The 2013 Downtown Brooklyn “Well Done” Awards

First up is the Barclays Center–from the shockingly improved traffic situation at Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues to the friendly staff, the Barclays success heralds much more to come for Brooklyn.

Almost all urban arenas are lit up like huge tacky artificial fireplaces–not this place. The gorgeous Cor-Ten type steel is a low-key presence compared to the garish arenas around our country.

Good food, good shows, diverse offerings and audiences, bring true Brooklyn-ness to this arena.

Hats off to Urban American Land for H&M, TJ Maxx, Sephora, Nordstrom Rack and Last Call Studio by Neiman Marcus–all a long time coming, involving complex deals and great results. Kudos to Muss Development for the patient, sensitive re-use of dead city-owned ground floor space at 345 Adams Street, bringing both popular food and kid-friendly space to Downtown Brooklyn (DTB). A true Downtown Brooklyn partnership.

SL Green’s unheralded, costly, complete turnaround of the neglected 16 Court Street set the stage for the improving landscape on Court Street, where even the absentee landlord JPDay is finally preparing spaces properly to show in the once-lovely Temple Bar Building (at 44 Court Street) on the heels of their welcome gut rehab of 186 Joralemon Street

Kushner & LIVWRK’s rescue of the Watchtower’s Sands & Prospect properties from the clutches of condo developers is gratefully received by the commercial community. A key link between DUMBO and DTB, the former printing buildings need to be mostly commercial, keeping the area vital. Step up tenants! We look forward to retail as well.

The residential development community’s embrace of the area’s many challenging sites may be the most significant step forward for DTB, bringing thousands of young and well-heeled residents to what was perceived for decades as a blighted area of Brooklyn. Finally, 40 years of tireless work by the Brooklyn Academy of Music has fostered our own theater district, with six legitimate theaters, an art house cinema (or two) and an arena–so far. And thanks to Red Sky and Pintchik for not taking the easy way out on their nearby retail.

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