The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership’s “master lessee” program aims to snag 10,000 square feet of unused space to reduce the nabe’s office space shortage and draw start-up companies to the area.
The program, which will pay landlords to convert space above store fronts into office space to be sublet to start-ups, has approached six different building owners around the Fulton Mall over the past several weeks and drawn a mixed response. Some are less than keen to hand over swaths of their retail space, while others feel the approach could draw both a new income and a mix of younger workers.
Downtown Brooklyn’s office vacancy rate, at 7.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013, was even lower than Midtown South’s 10.4 percent rate.
“We get calls from firms every week looking to locate in Downtown Brooklyn,” Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, told the Wall Street Journal. “We’re hoping it gives the landlords confidence to go out and do it themselves,” he said of the program, which is backed by a $1.43 million New York City Economic Development Corporation grant.