When the city rezoned Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn in 2005, it tried to nudge retail development onto Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn, via the natural selection. Developers built huge residential towers, but the street wall remained blank, empty of retail, a blight for pedestrians. The Department of City Planning is revising its plans for the strip, hoping to ensure any future development will be better, but Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, as is his wont, wants more.
The city’s plan—submitted in late June of this year —demands that half of ground floor space in all new buildings be given over to retail. Indeed, those nice condo’s like Novo and Crest, would certainly be complemented by the reflected glow that nice shiny, post-modern retail stores can give.
The patch originally earmarked was Atlantic Avenue to 24th Street, Park Slope. Markowitz’ objective is extend that from Atlantic Avenue to the Atlantic Ocean in Bay Ridge.
“By guaranteeing more retail—and requiring developers to incorporate enhanced streetscapes and landscaping with each new project, we are bringing together all of the elements needed to make Fourth Avenue what it was always intended to be: a majestic, user-friendly, economically viable and safe thoroughfare for all brooklynites, new yorkers, and visitors to enjoy,” Mr. Markowitz told the City Council in testimony yesterday at a meeting of the zoning committee.
He applauded the plans to require retail, but he also wants prohibitions against certain types of retails, such as technical schools and mental and dental labs. “wW believe these uses don’t lend themselves to a lively and engaging environment—and are not necessarily even pedestrian-friendly,” Mr. Markowitz said. The planning department said such requirements would be onerous for property owners, but the borough president hopes to sway the council, which has the final say over the project and will vote later this month.
Fourth Avenue residents are accustomed to the drone of traffic that graces its corridor. If the latest plans to “jazz up” the avenue transpire, Mr. Markowitz hopes the sound of tires can be intermingled with that of clinking tills.