Downtown Brooklyn embodies the best of New York City. Several of the City’s top public and private institutions for higher learning are located in the area, such as Long Island University, Pratt Institute, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, and NYC College of Technology. The area is known for its historic brownstones and attractive new apartment buildings, providing diverse residential options. The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), America’s oldest performing arts center founded in 1861, is located in Downtown Brooklyn and produces over 220 performances every year, drawing in over half a million visitors annually. BAM’s success has spawned a new cultural district in the area, including multiple theaters for film and live performances, dance studios, workshop and education spaces. The construction of the Atlantic Yards project will bring a professional basketball team, the Nets, to Brooklyn, the first professional team to call the borough home since 1957.
Downtown Brooklyn is the City’s third-largest central business district with millions of square feet of office space. The largest office development, Metro Tech Center, is a $1 billion, 16-acre commercial, academic, and high-technology complex containing 12 buildings with more than 5 million square feet of office and retail space. With its proximity to Lower Manhattan and tremendous value for Class A office space, Downtown Brooklyn continues to provide wonderful opportunities for firms looking to move or expand their business here.
Excellent transportation access and established retail corridors make Downtown Brooklyn a perfect place for retail growth. Three Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) provide sanitation, security, and marketing for retailers throughout the downtown area. There are 13 subway lines, 16 bus lines, and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) which help to make Downtown Brooklyn one of the most accessible parts of the city.
The City is undertaking several projects to improve the overall pedestrian experience within Downtown Brooklyn. Design is underway for streetscape improvements on the area’s key corridors along Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street, with construction recently completed along Boerum Place. Improvements include pedestrian walkways, new benches, improved street lighting, new bus shelters and new plant medians. A 30,000 square foot Ken Smith-designed Grand Plaza (bounded by Flatbush, Lafayette, and Ashland Avenues) is planned for completion in 2011. This plaza will provide a major outdoor gathering space and serve as a majestic entrance to the BAM Cultural District.