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Marty: ‘We must build’-Borough president urges high-end shopping corridor

Forget the recession, Brooklyn’s going high end.

Borough President Marty Markowitz is calling for an upscale shopping corridor centered around Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn.

“We must build–and the city must lead the way. In fact, I am calling on the New York City Department of Finance to commit to move out of the Municipal Building at 210 Joralemon Street and be an anchor tenant in the dazzling, Class A office space at City Point, scheduled to rise on Flatbush and DeKalb, right alongside Junior’s,” said Markowitz in his annual State of the Borough address delivered Thursday at Kingsborough Community College.

“We can open up that corner of Joralemon and Court Streets for major retail–solidifying Court Street as a bona fide New York City shopping destination. Which stores would thrive there? How about Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom Rack, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th? It’s all possible,” he added.

A DOF spokesperson did not return phone calls at press time about the possible move, which would also have to wait until the planned City Point Tower project gets built.

City Point is on the former Albee Square Mall site, and is proposed to be rise as high as 65 stories including a mix of affordable and market-rate rental housing, 520,000 square feet of retail space and 360,000 square feet of office space.

Last December, the project’s lead developer, McFarlane Realty Corp, applied to the city’s Housing Development Corporation for $400 million in tax-exempt bonds for the project.

Joe Chan, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Development Corporation, welcomed the suggested DOF move, calling it a win-win-win situation for the agency, the public and the developer alike.

Separately, Markowitz acknowledged that there have been too many supermarket closures in many Brooklyn neighborhoods, and promised to prioritize the issue.

“We are bringing commercial landlords together with owners of supermarket chains to get supermarkets into underserved areas. This is yet another way that a healthier Brooklyn can mean a healthier Brooklyn economy,” said Markowitz.

“On that note, through my Healthy Food Campaign, my office is working to ensure that every Brooklynite who is eligible is receiving the food assistance they need–that includes food stamps and the benefits of WIC and farmer’s market programs. We are supporting the expansion of Greenmarkets and the Healthy Bodega Initiative to increase the fruits and vegetables in neighborhood markets,” he added.

Markowitz also said it’s time to get the Atlantic Yards project going, as well as two other of his pet projects -- the old Loews Kings Theatre in Flatbush and the proposed Coney Island Amphitheater.

Additionally, Markowitz defended the role of the office of borough presidents as the position has been under fire from some in the media as a largely figurehead position with a bloated budget.

The people in Brooklyn need an advocate and this office has been a successful advocate on many fronts in the past year, he said.

Markowitz said, for example, that his office successfully fought the city to keep senior centers in the borough open, stopping the planned closures of the maternity and pediatrics unit at Long Island College Hospital and keeping Starrett City affordable, he said.

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