De Blasio proposes makeover for Downtown Brooklyn
An expansion of a 21-acre greenway is part of a proposal announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday to revitalize Downtown Brooklyn.
The proposal would also allow for retail stores on the first floors of some city buildings in the neighborhood, as well as creating and reopening more public spaces.
The area was rezoned 10 years ago to facilitate commercial, academic, cultural and residential development as well as establish an alternative business district in the wake of 9/11. Since then, the neighborhood has attracted more than $4 billion in private investment with more than 5,000 new residential units and 1,100 hotel rooms, according to a report released this week by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
Several thousand more residential units are in the works, but de Blasio and other officials aim to make Downtown Brooklyn a more “dynamic” neighborhood.
Under the proposal, the city would create a “Brooklyn Strand” greenway, connecting several existing parks and public spaces from the courthouses to the waterfront. The city is also working with locals to make some streets in the area safer for pedestrians, including Jay and Willoughby streets.
Construction will begin this summer at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street to create Fox Square. The city is also moving toward building a new 1-acre public space dubbed Willoughby Square, to be completed by the end of 2016.
“The investments we are making will help Downtown Brooklyn continue its rise, generate good jobs and make this a more dynamic neighborhood to live and work,” de Blasio said in a statement.
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