Willoughby Square

  • Willoughby Square aerial view
  • Willoughby Square perspective view
Last Updated June 03, 2019

A green space and new community amenities for Downtown Brooklyn will provide greatly-needed open space for the area's growing commercial, residential and cultural hub. 


Willoughby Square will be a 1.15 acre, street-level, publicly accessible open space in Downtown Brooklyn.

The project is one of a series of projects in the more than $100 million in public investments in open space and infrastructure commitments made under the Downtown Brooklyn Redevelopment Plan, adopted in 2004 to reinvigorate the neighborhood and celebrate the area’s unique heritage. 

The Willoughby Square open space is located on Willoughby Street between Duffield Street and Gold Street in Downtown Brooklyn, half a block from the vibrant Fulton Street Mall. 

The 1.15-acre site will feature open green space and new community amenities for the area, along with a permanent public artwork commemorating the abolitionist history of the neighborhood.  

NYCEDC plans to open a portion of the site in Summer 2019 for use by the local community while the design and development plan is being finalized. 

Design Process

The area surrounding Willoughby Square consists of commercial businesses, new residential towers, private hotel developments, and the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District, which is currently undergoing revitalization. In summer 2010, NYCEDC facilitated a community design process, engaging local residents, stakeholders, elected officials, and City agencies, including the Department of City Planning and the Department of Transportation. Their intent was to formulate a premier design for Willoughby Square that would enhance the environment of the local community. 

Based on the NYCEDC now leading the project, the open space design is being amended to increase the amount of green space and amenities while respecting the approved PDC design. In addition, and in partnership with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs’ (DCLA) Percent for Art program, NYCEDC will soon begin the process to select an artist to design the memorial commemorating the 19th century abolitionist movement, with particular attention to the Underground Railroad and its ties to Brooklyn.  

This builds on the work of In Pursuit of Freedom, a multifaceted public history initiative created by a partnership between Brooklyn Historical Society, Weeksville Heritage Center, and Irondale Ensemble Project that explores the everyday heroes of Brooklyn’s anti-slavery movement. Artists interested in being considered for the commission should send a request to [email protected]. 

Moving Forward

NYCEDC anticipates commencing construction in 2020 with completion expected by 2022.  

Project Highlights

Borough: Brooklyn
1.15-acre, street-level, publicly accessible open space
Located on Willoughby Street between Duffield and Gold Streets, Downtown Brooklyn
Includes a commemoration of the 19th century abolitionist movement
Design by Hargreaves Jones