State to Collaborate with NYC Regional Economic Development Council to Revitalize Downtown Brooklyn
Part of Governor’s Comprehensive Approach to Transform Communities into Vibrant Neighborhoods and Boost Local Economies
Downtown Revitalization Investments Are Crucial Part of New York City Region’s Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that Downtown Brooklyn will receive $10 million in funding as the New York City winner of the third round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. As in the first two rounds of the DRI, one municipality from each of the state’s 10 regional economic development regions is selected as a $10 million winner, marking another overall state goal to target $100 million in funding and investments to help communities boost their economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise a family.
“As the borough’s central hub for business, entertainment and the arts, Downtown Brooklyn is becoming an ideal destination for young professionals and families to call home,” Governor Cuomo said. “This $10 million investment will connect cultural hubs to surrounding neighborhoods and further expand job and economic opportunities in the region, creating a stronger, more viable Brooklyn for generations to come.”
“Everywhere you look, you can see the success of state investment around Downtown Brooklyn,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today’s announcement. “From the Brooklyn Navy Yard, to the Tech Triangle, and the Waterfront Greenway, New York State has invested in innovation and smart growth development to bring new businesses and good paying jobs all over Brooklyn. Continuing with $10 million from the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we continue to empower local stakeholders in the community and make the local economy thrive for decades to come.”
Downtown Brooklyn is the borough’s central business district, as well as its civic, cultural, transit and employment hub. With more than 12,000 residential units, 20 million square feet of occupied offices, 11 higher education institutions, and new retail and entertainment destinations, the area has been transformed into a 24/7 community. Downtown Brooklyn has become an urban center for the information technology, arts, and entertainment industries. To reap the full benefits of Downtown Brooklyn’s recent economic growth, the DRI effort will spur investment in much needed critical infrastructure in the Downtown core to create welcoming and safe connections to key assets, ensure equitable and accessible future growth, and improve wellbeing and job opportunities in traditionally underserved communities. Jumpstarted by the DRI investment, Downtown Brooklyn will improve the public realm and physical connections to the neighborhoods by extending educational and entrepreneurial opportunities and linking cultural hubs of the Downtown core, the Brooklyn Cultural Districts, DUMBO, and surrounding communities.
The New York City Regional Economic Development Council went through a competitive review process of proposals from communities throughout the region and considered all eight criteria below before recommending Downtown Brooklyn as its nominee for winner:
- The downtown should be compact, with well-defined boundaries;
- The municipality, or the downtown’s catchment area, should be of sufficient size to support a vibrant, year-round downtown;
- The downtown is able to capitalize on prior or catalyze future private and public investment in the neighborhood and its surrounding areas;
- There should be recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers to the downtown, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable;
- The downtown must be an attractive and livable community for diverse populations of all ages, including existing residents, millennials and skilled workers;
- The municipality should already embrace or have the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes and parking standards, complete streets plans, energy efficient projects, green jobs, and transit-oriented development;
- The municipality should have conducted an open and robust community engagement process resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives that may be included in a DRI strategic investment plan; and
- The municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for implementation with an infusion of DRI funds within the first one to two years.
Downtown Brooklyn’s third round DRI win entitles it to receive $10 million in state funding and investments to revitalize its downtown neighborhoods and generate new opportunities for long-term growth. Brooklyn now joins Jamaica and the Bronx, which were the New York City region’s winners in the first and second DRI rounds, respectively.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “The strategic investments from this $10 million award will support projects that create a more vibrant and economically inclusive Downtown Brooklyn, which will benefit all residents. By supporting key infrastructure improvements, encouraging entrepreneurialism and expanding access to important resources, we’re going to help Downtown Brooklyn attract new businesses and generate new economic opportunities throughout the community.”
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “I congratulate the Downtown Brooklyn leaders for this wonderful achievement, which will bring renewed economic opportunity and vitality to the community. Governor Cuomo’s dedication to Brooklyn is evident smart investments like this that will deliver great things for generations to come.”
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said,“Through Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, these community-led, targeted investments will combine with HCR’s $1.96 billion investment in Brooklyn over the last seven years that has created affordable housing for about 39,200 residents to help ensure that as Downtown Brooklyn’s economy grows, all New Yorkers have the opportunity to take part. In New York State, we are lucky to have a Governor who understands how to build inclusive, long-term economic success.”
Senator Velmanette Montgomery said, “Downtown Brooklyn will greatly benefit from Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. This award will deliver strategic investment to projects that will have a lasting positive impact on the entire borough and beyond.”
Assemblymember Joseph R. Lentol said, “I applaud the selection of Downtown Brooklyn as the winner of the third round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The DRI will fund projects that have the greatest positive impact on the borough and welcome the next generation of residents and businesses.”
Assemblymember Walter T. Mosley said, “This is a great day for Downtown Brooklyn, and an even greater future. Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative will deliver the right type of investment to heighten what makes our community unique and transform it into a thriving place to live and work. We are honored to see the community and economic benefits and look forward to seeing the results come to life.”
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon said, “I applaud the selection of Downtown Brooklyn as the winner of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which will fund important projects throughout the community that will support a prosperous future for residents, businesses and visitors. I look forward to rigorous community engagement regarding the use of these funds to ensure Downtown Brooklyn area residents get what they want and need out of this process.”
New York City Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Cheryl A. Moore, President & COO of the New York Genome Center, and Winston Fisher, Partner of Fisher Brothers, said, “We are proud that Downtown Brooklyn is the latest recipient of economy-boosting Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding. The diverse neighborhood’s rapid growth to an essential New York City district where business, government, retail and the arts come together will be fostered through this strategic investment and we look forward to seeing further economic growth and job creation there.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams said, “I thank Governor Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Hochul, and the New York City Regional Economic Development Council for awarding our proposal for Downtown Brooklyn with $10 million of Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds. This funding will help advance a vision that has been more than a decade in the making, and it will further community dialogue to identify the most meaningful infrastructure investments that help make our shared vision of the Brooklyn Strand into a reality. I look forward to working with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and DUMBO BID, my partners on this proposal, as well as local elected officials and community stakeholders on developing a strategic plan for this State funding, focused on improving the livability and connectivity of our borough’s downtown core.”
New York City Council Member Laurie A. Cumbo said, “As home to some of the best arts, cultural and entertainment destinations in the State, Downtown Brooklyn is an ideal location for future generations of New Yorkers to call home. This investment will connect previously underserved neighborhoods to increased economic and job opportunities, improving the well-being of these residents and encouraging new residents to relocate to Downtown Brooklyn. We are honored that this deserving community has been awarded funding that will have an enormous positive impact on the entire borough.”
New York City Council Member Stephen T. Levin said, “With this $10 million investment, we are attracting new businesses and residents to an already thriving Downtown Brooklyn Community. These targeted investments will expand educational and business opportunities across the entire borough and connect neighborhoods to key cultural destinations, making a real difference in the lives of so many deserving residents. I thank Governor Cuomo for this investment in our community.”
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Regina Myer said, “It’s incredibly gratifying that the State recognizes the Brooklyn Strand’s promise and potential to connect Downtown Brooklyn residents with jobs and to help create a public realm worthy of the significant public and private investments made in Downtown Brooklyn over the past decade. This Downtown Revitalization Initiative award will allow us to leverage the extensive groundwork done on the Strand and bring tangible change to the neighborhood. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Hochul, and the Regional Economic Council for helping advance this grand vision. We look forward to working with Borough President Adams, Dumbo Improvement District, and our strong base of community stakeholders to identify the best use of these resources and to creating an even greater Downtown.”
Alexandria Sica, Executive Director of the DUMBO Business Improvement District, said, “This is fantastic news. We’ve got so many exciting, innovative companies, world class universities and culture. Making easier, more walkable connections from Dumbo to Downtown Brooklyn will bring it all together, creating a powerhouse commercial district for the city that is accessible to all. Imagine working at Etsy in Dumbo, walking up to NYU to take a class in Downtown Brooklyn and heading back home near the Navy Yard. That opportunity is powerful and this grant will help make it possible for thousands of New Yorkers. We are so grateful that the State believes is this vision and can’t wait to get started.”
Brooklyn will now begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders will lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for Downtown Brooklyn will examine local assets and opportunities and identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The Downtown Brooklyn Strategic Investment Plan will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that will advance the community’s vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state’s $10 million investment. Plans for the DRI’s third round will be complete in 2019.
For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, go to: www.ny.gov/programs/downtown-revitalization-initiative.
Photo credit by www.ny.gov