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Downtown Brooklyn Redevelopment


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Downtown Brooklyn

The Department of City Planning and the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), in partnership with the Downtown Brooklyn Council (DBC), a local business organization, are proposing a new comprehensive development plan to facilitate the continued growth of Downtown Brooklyn. The plan recommends a series of zoning map and zoning text changes, new public open spaces, pedestrian and transit improvements, urban renewal, street mappings and other actions that would foster a multi-use urban environment to serve the residents, businesses, academic institutions and cultural institutions of Downtown Brooklyn and its surrounding communities. Building on the success of previous development efforts that have retained and attracted companies in New York, the plan would create new retail and housing, and would foster expanded academic and cultural facilities.


Flatbush Avenue: Enhanced Pedestrian Environment

Downtown Brooklyn is the city

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Thats awesome.  But I think some people opposed it.

The people getting booted from their homes and business aren't exactly thrilled...

New arena for build battle

Downtown park plan would oust dozens



The proposed Atlantic Yards arena isn't the only development project in Brooklyn that's stirring controversy.

While a battle rages over the fate of several blocks in Prospect Heights where developer Bruce Ratner wants to build a home for his NBA Nets, another urban revival plan quietly inches closer to ousting dozens of downtown property owners.

The first phase of the downtown Brooklyn plan calls for a grassy park in a location where 40 homeowners and 10 merchants live or work, sources said.

"It can be a very alarming issue, but when you sit down with an impacted property owner, they calm down and finally get it," said Michael Burke, director of the Downtown Brooklyn Council. "This isn't the old Robert Moses, 'Let's bulldoze your community' way," Burke added.

Yet it's partly because of the highly publicized Nets arena displacement issue that downtown residents haven't been heard, sources said.

"I think the Nets coming to Brooklyn was the attention-grabber, and the rest of the stuff is taking a backseat," said Norman Siegel, the lawyer representing Prospect Heights landowners and tenants who are trying to save their homes.

But Siegel added that he has spoken to concerned downtown residents, and they are just beginning to get organized.

One area landowner, Lewis Greenstein, who inherited 233 Duffield St. from his mother, vowed to hold his ground.

"I plan to fight to the bitter end," Greenstein, 62, said. "I don't plan on erasing the memories of all the people who lived here for a grassy knoll."

The plan calls for zoning changes designed to entice private developers to build in downtown Brooklyn - and combat the loss of corporate jobs to New Jersey. It will bring 5.4 million square feet of new office and retail space and 1,000 new apartments.

If all of the downtown plan's projected towers rise, a total of about 130 residential units and 100 businesses will be displaced, Burke said.

The proposed park would be bounded by Willoughby St., Duffield St., Albee Square West and a new road that will be carved out of the area. The green space will have a submerged parking garage underneath, according to plan documents.

After the city's land review process for the downtown plan is completed this summer, the state Supreme Court will issue condemnation orders to landowners, said a high-ranking city official who wished to remain anonymous.

Within a year, the city will likely own the property for the park, and former downtown owners and tenants will be relocated through the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development, sources said.

Patti Hagan, a leader of the community effort to block the Nets arena, has shared resources with fledging anti-downtown Brooklyn plan organizations, she said.

But the residents may have a tough battle before them.

Condemnation rights lawyer Robert Goldstein said that's because the park would be a public area, and eminent domain allows the state to take over private land for public use.

"That will be a slam dunk - that's public space," Goldstein said.

From The New York Daily News

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Well if they are loosing their homes & businesses I could see why they'd oppose it. I know I wouldn't like it if someone wanted to redevelop the area my house was in if it meant forcing me to move. I'm sure many others would feel the same way.

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Well if they are loosing their homes & businesses I could see why they'd oppose it. I know I wouldn't like it if someone wanted to redevelop the area my house was in if it meant forcing me to move. I'm sure many others would feel the same way.

But I'm sure they would find other housing for them. I would move.

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More on Brooklyn's "other" large development...(Daily News)

Mauled by redevelop plans

Downtown rehab will displace 100 small-biz owners


Dozens of Fulton Mall-area merchants fear that sweeping plans for the redevelopment of downtown Brooklyn may sweep them out of the neighborhood - and their businesses out of existence.

To allow office towers to rise in parts of downtown, at least 100 small-business owners will be displaced through condemnation proceedings.

But those merchants will not be compensated for the most valuable part of the businesses they stand to lose - their loyal customers and reputation - said condemnation rights lawyer Robert Goldstein.

"At the end of the day, the business owner is a loser," Goldstein said. "Depending on where he relocates, he's going to lose all his customers."

Merchants who sell their outfits on the free market would get paid for that value, he added.

According to the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development, commercial tenants will be reimbursed only for their moving expenses and the value of equipment that cannot be taken to a new location.

"That's why we're really being very careful in what we select for the potential phases," said Daisy Lopez, a senior HPD planner.

Lopez said the department calculates relocation costs for each merchant, based on how long he or she has been in business and other factors. Consultants also have been hired to help the displaced find new digs, she added.

The goal of the downtown plan is to attract corporate jobs to Brooklyn by creating 5.4 million square feet of office and retail space by 2013, according to the city Economic Development Corp.

The first phase of the plan will be Willoughby Square Park, located at the southeast border of the MetroTech complex.

Condemnation proceedings for the park are expected to start six months after Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council approve the downtown plan, which is likely to happen this summer.

Meanwhile, in dispute is exactly how many merchants will be forced to relocate.

A community organization that opposes the plan, Brooklyn Vision, said that at least 300 businesses will be displaced by the downtown plan - a figure that is three times the city estimate.

"We arrived at our figure by doing a street-by-street survey, and I'm confidant that number is a minimum," said Dr. Philip Truscott, chairman of Brooklyn Vision.

According to Truscott's study, the average value of businesses forced to relocate is $462,000 - and he said the city will "confiscate" a total of more than $130 million in business value.

Anxiety has spread like wildfire among Brooklyn merchants in the urban renewal zones as they wonder how much they will receive - and when they will be told to pack their bags.

Annie Kang, owner of Best Total Foods, at 235 Duffield St., said she has had trouble sleeping since she learned her deli may soon give way to a skyscraper.

"I'm nervous and confused because no one has told us what is happening," Kang said through an interpreter. "I feel that the government is stepping on hardworking storeowners to help make wealthy developers even wealthier."

Mike Vaknin, owner of wireless phone shop Cellular Island, at 489 Fulton St., added, "It feels like I have no control of what I have." Mike Weiss, executive director of the Fulton Mall Improvement Association, said he had reason to believe the city would treat the affected merchants fairly.

"I believe people that were relocated with MetroTech didn't complain of being unfairly treated," Weiss said.

But Goldstein, the condemnation rights lawyer, said he expected some shop owners wouldn't fare quite so well.

"I've done this for 55 years, and I've seen an awful lot of people put out of business because they don't have enough money to start over again," he said.

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