Located in the heart of Brooklyn's thriving artistic community, the Cultural District is a groundbreaking development plan that will invest more than $100 million in new facilities for the arts, create public space, and provide much-needed affordable housing. Anchored by the world famous Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), the district will include new performance and rehearsal space, office space for a diverse group of local arts organizations, and a public plaza for the community.
Brooklyn is home to one of the most dynamic cultural scenes in the country, with renowned institutions like the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Public Library, and a host of music venues, art spaces, and theaters.
To support the existing concentration of established and emerging arts organizations, the City seeks to build a district that will encourage both economic and cultural development with new arts space, streetscape enhancements, and affordable housing.
The Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District—a Mayoral priority and a joint project by NYCEDC, the Department of Cultural Affairs, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Department of City Planning, and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership—will provide the surrounding Fort Greene area with the space to thrive as a cultural epicenter for years to come.
NYCEDC and the Department of Cultural Affairs funded the construction of the BAM Fisher Building on the previous "Salvation Army" site adjacent to the BAM Opera House, which was completed and opened in September 2012. The 40,000 square foot building is LEED Gold certified and includes a 250-299 seat, flexible performance space; rehearsal, classroom, and workshop space; a rooftop garden; and support offices for BAM's Education & Humanities Program.
NYCEDC is working to transform a parking lot into a new state-of-the-art, 32-story mixed use facility designed by Enrique Norton of Ten Arquitecos, including approximately 50,000 square feet of creative and cultural space that will be shared by BAM, 651 ARTS, and the Brooklyn Public Library. In addition, the building will include approximately 23,000 square feet of ground level retail, as well as approximately 300 to 400 apartments, 20 percent of which will be affordable. Plans also include a 16,000 square foot public plaza to provide desired open space for community residents, local artists and visitors. The plaza is designed to allow for a variety of outdoor programming, including dance and theater performances, film presentations, open air markets, craft fairs, and other community uses.
NYCEDC is building a permanent home for the Theatre for a New Audience, an internationally-renowned arts group, with a 299-seat theater, a rehearsal studio, and a public plaza. Mayor Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, and TFANA broke ground on the new 27,500-square-foot theater in June 2011. It will be the first classical theater built in New York City in more than four decades, and is the theater company's first permanent residence.
NYCEDC is renovating the City-owned Strand Theater building, a vaudeville venue that was built in 1918, to create flexible performance spaces, art galleries, TV studios, offices, and a state-of-the-art glass workshop. The project will provide BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn and UrbanGlass ground-floor space and open the building to the wider district.
On October 13, 2011, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, NYCEDC President Seth Pinsky, and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin today joined BRIC Arts | Media | Bklyn Executive Director Leslie G. Schultz and UrbanGlass Executive Director Dawn Bennett to break ground on the BRIC Arts | Media House and UrbanGlass Renewal Project.
A multi-disciplinary arts and media complex at the former site of the Strand Theatre at 647 Fulton Street, the $33 million City-funded renovation project will double BRIC’s operating space to 40,000 square feet and expand UrbanGlass by 3,300 square feet and modernize its 17,000-square-foot glassworking facility. The event began with a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of the Strand Theatre, attended by officials and representatives from each organization. Following the groundbreaking, architect Thomas Leeser unveiled the new design for the renovation project at a formal program at the Mark Morris Dance Center, a neighboring arts organization in the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District.