Downtown Brooklyn's 2004 rezoning was meant to encourage both residential and commercial development, but most developers opted for the former. After all, there's a lot more money to be made in luxury rentals and high-rise condos. But the result is a commercial district running really low on office space. According to the Journal, the area's office vacancy rate sank to 7.8 percent in Q2 2013, down from 12.4 percent during the same period last year. The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is trying to create new office space by working with landlords on and around the Fulton Mall, where many two- and three-story buildings have empty upper floors. The partnership wants to lease these vacant floors, renovate them, and then sublease them to start-up companies. The plan is
similar, but unrelated to, an initiative part of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Strategic Plan.
Tucker Reed, the president of the partnership, told the Journal, the initiative is two-fold: to create new office space and "show landlords that it's worth the trouble" to convert these empty spaces. "We're hoping it gives the landlords confidence to go out and do it themselves," said Reed. The program is funded by a $1.43 million grant from the city's Economic Development Corporation, and the partnership has approached about half a dozen building owners, including the landlord of 446 Fulton Street, where Kay Jewelers is located. The two parties are currently negotiating a deal to convert the 5,000-square-feet of empty space on the building's upper three floors.
UPDATE: A previous version of this story reported that the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership's plan was not part of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Strategic Plan when it fact it is. Curbed regrets the error.
· Looking Up in Brooklyn [WSJ]