Just across the Manhattan bridge, downtown Brooklyn is bustling with shoppers running from store to store, and stores there are a plenty! That’s why it’s a little confusing to us that the city of New York has just delegated 20 million dollars in stimulus funds to jump-start the building of the LEED Certified Citypoint Mall. The mall is the first phase of a larger construction project to take place on the site of the old Albee Mall — demolished in 2007 — and is part of the city’s efforts to make-over downtown Brooklyn. Call us crazy, but it’s a little odd to build a green building in order to sell more presumably not-green stuff. Especially in an area awash in retail spots already.
The project also includes a future office building, an apartment complex, and a small green space at Willoughby Street. We’re confident the building will feature some significant sustainable features as the developers, Cook + Fox have projects such as the Bank of America Tower under their belts. Still, as deep as our excitement runs for LEED certified buildings, part of being green is only creating what you need. If you’ve been in Downtown Brooklyn lately you’d have noticed the plethora of empty spaces there, including unoccupied luxury housing, desolate office space and empty retail fronts. So why the new building if we can’t fill what’s already there? Plenty of people in Brooklyn seem to be dumbfounded.
If Inhabitat had a say in this development we’d elect to have that “small green space” at Willoughby Street turned into a large green park covering the whole of the empty property. Downtown Brooklyn, while stuffed with retail stores, is sorely lacking trees and vegetation. Instead of spending stimulus money to create more commercial space, we could use that money to give people a constructive and healthy place to gather outside. For now we’ll remain perturbed about this project, though we still applaud other recent New York City projects that have caught our eye and earned our appreciation.