Not Everything Is Better In Brooklyn
To hear politicians like City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, or council members Steve Levin and Letitia James tell it, Downtown Brooklyn is a critical hub of New York City’s blossoming tech industry. A vertex in the so-called “Tech Triangle,” along with Dumbo and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the area has been (or will soon be) blessed with $100,000 in study money, a new bus line, a master plan, grant programs, a new urban engineering school and an untold number of press releases.
Now it’s just missing one thing: the tech tenants. Besides MakerBot Industries, a 3D printing firm that recently took over a whole floor at Forest City Ratner’s 1 MetroTech, and Aereo, a hi-tech service to access lo-tech over-the-air TV that took up shop at 470 Vanderbilt Avenue (which straddles the border between Fort Greene and Clinton Hill), the area has few of the start-ups that the litter Manhattan neighborhoods like Union Square, the Flatiron District and Chelsea. Never mind the larger established firms like Google and Microsoft.
The Mysteries of Brooklyn
New York’s tech boom has been a boon for the city’s commercial real estate market, as well, especially unusual spaces not typically associated with Class-A office space—look no further than Google’s astronomical purchase of 111 Eighth Avenue and the swells in Midtown South.
Downtown Brooklyn is looking to capitalize on the growing demand for a certain type of office not typically found on the avenues while also providing a bridge to techies as they begin to mature and their needs evolve. A team of local business groups hopes to create the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. The idea is to tap into the successes of Dumbo (Silicon Beach!) and the Brooklyn Navy Yard (dozen of firms are on the wait-list to get in) to create a whole new alleyway for Silicon Alley that connects these hot hoods with the still somewhat dowdy (Shake Shack!)
“We’ve seen an explosion of tech gather along the waterfront,” Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, told The Observer, “so much so that they’ve run out of space.”