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Big Brooklyn Projects Are Delivering This Year

This is a year of high significance for Brooklyn. Several of 2017's most prominent projects will celebrate key milestones, and the borough is getting attention from institutional investors that just a couple of years ago would not have sniffed the East River.

325 Kent Ave. in the Domino Sugar development

One of Brooklyn's most high-profile and visible projects is the $1.5B redevelopment of the Domino Sugar factory, which will take several steps forward this year. In June, residents will begin to move into the first building in the complex, 325 Kent Ave., said Two Trees Management managing director Dave Lombino, a speaker at Bisnow's Brooklyn Hot Projects event later this month.

There are 105 affordable housing slots available in the 510-unit building, and when the application process for those apartments opened, Lombino said Two Trees received tens of thousands of applications. Market-rate leasing for the building will be opened in stages as work continues in the building through year's end.

The second new building in the complex should start construction in the next month or two, Lombino said, although it doesn't yet have construction financing. Because Two Trees uses its own equity for projects and has a track record developing in Brooklyn, the firm expects to be able to secure bank financing in the still-tight lending environment.


Two Trees has also signed 365 by Whole Foods to its 35-story 300 Ashland project in Fort Greene, to go along with its reported deal with Apple to open a retail space on the project's ground floor and a large cultural facility in partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Lombino said when Two Trees began designing and conceptualizing 300 Ashland back in 2009, it was doing so with Whole Foods in mind. It reached out to the grocer last year and brought the deal to fruition. Having Apple and Whole Foods as tenants in the same building is a retail lease-up any development firm would envy.

"Way back when we purchased the site in 2008, it was clear that it would be a very attractive retail destination," Lombino said. "It’s at the intersection of several thriving neighborhoods, Fort Greene, Park Slope, Boerum Hill and Downtown Brooklyn, and I think it has amazing access to mass transit, is a stone’s throw from both Atlantic Terminal and Barclays Center."

Building 77 at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Down the waterfront, Brooklyn Navy Yard is getting ready to deliver Building 77 later this year as well. Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corp. CEO David Ehrenberg said, despite losing Brooklyn Brewery's commitment to open on the building's ground floor, the move is a win for everyone.

"We’re a not-for-profit focusing on creating good, middle-class jobs, so the fact that they’re staying in Williamsburg is, in our minds, a great outcome," Ehrenberg said. "That may sound weird for a landlord, but it’s a great outcome in the city."

When BNYDC sent out its initial RFP for Building 77's ground floor, Ehrenberg said it received 85 applications for six spaces. He said the not-for-profit is getting ready to bring the space back to market, but he expects it to be leased back up quickly. The leasing momentum isn't slowing; Lafayette 148 committed earlier this week to lease 68k SF of offices on the building's top floor.

While the Navy Yard and Domino Sugar are bringing more activity near the East River, City Point in Downtown Brooklyn celebrated its first retail openings last year, its Target opened this weekend and Trader Joe's will be opening later this year. 

All three projects will be discussed at Brooklyn's Hottest Projects & Neighborhoods at The Liberty Warehouse on Feb. 16.