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July 26, 2012


DiNapoli: Downtown Brooklyn Economy On The Move

Private sector employment and wages grew at a higher rate in greater downtown Brooklyn than the rest of New York City between 2003 and 2010, according to a report released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The report was released today at a joint press conference with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, which announced its strategic plan for the area at the event.

“With robust job growth, economic development initiatives and classic Brooklyn spirit, downtown Brooklyn has become a magnet for New York City,” DiNapoli said. “Over the past two decades, downtown Brooklyn has been revitalized.  With arts, technology and business concentrated in this area, good things are on the horizon.  Downtown Brooklyn is a success story and an example of how the public and private sector can work together to achieve great results.”

Private sector employment in the greater downtown Brooklyn area rose by 18.3 percent between 2003 and 2010, the last year that data is available.  Greater downtown Brooklyn accounted for 17 percent of all private sector jobs in Brooklyn. The area’s median household income rose by 40 percent since 2005 to $71,790 in 2010.  

The greater downtown Brooklyn area, which includes Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO/Vinegar Hill, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Boerum Hill and downtown Brooklyn, has the largest business district in New York City outside of Manhattan. In 2010, business, finance and education accounted for nearly one-third of the jobs in the area.

The health care and social assistance sector was the largest employer in greater downtown Brooklyn, accounting for nearly one-third of private employment (24,140 jobs). Educational services, the second-largest sector, grew by 23 percent between 2003 and 2010. Leisure and hospitality was the fastest growing sector, increasing by 54 percent during this period.

Between 2003 and 2009, the number of businesses in the area grew by 12.4 percent, with growth concentrated in hotels and restaurants, business services and retail trade. More than three-quarters of all businesses employed fewer than ten people in 2009. Private sector wages in greater downtown Brooklyn were $3.7 billion in 2010.  Wages grew by 48 percent in the area
between 2003 and 2010, a higher rate than the rest of Brooklyn (29.4 percent) and the rest of New York City (38.2 percent).  

Arts and cultural organizations play a significant role in the area, with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) anchoring the BAM Cultural District. The 21 organizations that responded to a recent survey by the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance reported 1,165 workers with an annual payroll of $36.2 million in 2010. Several new buildings have been built, renovated or are under construction in the area, including BAM’s Richard B. Fisher Building, a new home for Theatre for a New Audience, and 80 Arts. For more information on Arts and Cultural Organizations in the greater downtown Brooklyn area, click here.

Eleven colleges, universities and trade schools are located in the greater downtown Brooklyn area. The Polytechnic Institute of New York University, which is located in the area, and New York University have agreed to transform the New York City Transit Authority’s former headquarters at 370 Jay Street into the Center for Urban Science and Progress to support the city’s growing high technology industry.  The Brooklyn Tech Triangle, from DUMBO to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to downtown Brooklyn, is home to more than 500 high-tech firms.

Tourists and city residents alike come to the greater downtown Brooklyn area to visit the Fulton Mall, the Atlantic Center Mall and Atlantic Terminal Mall and other retail hubs.  Additionally, the 85-acre Brooklyn Bridge Park, running from north of the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue, draws thousands to the borough’s edge.

Major economic development plans are also underway, most notably Atlantic Yards, a 22-acre mixed-use project that is home to the 675,000-square-foot, 18,000 seat Barclays Center set to open on September 28, 2012. The City Point project adjacent to the southeast end of the Fulton Mall will house the first new department store on the Fulton Mall in many decades when it opens in 2015.  Steiner Studios, located at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, opened five new soundstages in March 2012, increasing the studio’s size to 355,000 square feet. The studio is continuing to expand, with a planned conversion of a nearby 235,000 square foot building into soundstages and other production facilities.


Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz:

“Bravo to State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership for confirming in their respective reports that Downtown Brooklyn is one of the most vibrant, booming and exciting neighborhoods in New York City—and America! Everywhere you look, things are looking up for our Downtown, which has been transformed into a 24/7 live, work, play and learning city center. From colleges to cultural institutions, residents to retailers, attorneys to artists, the Nets to nurses to hi-tech startups, everyone wants to be in Downtown Brooklyn.”

Downtown Brooklyn Partnership President Tucker Reed:

“Comptroller DiNapoli's report gives quantitative validation that Downtown Brooklyn is the hottest neighborhood in the borough, and the fastest growing and strongest economy of any downtown in the state and the nation.  We have businesses expanding led by the booming tech sector, impressive job growth, world-class culture and entertainment, and 20,000 more college students than just five years ago.  All of the redevelopment activity that has occurred here up to now – made possible by major public investments that leveraged private commitments to the area – has created a foundation for the future of Downtown Brooklyn."

Brooklyn Academy of Music President Karen Brooks Hopkins:

"The energy in Downtown Brooklyn is a metaphor for 21st century New York City. The community is young, creative, diverse and very entrepreneurial. We’re thrilled that BAM and the BAM Cultural District have played a significant role in driving a positive economy for the neighborhood, and also pleased that the State Comptroller has taken note of these wonderful developments."

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