Land Rush: Developers Seeking Brooklyn Over Manhattan


The $300-per-foot price being paid for the 1.2 million-square-foot Watchtower Property at the back entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge is a startling number for nonresidential footage.

Zoned for commercial usage, aside from the modern tower on Jay Street, the Watchtower’s former printing and warehouse buildings lend themselves to creative office use for major tenants seeking the Dumbo cachet. They are said to be quite popular right now, lending great credence to the anticipated Tech Triangle takeoff.

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Brooklyn’s popularity, combined with the soaring prices for Manhattan development sites, has led to a land rush unprecedented in our history. There aren’t enough opportunities for the money that wants to park and lock here, driving prices to new highs.

The Brooklyn Bowl district, the manufacturing-zoned blocks around the borough’s best music hall, is the hottest landing zone in Brooklyn, with values well above the Watchtower deal. One- and two-story sites on Wythe Avenue are the objects of desire.  

Sunset Park, an up-and-coming area now enlivened by the Salmar and Jamestown investments, is receiving new attention, as is the Crown Heights industrial area around 1000 Dean Street. The former contains many large properties needing renovation, and the latter has multiple small sites under offer, with a few large assemblages under way.

Residential real estate, long the belle of the ball, now has a competitor for attention called commercial gentrification.