New York City’s office-reliant market has taken a hard hit since the pandemic forced the majority of companies to an unexpected work-from-home scenario. Landlords have been facing headwinds in attracting and retaining tenants, while developers are rethinking their planned office assets. Brooklyn’s transformation since its 2004 rezoning was well underway when the global health crisis struck.
The borough’s office market, with a history of attracting mostly creative businesses and midsize tenants, has been faring relatively well. Between January and October 2021, three office properties totaling roughly 750,000 square feet broke ground, surpassing last year’s numbers and even pre-pandemic levels: in the same period in 2020, a single office property comprising 25,860 square feet commenced construction. In May, Savanna secured $264 million in construction financing for one of the borough’s largest ground-up office buildings to break ground in recent years. In mid-2021, the tallest office tower in downtown Brooklyn opened.
Medical office facilities gained popularity during the pandemic while adaptive reuse and renovation became more frequent. The table below highlights the largest office buildings completed in Brooklyn this year, based on CommercialEdge data. The list reflects the pandemic-related trends mentioned: two of the five largest projects were renovations, including the largest development: a ten-building industrial-to-office conversion.
|Rank||Project||Office SF||Owner||Completion Date|
|1||The Hall||673,958||RXR Realty||July 2021|
|2||1 Willoughby Square||423,746||JEMB Realty||June 2021|
|3||Maimonides Doctors Multispecialty Pavilion||150,000||Maimonides Medical Center||July 2021|
|4||1938 Coney Island Ave.||31,890||private owner||February 2021|
|5||2351 Bedford Ave.||26,600||private owner||July 2021|
5. 2351 Bedford Ave.
The first entry on our list is a two-story, 26,600-square-foot adaptive reuse project at the junction of Bedford and Tilden avenues. Privately owned, the two-story structure at 2351 Bedford Ave. was originally built in 1930 and converted from industrial to office this year.
The two-story structure rises on a 0.3-acre site between Little Caribbean, Little Haiti and Flatbush. The property is a block away from the Flatbush Avenue retail corridor. The renovation extended the building with the addition of a new, dark glass cube positioned at the corner of the two avenues. Under construction since 2016, the building’s transformation has been debated, with former possible outcomes including a retail center and a medical facility, according to Patch.
4. 1938 Coney Island Ave.
Completed in early 2021, 1938 Coney Island Ave. is a 36,810-square-foot office mid-rise within the southern Midwood neighborhood. The property is owned and developed by a private owner. In March 2020 the project received $3.8 million in construction financing from Patriot Bank.
Rising seven stories on a 0.2-acre site, the building offers floorplates which range between 4,550 and 6,800 square feet. Situated along the Coney Island Avenue commercial corridor, the building includes nearly 5,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.
3. Maimonides Doctors Multispecialty Pavilion
Maimonides Medical Center—the largest hospital in Brooklyn—completed the latest additions to its campus, a multispecialty pavilion at 4813 9th Ave. in Borough Park. The $110 million ambulatory care facility comprises 35 specialty and primary care practices and includes 160 exam and consultation rooms. The property has been under construction since 2015, according to public records.
Located between 48th and 49th streets, the 150,000-square-foot, seven-story ambulatory care facility includes two levels of underground parking. Gensler was the designer of the project and Americon HITT Construction handled construction management. Founded in 1911, Maimonides Medical Center offers 711 beds and was the first U.S. hospital where a heart transplant was performed.
2. 1 Willoughby Square
Downtown Brooklyn’s tallest tower dubbed 1 Willoughby Square officially opened in mid-June. Developed by JEMB Realty Corp., the 500,000-square-foot tower is the first ground-up office property to be completed in the area since the 2004 rezoning.
Back in July 2018, the project received $235 million in construction financing from Otera Capital. FXCollaborative was the architect behind the 34-story structure. The firm also secured a 40,000-square-foot lease within the building, relocating its premises from Manhattan. The first six floors are dedicated to a 300-seat public school belonging to the New York School Construction Authority, which pre-leased 87,000 square feet at the location.
1. The Hall
In July 2021, RXR Realty completed Brooklyn’s largest office property this year. The Hall is a 650,000-square-foot, ten-building adaptive reuse project, situated between DUMBO, Williamsburg and The Brooklyn Navy Yard. The full-block workplace campus restoration was designed by Marvel Architects, while Starwood Capital Group provided $163.6 million in construction financing.
Completed between 1890 and 1927, the structures range between 43,868 and 255,409 square feet. Some of the buildings were designed by internationally celebrated architect Louis Kahn. The campus was home to printing press producer the Mergenthaler Linotype Co., one of the biggest employers of the 20th century Brooklyn. Besides the renovation of the facades, the overhaul included infrastructure upgrades and the revitalization of outdoor spaces.