Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Free Rooms With a View: Atlantic Ave. Jail Expansion Update

There was a meeting between community members and the Commissioner of City Corrections at Boro Hall yesterday to discuss details of the reopening and doubling in size of the Brooklyn Detention Center at Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street. Apparently, details will be released publicly next week. The writer of the email says:
The DOC has dangled before us the illusion of obeisant cooperation and transparency, going so far as to entertain (as a swap for expansion approval) retail uses on the ground (street) floor of this property, most particularly on Atlantic Avenue. With others, including AABA [Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association] I am opposed to expansion for any reason, even with the lure of retail as a sweetener....

In summary, matching location with commercial success requires a good bit of luck, not to mention perfectly tuned location for the use. It is true that we are in the midst of a major retuning of tastes and preferences. Speaking as an optimist and the owner of more than a few retail businesses and landlord of businesses over the years in this area, my instincts are ringing alarms of warning at the prospect of commercial success in this property. Who might want to occupy such a space? A major space user like a supermarket? Not. The block is in the vortex of major traffic volume, with deliveries virtually impossible. Enough commercial space exists, even with the foreseeable growth in our area, for likely needs...

We in downtown Brooklyn have had more than our fair share of overselling of proposed public uses (Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn Bridge Park, among others) with frequent failures of promised performance.
Can't wait to see the details, and the reaction, next week. Maybe Trader Joe's wants the retail space?

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