For a long time, Brooklyn, the fourth largest city in the U.S. with 2.5 million people, has labored in the shadow of Manhattan; often seen as the "other borough," far away from the hustle and bustle of Midtown.
But Downtown Brooklyn happens to be the city's third largest central business district, after Midtown and Lower Manhattan. While Manhattan developers concentrate their efforts on the few remaining parcels of undeveloped land on the island, others are crossing the river and sinking their dollars into Brooklyn soil. Since the first half of 2004, Brooklyn has been receiving more applications for construction permits than Manhattan. Many parts of Brooklyn are experiencing bona fide building booms, according to Christopher Thomas, a realtor with William B. May's Brooklyn office. "After a long period of watching new residential developments go up primarily in Manhattan, there's starting to be quite a bit of development locally in Brooklyn."
According to Rachaele Raynoff, press secretary for the New York City Department of City Planning, in the Greenpoint-Williamsburg area alone, more than 8,000 residential units are planned for the very near future.
"Our department changes zoning to catalyze development," says Raynoff. "We build in incentives to help create affordable housing. We're working not only on rentals, but also with the co-op and condo market in mind."
Residential properties are being developed with commercial help to enact the area's vision and needs, Raynoff continues. In Greenpoint-Williamsburg, for example, developers plan to create access to the waterfront, which currently doesn't exist.