Muss Leans Commercial

An important building site in downtown Brooklyn that The Observer reported in January was leaning primarily residential is now leaning commercial. Cushman & Wakefield Executive Director Glenn Markman, who is brokering the site for developer Joshua Muss, told us that 75 percent of it would be devoted to offices.

“The message here is that there are a lot of residential projects on the board,” he said. “But how many sites out there are focused on what’s going to become a huge demand for office space? Manhattan is running out of office space. The big blocks of space that will be left, there will be huge premiums associated with them.”

And the site, on Boerum Place between Livingston Street and the Fulton Street Mall, has lots of large blocks of space, with 850,000 square feet of potential development rights. It was one of just six projected sites that the Bloomberg administration identified in a 2004 rezoning to transform downtown Brooklyn into a Class A office district.

It turns out (we didn’t know this in January) that when the city Economic Development Corporation designated Muss to acquire the city-owned parcels that make up part of the site last July, the agency said he could devote only 250,000 square feet to residential. The rest can be for retail, office or community uses (the latter most likely for neighboring Brooklyn Law School).

But the final mix is far from definite and no tenants have been announced .

“”Both Muss and the E.D.C. are interested in doing a commercial building,” said Muss spokesman David Stearns. “They are still in discussions with the E.D.C. and nothing more has been is determined.”

-Matthew Schuerman