investment in excess of $3 billion during the past five years,” said Alan Fishman, Co-Chair of Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “As a result, hundreds of new retail jobs have been created, the area’s residential population has boomed, new cultural facilities and parks have been created and the area is well positioned to really surge once the global recession subsides. Redevelopment of the Municipal Building is more good news for the area.”
“We are thrilled to continue our involvement in the Downtown Brooklyn renaissance by developing this unique property into a thriving retail location that will enhance the ongoing retail revival in this downtown district,” said Albert Laboz of United American Land.
The Economic Development Corporation positioned this project to attract proposals from some of the City’s leading retail developers and negotiated an agreement that enables the City to maximize proceeds from this transaction while also ensuring that future uses in this building will complement the City’s development objectives for the area. United American Land is buying the 49,000 square feet parcel for $10 million. They were chosen through a public request for proposals and are a family-owned real estate development, investment and management company founded in 1985 and based in New York City. The company manages and owns over forty properties in Manhattan and Brooklyn and is already an active and dedicated participant in the Downtown Brooklyn community, owning and undertaking several projects within the area.
The Brooklyn Municipal Building is a 13-story, 383,000 square foot structure erected in 1925 and designed by architects Mckenzie, Voorhees & Gmelin. Adjacent to the iconic Brooklyn Borough Hall, the site has excellent transit access and is served by 14 subway lines, 16 buses, and yields over 1,800 pedestrians per midday hour. The area around the building is a vibrant mix of cultural and community organizations, civic and academic institutions, commercial and residential buildings, all interspersed with open space.
Since its rezoning in 2004, Downtown Brooklyn has been undergoing a dynamic transformation as a result of billions of dollars in public and private investments, and has become a shopping and dining destination attracting more than 150,000 shoppers daily. Already one of the city’s most active central business districts, Downtown Brooklyn is home to one of the busiest retail corridors in the nation and more than 100,000 office workers, over 40 arts and cultural organizations, as well as eight universities and colleges educating some 57,000 students. Since 2006, Downtown Brooklyn has experienced some 7.8 million square feet of development including over 590,000 square feet of retail space and 236,000 square feet of office space. This space will complement and add to the growing retail landscape in Downtown Brooklyn. Major retailers have opened nearby and many more projects are underway. The first phase of the nearby CityPoint development includes 50,000 square feet of retail and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2012. DeKalb Market, an open-air market occupies the space where future phases of the CityPoint development will occur.
In his 2010 State of the City speech, Mayor Bloomberg committed to reducing the City’s office space by 1.2 million square feet by the end of 2014, saving $36 million annually. As part of the effort, the City will sell or lease vacated space where appropriate to generate jobs, revenue and economic activity. So far, the City has reduced office space by 325,000 square feet, saving $12.8 million in annual savings. Currently, the NYC Department of Finance Business Center occupies approximately 19,000 square feet on the ground floor of the Brooklyn Municipal Building site and the NYC Department of Finance Property Assessment Division occupies roughly 18,000 square feet on the second floor. The Business Center renovation will begin in 2012 following the relocation of the finance center. The Department of Citywide Administration Services is working with the Department of Finance to accommodate its space needs both in the building and in other facilities with the goal of more efficient but quality business center and office space using the City’s open plan space guidelines.