Creating a New Central Business
District in Brooklyn
Breaking ground for "Atlantic Center" in downtown Brooklyn signals the physical start of one of New York City's most ambitious construction projects. Costing approximately $500 million, the mixed-use development will eventually comprise up to 3 million square feet of commercial space clustered in four office towers, over 100,000 square feet of ground-level retail establishments, 643 moderate‐ income, owner-occupied residential townhouse units, and a new public park. The project will be located on more than twenty-four acres of land.
The groundbreaking signals an even more historic event—the renaissance of downtown Brooklyn and the physical extension of the country's largest business district, Manhattan, across the East River and into the city's boroughs. As recently as 1980, large-scale office construction outside Manhattan in New York City was inconceivable. But by late 1986, over 10 million square feet of office space had been planned for construction in Brooklyn alone, and Citibank had already begun work on a 1.2 million square foot tower in Long Island City, Queens. The public‐ private partnership mechanism stood at the heart of this dramatic development. Shared risks and opportunities brought government and business together for the benefit of all.
The borough of Brooklyn, with its 2,230,936 residents, emerged from New York City's mid-1970s fiscal crisis and the national recession of the early 1980s in a state of economic disarray. It had suffered a substantial loss of manufacturing jobs. At the same time, the vigorous growth of New York's service industry had become an economic dynamo, fueling the expansion of the financial services, insurance, and real estate sectors. The job growth and real estate boom associated with this