FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 01, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG HAILS APPROVAL OF DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN PLAN AT RIBBON CUTTING FOR THE BANK OF NEW YORK'S NEW BROOKLYN OFFICE TOWER
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today applauded the approval of the Downtown Brooklyn Plan at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at The Bank of New York’s new office building in Downtown Brooklyn, where the Bank has moved 1,400 employees that might otherwise have left New York City after September 11, 2001. Prior to September 11th, the Bank occupied 2.5 million square feet of office space at several locations in Lower Manhattan. In light of the Bank’s importance to the financial markets, it was important to diversify and decentralize its operations, and commercial space in Downtown Brooklyn enabled New York City to retain these jobs. The Downtown Brooklyn Plan is a critical component of the Administration’s comprehensive strategy to stimulate growth in New York City’s diverse business districts and increase jobs in all five boroughs, while also making the City more livable. The Bank of New York Chairman & CEO Thomas A. Renyi, Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Andrew M. Alper, City Planning Commission Chair Amanda M. Burden, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Council Members David Yassky and Letitia James, and Independence Community Bank CEO Alan Fishman joined the Mayor to mark the occasion.
“The Downtown Brooklyn Plan represents a key part of our strategy to preserve and grow jobs by diversifying our economy and strengthening the City’s business environment,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Downtown Brooklyn’s business district offers as much office space as Atlanta and St. Louis, and this plan will go a long way towards ensuring New York’s competitiveness for decades to come. The Bank of New York is the perfect example of the type of company we are looking to attract to Downtown Brooklyn – a company that will accelerate the area’s economic growth and create new jobs for Brooklyn residents and for all New Yorkers. The presence of a company as prestigious as The Bank of New York sends a strong signal that Downtown Brooklyn continues to become one of the premier business districts in the country.”
“The adoption of the Downtown Brooklyn Plan marks a great day in Brooklyn’s history and for its future,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding Daniel L. Doctoroff. “New York City is in a great position when the next wave of development begins to capture new economic opportunities for all New Yorkers. With the completion of the approval process, we will focus our attention now on attracting companies to the area, and developing both commercial and residential sites.”
“Not only does this plan take advantage of Downtown Brooklyn’s rich transit hub and proximity to Manhattan by creating conditions for commercial growth but at the same time, it provides opportunities for new residential development, better connecting downtown and surrounding neighborhoods to ensuring a vibrant mix of new initiatives,” said City Planning Commission Chair Burden.
The Downtown Brooklyn Plan allows for the creation of 4.5 million square feet of new commercial office space, 800,000 square feet of retail, 1,000 units of housing, new open space and retail amenities, as well as streetscape improvements. Already the City’s third-largest business district, the Plan builds on more than 7 million square feet of corporate office space created in the past two decades. In developing the plan, the City worked closely with representatives from the local community to address quality of life improvements, including traffic management and parking facilities. The plan envisions the creation of:
In addition, the Plan will transform Flatbush Avenue Extension into a thriving, pedestrian-friendly gateway to the borough serving the area’s workers and residents. The City’s Economic Development Corporation and Department of City Planning spearheaded the planning effort on behalf of the Administration in conjunction with the Downtown Brooklyn Council, an economic development advocacy group representing a number of Downtown Brooklyn’s corporate, academic and cultural institutions. The public review process began in April, 2003 with the issuance of a draft scope for the Environmental Impact Statement. Approval by the City Council follows review by Community Board 2 and approval from Borough President Marty Markowitz and the City Planning Commission.
Several changes were made to the plan during the public review and approval process; for example, height limits were established on development on the east side of the Flatbush Avenue Extension from Myrtle Avenue to Willoughby Street. The Administration also made a commitment to reduce the amount of public agency permit parking in area neighborhoods, provide off-street parking for certain agencies, implement certain road improvements sooner than originally anticipated.
“With the approval of the Downtown Plan, we are on the threshold of making Brooklyn’s downtown the most successful new business and residential district in New York,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Because we’re offering prospective commercial and housing tenants not only the world-class mix of neighborhoods, culture, restaurants and mass transit that’s already here, but also an ideal location that is the best in the city – the city of Brooklyn.”
“The Downtown plan is an important step toward a better Brooklyn,” said Council Member David Yassky. “The plan provides a blueprint for positive change that I am confident will be followed by new development and a stronger economy. In past years, New York has lost business to New Jersey and elsewhere because the City was not doing enough to attract the corporate community. Now, as the Bank of New York’s commitment to Downtown proves, Brooklyn is sure to be a more desirable location to businesses looking for office space.”
“The Downtown Brooklyn project is a major economic development initiative that will create opportunities for stimulating and integrating commercial, academic and residential development in the Downtown Brooklyn area,” said Council Member Letitia James.
“A strong and growing corporate presence, the mix of academic institutions, a thriving arts community, and some of the best residential communities in the country help define Downtown Brooklyn,” said Robert B. Catell, Chairman & CEO of KeySpan Corporation and chair of the Downtown Brooklyn Council. “The creation and approval of this plan, borne out of a strong collaboration between the private and public sectors, are the first steps in expanding the downtown district. The private sector is fully committed to working with our partners in government and in the local communities to begin implementation.”
Today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony marked The Bank of New York’s move into its new offices, a 10-story, 396,000-square-foot office tower above the Atlantic Terminal transit hub, developed with the assistance of $114 million in Liberty Bonds, a program intended to help New York City recover after September 11th that is jointly administered by the City and State. The building rises above a five-story, 375,000-square-foot retail complex on a 3.6-acre site bordered by Flatbush Avenue, Atlantic Avenue, Fort Greene Place and Hanson Place. Prior to September 11th, the Bank occupied 2.5 million square feet of office space at several locations in Lower Manhattan. Two of the locations, 101 Barclay Street and 100 Church Street, were severely damaged by the attacks. With the help of a $37.5 million grant through the World Trade Center Job Creation, and Retention Program and up to $2 million in sales tax exemptions, the Bank decided to keep 7,700 jobs in the City – 6,160 in Lower Manhattan, 1,400 in Downtown Brooklyn and 140 elsewhere in New York City for at least 12 years.
“For The Bank of New York, Downtown Brooklyn offered a perfect solution,” said Bank of New York Chairman Renyi. “By building a new facility here on Hanson Place, we were able to increase the geographic diversification of our New York operations, keep those 1,400 jobs right here in New York and contribute to the development of this vibrant area. It has been a win for the Bank, a win for our employees, a win for the City and a win for this diverse and growing neighborhood.”
“I am thrilled we were able to help The Bank of New York, an institution that’s played a critical role in the history of New York City and the nation, to expand to Brooklyn while keeping its headquarters in Lower Manhattan,” said EDC President Alper. “While making an enormous contribution to Downtown Brooklyn’s future, the bank will also ensure Lower Manhattan’s place as the financial capital of the world. This project is another example of how our strong partnership with the State helps bring jobs and investment to all New Yorkers.”
“New York State is pleased to be able to assist The Bank of New York in retaining these 1,400 employees in New York City,” said Charles A. Gargano, Empire State Development Chairman. “Today’s ribbon cutting is the culmination of the Governor's hard work in maintaining New York’s status as the world’s financial center. The Bank of New York’s commitment not only to Lower Manhattan but also to Downtown Brooklyn sends a major signal to businesses that all of New York is the place to do business.”
Edward Skyler/Jennifer Falk (212) 788-2958
Michael Sherman/Janel Patterson (EDC)
John Guenther (Bank of NY) (212) 635-1793
Lee Silberstein (Downtown Brooklyn Council) (212) 889-0808