We’ve gone over the horrors of the possibilities of the Bushwick mall, but apparently the mid outrage of one humble blogger isn’t enough to stop the suburbinization of Brooklyn. The evidence? Brownstoner (via the Wall Street Journal and their paywall) alerts us to the fact that developer Heritage Equities just bought up the entire block between Wythe and Kent Avenues and North 13th and 14th Streets. And while ugly condos wouldn’t have been ideal, the plan that they’ve laid out sounds even less appealing: a Chealsea Market (read: glorified mall)-like structure and even better, a big box store!
We don’t want to hate this with a kneejerk reaction, but there just isn’t much to look forward to. For one, it’s never a good sign when the people who just bought a huge swath of land in the city say that “parking will be a big element.” The BQE is already backed up all the time, everywhere, we can’t imagine it getting any better by encouraging people to drive out to a mall. Nor does that sound like a safe thing to plop down right next to a vital biking corridor.
And is this really the best use of commercial property? The Times just did a story on how the real estate crunch in north Brooklyn is hurting start ups, and then days later an entire city block gets bought up, for use as a massive ho-hum blob. Like our sadness over Coney Island’s changes, the issue isn’t so much that real estate forces more powerful than we can imagine are making landfall on places we like. It’s that when they do, they pick the lowest common denominator forms of property to build with. Williamsburg could use a startup hub, or it could use development that breaks up monolithic warehouse blocks into smaller ones. What it doesn’t need is parking lots and mall, something you can find in every suburb across America.