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BrooklynBornThis blog started in my head when I listened in the 90's to friends who feared Brooklyn and newcomers who blogged about BK as if it barely existed before they arrived. Brooklyn as Tabula Rasa. My blog satisfies my need to hear and air feelings of B'klyn from the people whose life experience was born here. Also I hope to provide balance to some of the revisionist historical musings I've seen how Brooklyn and her residents used to be, we're still here. If we can all live as best possible while appreciating the past and neighbors we've inherited that would be great too.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Photo Wednesday: "What Recession?" Edition

According to recent news Chrysler and GM plan to drop a combined total 50,000 jobs this year so by comparison I guess we should be happy for people like those hearty construction workers who reach for the sky everyday in order to lift still going condo projects over our heads, like the development at 80 DeKalb pictured below.
80 DeKalb Feb09 *80 DeKalb Feb09

Say what you will about the Condo-virus, capitalism, the perils of navigating construction sites or what-have-you (and you know I usually do) none of that changes how surreal it is to watch buildings rapidly grow. From my vantage point up in the Brooklyn Born Aerie, I've watched a total of over 100 stories go up in five buildings in the last twelve months. I find it mesmerizing in a weird artificially organic way.

Forte Condos with 80 DeKalb rental development rising in the background
80 DeKalb development comes into view behind the Forte Condos

My trance starts to wear off when I think of the needs of the average working family to find an affordable and acceptable place for a family of three or four to live. It doesn't disparage the desire to build and sell condos to admit that the price point for many condos in otherwise middle-income areas leaves them vacant for long periods, even in a good economy while developers weight for buyers to help them turn a profit.

However 80DeKalb is a rental development, which thankfully was pointed out to me by Norman Oder of the Atlantic Yards Report, whose blog has much more detailed info on the developer (Forest City Ratner of Atlantic Yards infamy) and the specifics of the project much of which can be seen positively and negatively depending on your politics.

Case in point the quickly constructed "Forte" with it's 30 stories, 500k+ starting price, and already dingy outer walls, is visibly 50% unoccupied three years after completion. A fact you can see from nearby Fort Greene Park. (below)
Mostly Empty Forté
Many vacancies are visible in the Forte Condo building.

Watching the skyline change before my very eyes (often one floor per day) is nothing when you consider the video below presenting the plan for downtown Brooklyn in 2012 that barely has anything to do with the Atlantic Yards calamity. Many of these towers are under construction at this moment.

Maybe you've seen this video, maybe not, I think it's interesting to see the 2012 plan, appropriately narrated by "X-Men" super-villain "Magneto" (Sir Ian McKellen provides the v.o.) The 80 DeKalb building materializes into view at 1:00 of the video from the left side. Check it, pass it, and try and wager which of these giants will actually be completed...