2. Brooklyn Suggests Downtown Retail Market Is Viable

In 2015, Unity Plaza and 220 Riverside opened with 17,053-square-feet of restaurant space and great fanfare. By May 2018, all of its original tenants had closed. To the average naysayer, this would serve as proof that retail is not viable in the downtown area. However, don’t make the mistake of using the bad design of one property as a statement on the health or potential of downtown’s retail sector. Right across the street, anchored by Fresh Market, Brooklyn Station is averaging sales numbers on par with Regency shopping centers in virtually every other submarket in the city. The combination of a centralized urban core location and direct highway access to Interstates 95 and 10 directly contribute to this expanded trade area with a daytime population of 202,987 and overall population of 78,795 within a three mile radius.

Others are now paying attention. Between the Vista Brooklyn and Brooklyn Place developments, an additional 26,500-square-feet of retail and dining space will be under construction in 2019. Expect to see a couple of popular nationally known chains expand into the Brooklyn neighborhood as a result.

1. Downtown Gets A New Office Tower

The JEA wants a new 200,000-square-foot utility headquarters that will accommodate 836 employees. Six bids from groups seeking to build a new office building tailored to the JEA’s needs were recently submitted. All are in or near downtown. A development group could be selected as early as next month. If things proceed with no hiccups, by the end of the year, construction could be underway on Downtown’s first new office tower in over a decade.

Editorial by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com