Brooklyn Paper Op-Ed: First of all, the 370 Jay St. thing is big news

 

By Daniel Squadron

We’ve undergone a dramatic transformation in Downtown in recent years, revitalized by an ever-growing stream of businesses, residents, and visitors.

But one piece of the puzzle has been missing, as the former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay St. has stood nearly abandoned for years.

Since taking office, I and my colleagues Borough President Markowitz, Assemblywoman Joan Millman, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, and many others have called upon the MTA to put 370 Jay St. to use.

Yet it remained a blight on Downtown — an eyesore covered in scaffolding and graffiti, and a sign of stagnation rather than momentum as the community grew around it, and grew increasingly frustrated. Even as the MTA renovated the building’s adjacent subway stop, and even changed its name, 370 Jay St. remained nearly empty and in increasingly bad condition.

That is why last week’s announcement that the MTA, along with the Economic Development Corporation, are ready to actively seek uses for the building is a real game-changer for our community and for Downtown’s continued development.

Hopefully, 370 Jay will generate much-needed revenue for the city and the MTA. But it is a complicated property and the final dollars are still undetermined.

The agencies deserve real credit for working together on a solution, despite these ongoing questions.

Because, even more important, putting the building to use will bolster Downtown’s economy, finally taking advantage of a keystone property in the heart of the neighborhood. Moving forward with plans for 370 Jay St. will mean new jobs, new business, and a further revitalized downtown.

The MTA took a step in the right direction by including 370 Jay in its review of its properties. But now it must issue a request for proposals from developers within weeks to ensure that the building is taken out of mothballs as soon as possible.

Daniel Squadron, a Democrat, represents Brooklyn Heights in the state Senate.

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Publication date: 
Friday, October 7, 2011 - 00:00