Updated 08/15/2011 10:03 PM
Brooklyn Municipal Building Developer Announced
Mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced Monday the developer that will turn 50,000-square-feet of Brooklyn's iconic Municipal Building into commercial space in a move that's drawing some criticism from a local councilmember. NY1’s Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
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Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the picking of the developer for almost 50,000 square-feet of retail space in the city-owned Brooklyn Municipal Building.
The company, United American Land, is buying the portion of the old building for $10 million.
"This space is just an awesome space. The location is phenomenal. You can’t get a better location. The location and the building will sell itself,” said developer Albert Laboz.
It will house a moderately priced restaurant with nightlife as well as a home furnishing store among other retailers. Residents will still be able to get marriage licenses and perform other civic necessities in the same building.
"Things were built in a different era, sometimes they're inadequate, sometimes they're excessive. You just have to keep looking at everything and questioning," said Bloomberg.
It's all part of the mayor’s effort to reduce the size of government. Its office space footprint will be cut down by more than one million square-feet by 2014, saving the city $36 million per year.
In this case, they’re redeveloping underused property.
One elected leader said Bloomberg's Brooklyn development plans intentionally neglect those who need it most.
"Enough is enough. They are basically trying to attract or cater to high-end wage earners," said Brooklyn Councilwoman Letita James.
James said there is no development in other parts of Brooklyn, including Bedford Stuyvesant, Brownsville, East New York and Crown Heights.
“You have high rates of violence. One out of four constituents in the borough of Brooklyn are unemployed. The question is what about the rest of Brooklyn? At this point in time I say to the mayor of New York it's not just benign neglect, it's intentional neglect of communities who need it most," said James.
But Bloomberg said during the news conference that this project is just part of his overall attempt to help the entire borough.
"We're trying to make sure there are jobs and stores for everyone throughout Brooklyn. The good news is Brooklyn is thriving. If it wasn't thriving, there wouldn't be jobs for lots of people," said Bloomberg.
He added that this deal will bring 114 permanent positions and 64 full time construction jobs.
Work is scheduled to begin next year.