Contact: Colleen Roche/Jennifer Chait (212) 788-2958
Susanne Chasanoff (City Planning) (212) 720-3225
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani today announced the development of Brooklyn Commons, a 500,000-square-foot entertainment center that will turn the dormant Gowanus Post Office site into a $63 million state-of-the-art entertainment and movie theater complex. Brooklyn Commons will be built by Millennium Partners and will offer a multi-faceted entertainment and retail center featuring the largest Loews Theaters movie multiplex in the New York Metropolitan area, an athletic facility and national and local retailers. The project is expected to begin later this year and will be completed by year's-end 2000.
Joining the Mayor at today's announcement were Millennium Partners Founding Partner and Principal Philip A. Aarons, Loews Cineplex Entertainment President and CEO Larry Ruisi, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Randy L. Levine and City Planning Commission Chairman Joseph B. Rose.
Located along Second Avenue between 9th and 12th Streets off the Gowanus and Prospect Expressways, Brooklyn Commons will occupy the three-block span that has been vacant since the U.S. Post Office relocated its facility approximately six years ago. The 9.4 acre family-themed center will feature a 22-screen movie theater complex with stadium-style seating for 5,000; a recreational center that features a bowling alley and multi-sport athletic center; approximately 50,000 square-feet of family-oriented restaurants; a combination of major national and local retailers and a 1,500-car parking garage. In addition, the $63 million project will build a Waterfront Esplanade along the Gowanus Canal.
"Brooklyn Commons will be a welcome addition to these Brooklyn neighborhoods, providing not only movies, restaurants and family entertainment but also jobs, economic activity and lasting quality of life improvements," Mayor Giuliani said. "Several years ago, a project like this would have been unthinkable. But today, we are welcoming Brooklyn Commons to a City that is stronger than it has been in a very long time. Our economy is thriving, tourism is booming, our streets are safer and cleaner, and New York is seen, worldwide, as an urban success story."
The Mayor continued, "Brooklyn Commons will create 1,250 construction jobs and add approximately 440 full-time jobs to the City. I would like to thank Deputy Mayor Randy Levine, Founding Partner and Principal of Millennium Partners Philip A. Aarons, and President and CEO of Loews Cineplex Entertainment Larry Ruisi for making their vision of Brooklyn Commons come alive in New York City."
The Mayor also noted that in Brooklyn, employment in eating and drinking establishments increased 10.1 percent between 1993 and 1997. Over the same time period, employment in the amusement and recreation industry increased 24.5 percent; employment in family clothing stores increased 37.8 percent; and heavy construction employment increased 43.3 percent. Many of these sectors are new growth areas for Brooklyn.
"This project is a perfect example of private investment without the use of City funds," Deputy Mayor Randy L. Levine said. "Brooklyn Commons will bring needed employment and investment to Brooklyn's waterfront."
President and Founding Principal of Millennium Partners Christopher M. Jeffries said, "We are thrilled to be coming to Brooklyn with a development that will give residents a place of entertainment, leisure and shopping in an area that has long been underserved. Having built entertainment centers of this kind before, we are confident that New York City residents and visitors will find this to be an exciting gathering place to socialize and be entertained and a source of pride for Brooklyn."
President and CEO of Loews Cineplex Entertainment Larry Ruisi said, "Working with Millennium Partners we have come up with a winning formula, combining entertainment and retail in an urban family center. We believe Brooklyn provides an ideal location to bring state-of-the art movie and related entertainment."
City Planning Commission Chairman Joseph B. Rose said, "This project is a major step toward addressing the shortage of movie screens and entertainment venues in Brooklyn, and an indication of the Borough's great economic potential."
Jed Marcus, CEO of Insite, Millennium's local development partner, said, "We believe the Brooklyn Commons will provide significant economic, social and lifestyle benefits to Brooklyn. In addition to building this center, we are committed to working with our neighbors to improve the community. We are excited about providing pedestrian access to the Gowanus Canal in an effort to spark the redevelopment of what will ultimately be a major amenity to the community."
Situated between the Park Slope and Carroll Gardens neighborhoods, Brooklyn Commons is the latest and largest of Millennium Partners "themed" theaters built to date. The four year-old Sony Theaters Lincoln Square in Manhattan, another of Millennium's successful projects, was the first such themed theater complex. It is now the highest grossing theater in the country.
Millennium Partners, headquartered in New York City, is an international real estate development firm that pioneered the urban living and entertainment center concept. The company has assembled some of the world's leading retailers, sports and entertainment companies, and financial institutions to create intelligent large scale urban developments that respond to a resurgent demand for dynamic city living.