Fort Greene cultural projects press on

February 08, 2010 10:08AM

More than $100 million worth of cultural and public projects are slated to break ground in the area surrounding the Brooklyn Academy of Music, marking the dawn of Fort Greene’s new cultural district after years of delays. Among the six projects planned are the new $56.5 million, 27,500-square-foot Theatre for a New Audience building, which last month received approval for funding that will allow it to break ground in December; a $24 million renovation of the Strand Theater, which will begin at the end of this summer; and a new $6 million park. BAM is also getting a new exhibition space: this week, the academy is expected to close on a 4,000-square-foot retail lease on the ground floor of the Forté condos. Planning for a cultural district in the area began over a decade ago, and the city took the helm in 2006 after a series of setbacks, though the delays did not stop there. In 2007, the Brooklyn Public Library reneged on a plan to build a Visual and Performing Arts Library and in April, the beleaguered real estate market put the planned Brooklyn Arts Tower, a residential and cultural center, on hold. Still, project officials remain optimistic, despite the continued building slump and the city’s budget deficit, and assert that funding has been secured for Fort Greene projects. “There is renewed momentum now,” said Karen Brooks Hopkins, president of BAM. [Crain’s]