Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The (new) Downtown Brooklyn

I've been avoiding the changes that are taking place in Downtown Brooklyn, but this Daily News article was a bit too honest for me to pass up.
When they look to the nearby neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble hill, Boerum Hill and Fort Greene, they see growing affluence and a lucrative demographic. "The area clearly needs what I'll call more home furnishing stores," said Aaron Malinsky of P/a Associates, which is developing City Point, new retail shops replacing Albee Square at the Fulton Mall. "Many families are coming to the area," he added. "We want to cater to those people." The developers also want to attract higher fashion retailers, both national chains and boutiques, Malinsky said.
An updated Fulton Mall would give the newcomers a place to shop and eat, backers said. A planned, city-funded make-over of the streetscape - with streamlined signage, better lighting, new outdoor seating and bus shelters - is expected to help upscale customers feel more at home.

Wow, City Point acts as if nobody actually uses Fulton Mall, or rather that not the right people are frequenting the mall. While the writing has been on the wall for some time now, I really can't believe this is the future of Downtown Brooklyn. Although Fulton Mall might not have the things that I need, it clearly is vibrant and has more than enough shoppers.

So the real question is: why is it permissible to destroy an existing mall to create a new mall for a different set of residents? Why can't improvements be made to the mall while retaining most of the businesses that are currently there? While big retail is bound to come in, does this mean that the current merchants, who have made the mall what it is, will eventually be pushed out to new buildings and sky rocketing commercial rents? I really believe that Downtown Brooklyn has a unique flavor and that these changes are going to alter it for good. But don't take my word for it:

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