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Downtown Brooklyn Rezoning

Location: Brooklyn, New York
Client: Downtown Brooklyn Council
Services: Land Use and Planning

Washington Square Partners provided advisory services to the Downtown Brooklyn Council (DBC), a not for profit economic development group and the City of New York in the comprehensive redevelopment plan for Downtown Brooklyn, New York City's third largest business district after Midtown and Downtown Manhattan. MetroTech, with 5 million square feet of Class A office space that was fully occupied, had become an established commercial core of the downtown. Downtown also had several colleges, strong cultural uses and revitalized residential neighborhoods. However, areas adjacent to the established strong uses were underutilized and deteriorating. The plan was envisioned as a catalyst for attracting major corporate users, enhancing academic and cultural institutions, linking with residential neighborhoods and creating jobs. It became a key part of the City's long term economic development strategy.

The plan called for significant upzoning to encourage development of commercial, residential and cultural uses, expansive infrastructure improvements including a new park, a public parking garage and the redesign of a heavily-trafficked arterial roadway to make it more pedestrian friendly and attractive as well as design guidelines to insure that new construction was responsive to the context of surrounding buildings and existing neighborhoods. Urban Renewal Plans were also amended and provided the ability to assemble key development sites so that they would be available to capture the next demand cycle.

DBC initiated the planning effort, engaging WSP to assist in the development of the conceptual plan and an implementation strategy. When the City formally took over the planning process WSP continued to provide services, primarily in presenting the private development perspective to regulatory elements of the proposed plan and in the outreach strategy to stakeholders including community groups, private developers and elected officials.

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