In recent years Downtown Brooklyn has become somewhat of a hub of cultural activity. Just past the triangular intersection of Flatbush Ave and Fulton Street, a high density of cultural buildings, expansive retail, and entertainment exists. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC announced in late November that the city and private companies will be partnering to produce three new projects in this area that will bring affordable housing and additional cultural and community spaces to Downtown Brooklyn. This last city-owned parcel will be developed into mixed use facilities: a 515,000 square foot building at Fulton St, Rockwell Place and Ashland Place; a 32-story mixed use building on Flatbush and Lafayette to be designed by Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos and a third building currently in the RFP stage of development at Ashland Place and Lafayette.
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As these developments move forward, the whole of Downtown Brooklyn is getting something of a facelift. Fulton Mall, the stretch between Flatbush Ave and Joralemon Street, has been introducing higher-end stores and redeveloping some of the older buildings as well as creating new plazas, adding street furniture and building bicycle racks. Further up Flatbush at Myrtle Ave, the intersection has become home to three condominium developments that were completed in recent years, upgrading amenities along Myrtle towards Fort Greene.
Downtown Brooklyn is generally a dense hub of activity. Its programmatic diversity and accessibility makes it an attractive place for people to live and businesses to grow. The government buildings at Borough Hall, the business and educational center of Metrotech, the retail of Fulton Mall and Atlantic Center, the cultural facilities at BAM and now the recently announced additional developments have and will continue to create a bustling and saturated hub that is active throughout the day.
The sites will include public plazas for outdoor uses, encouraging dance and theater performances, film presentations, open air markets, craft fairs, and community gathering. BAM will have the opportunity to expand is facilities and resources to its growing audience, the Brooklyn Public Library will open a new branch for the local community, and 651 ARTS will have a state of the art studio and rehearsal center that will include an educational and cultural center and performance spaces.
For the final development at Ashland Place and Lafayette, the City Department of Housing and Preservation has released an RFP for 100,000 SF of residential, community and commercial space with at least 15,000 SF devoted to cultural space and the arts. Proposals are due Febryary 1, 2012. Download the RFP here.