Greenland Forest City, a partnership between China’s second largest real estate developer and New York firm Forest City Ratner, is proposing to build Brooklyn’s biggest office tower, according to an outline plan presented to community representatives in New York last week.
Greenland and its partner have put forth two potential locations for a 1.5 million square foot (140,000 square metre) office tower near the Pacific Place development in Brooklyn (formerly known as Atlantic Yards), where the two companies have already broken ground on a condo tower being built as part of the $5 billion development.
While Greenland Group has ventured into office projects in China during the last several years, the developer is known for building mid-range housing on the mainland, and this would be the first cross-border commercial project for one of China’s most prolific overseas developers.
Partnership Seeks Planning Approval for Commercial Project
According to the plan presented at a public meeting in New York last week, Greenland and Forest City Ratner are considering two sites within the 22-acre mixed use Pacific Place project to build an office tower, and could even pursue two separate developments should approval be secured.
For both sites, one across the street from the Barclays Center arena at 580 Atlantic Avenue, and another directly behind the sports complex at the intersection of Atlantic and Sixth Avenues, the developers’ would need to have the properties rezoned for office use, according to an account in New York-based website DNAInfo.
The partnership has already secured commercial rights for another site within the complex which it now plans to develop for residential use, and is seeking approval from the state of New York to move those rights for office development to either or both of the new locations.
Greenland Forest City Chases Brooklyn Office Demand
The site opposite the Barclay’s Center would allow Greenland Forest City to build the largest office project in Brooklyn directly across from the borough’s largest transit hub, which brings together nine subway lines and the above-ground Long Island Rail Road.
“Pacific Park was always meant to include modern office space,” a spokeswoman for Greenland Forest City said in a statement. “We think the time is right for the borough to have an iconic office building for the new Brooklyn economy and the thousands of jobs it will bring to the doorstep of one of the city’s largest transit hubs.”
The partners have yet to propose a clear timeline for the project, or to provide details regarding the height and design of the proposed development. No clear investment figures for the project have been provided to date.
A local business group has already come out in support of the Greenland Forest City office project, according to a report in Crain’s New York.
“Our office vacancy rate in downtown Brooklyn has fallen to a historic low of 1.6%,” Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, said in a statement. “We risk losing significant investment and further job growth in downtown Brooklyn if additional inventory does not come online in the immediate future.”
Greenland Group has long been on the lookout for more opportunities in prime markets in the US and Europe, and is already one of China’s cross-border developers.
Speaking on the sidelines of the groundbreaking Greenland Forest City’s residential project in Brooklyn last year, Greenland Group chairman confirmed the state-owned giant’s hunger for more projects in global hubs like New York, telling the Wall Street Journal that, “It isn’t like we have a presence in 10 places now and will have to expand to 20. We’d increase our investment in cities where there is potential for growth, in the big cities.”