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JEMB strikes deal to build new Brooklyn school

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced the sale of 420 Albee Square to JEMB Realty Corporation (JEMB).

The development at 420 Albee Square, which was recently unveiled by JEMB as One Willoughby Square, will bring over 380,000 s/f of commercial space, including ground floor retail, and over 300 school seats to Downtown Brooklyn.

The project — being developed by JEMB in partnership with Forest City Ratner — marks the first ground-up office development in Downtown Brooklyn since the neighborhood’s 2004 re-zoning. One Willoughby is expected to create over 1,100 permanent jobs and over 1,000 construction jobs.

The School Construction Authority (SCA) and NYCEDC worked with JEMB to establish a public school with over 300 seats within the first six floors of the new development and a dedicated entrance on Albee Square West.

JEMB has also committed to a 25 percent Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) participation goal for the project and will participate in the City’s HireNYC program to help New Yorkers access jobs in connection with One Willoughby.

NYCEDC first announced the selection of JEMB to develop One Willoughby in 2015.

“This is a big win. We’re bringing long-awaited office space and a school to Downtown Brooklyn, complementing the swell of City investment and new development the neighborhood is seeing. This is a critical part of our jobs strategy – investing in new office space in neighborhoods like Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City to create good jobs for more New Yorkers,” said NYCEDC president and CEO James Patchett.

“We are excited to be a part of this unique development and bring needed school seats to the Downtown Brooklyn community,” said Lorraine Grillo, President and CEO of the New York City School Construction Authority. “With over 300 seats, this project is a meaningful investment that supports our growing neighborhoods.”

“We are thrilled to be part of the redevelopment of Downtown Brooklyn, said Morris Bailey, Chairman of JEMB. “Public-private partnerships can produce catalytic projects and it was a pleasure to work with the de Blasio Administration to move this important project forward.”

NYCEDC sold JEMB a 3,132 s/f parcel, with 150,000 s/f of transfer development rights. JEMB will combine this property with an adjacent site, forming a development site of over 18,000 s/f to bring commercial space and school seats to Downtown Brooklyn.

Downtown Brooklyn is the largest office district outside of Manhattan, with over 23 million square feet of office space served by a dozen lines of transit service. The neighborhood is expected to see over two million new square feet of office space to be added or reactivated through 2018.

Announced last month, the New York Works plan will create 100,000 good jobs over the next 10 years. The City will invest in industries with high wages and growth potential, including cyber security, advanced manufacturing, freight, life sciences, and virtual and augmented reality, among others.

Kasowitz represented Forest City Ratner and JEMB Realty in the deal. The Kasowitz team was led by partner Adam Endick, and included special counsel Julia Sanabria and associate Isaac Stern.

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