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Housing and Arts Complex to Replace Parking Lot In Downtown Brooklyn

By Janet Upadhye | December 4, 2012 3:14pm

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The last bit of city-owned land in the Downtown Brooklyn area is about to get a major makeover.

A 47,000-square-foot parking lot bordered by Fulton Street, Rockwell Place and Ashland Place on the edge of Fort Greene will soon be home to a public plaza and new cultural space for Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Public Library and 651 ARTS.

An additional 600 new apartments, half of which will be affordable housing, are also planned for the lot.

“Downtown Brooklyn has very quickly become one of the City’s most vibrant cultural destinations and an exciting place to live,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a statement. “These projects — which will bring more affordable housing and community space to the neighborhood — are more proof of the confidence that the real estate industry has in New York City and in downtown Brooklyn.”

The centerpiece of the development is a 32-story mixed use building where Fort Greene’s growing art scene will have room to expand. The project's developer is Two Trees Management; it was designed by Enrique Norten of Ten Arquitectos.

The new building will give BAM room for its growing audiences and space to make the Hamm Archives Center resources — which include records from BAM’s long and artful history — available to the public.

The Brooklyn Public Library will open a new “technology-rich branch” and the arts group 651 ARTS plans to build state-of-the-art studios for local artists to rehearse and perform their work.

“651 ARTS is excited for the opportunity to expand its presence in the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District and to collaborate and support local cultural organizations with a space to create, develop and showcase new works,” said Shay Wafer, Executive Director of 651 ARTS, in a press release.

And in a neighborhood where rents are rising each month, officials hailed the availability of new housing for lower income residents. 

“The creation of much-needed affordable housing will help to ensure that this growing cultural hub and dynamic neighborhood will continue to be accessible to all New Yorkers,” said Jed Walentas, a principal at Two Trees Management.