North Brooklyn sees dearth of commercial space

Critics say neighborhoods in danger of becoming bedroom communities
January 21, 2013 01:00PM

With residential rents in north Brooklyn climbing, developers are reluctant to build or redevelop properties for use as office spaces, the New York Times reported. And that has some worried that the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods aren’t nurturing enough diversity to remain vibrant, the Times said. While fundraising platform is building a headquarters in Greenpoint, there is a dearth of commercial space throughout north Brooklyn. And that is forcing many young, image-conscious companies to opt for Dumbo or Lower Manhattan after searching in vain for space, Drew Conner, a broker with commercial firm Cushman & Wakefield, told the Times.

While Kickstarter has funds to dedicate to revamping an industrial space, many start-ups don’t have the capital or time to undertake such projects, brokers told the Times. As a result, the diversity of north Brooklyn has suffered, with some scared it is on its way to becoming a “bedroom community.”

But with the zoning favoring residential development and demand for housing as high as ever, the financial calculus for developing commercial space just isn’t favorable. “The retail market’s been incredibly strong, the residential market’s been incredibly strong, so unless the site is restricted from doing residential, it’s not a good economic deal to build an office building,” Jeremiah Kane, a senior adviser to Rubenstein Partners, a commercial real estate investment firm, told the Times. [NYT]