Attention hipsters: The masses are coming. Brooklyn apartments have become a hot commodity ever since the area transformed from its Old World roots of ethnic enclaves to its current status as a playground for culture-makers. What was once seen as a dangerous part of town is now celebrated as a nexus of hip millennial bohemian revivalists.
Booming Construction of Apartments in Brooklyn
Brooklyn, New York’s hotbed of artisanal, handcrafted, do-it-yourself culture, is currently seeing the construction of 3,300 apartments in the borough’s downtown neighborhood. With plans that include 9,000 additional units by 2018, the area can be expected to see a huge influx of residents moving in to fill the new spaces.
The increased new construction in New York City’s most populous borough has launched a number of conversations between current citizens and city council members about a variety of population density issues. As new high-rises begin to tower over the streets of the so-called “DoBro” (Downtown Brooklyn) neighborhood, residents have raised concerns about everything from school access to city planning initiatives.
Attracted by the Culture
The Brooklyn lifestyle has been the subject of increasing attention over the years as the “hipster” trend has taken over the national consciousness. Defined by its preoccupation with vintage clothing, quirky facial hair and farm-to-table eateries, hipster-dom resides at the intersection of twee and bohemia.
The roots of this cultural movement are often attributed to the city of Portland, Oregon, where young adults in the ’90s were creating their own world of repurposed lumber and craft cocktails. The many distinguishing tropes of this generation are wonderfully lampooned on the popular television show “Portlandia,” where Carrie Brownstein and ex-SNL cast member Fred Armisen take on everything from handicraft shops to specialty used bookstores.
This lifestyle didn’t really have one unified image until it was adopted and then distilled by New York urbanites. As artists, writers and creatives of all types were priced out of the Manhattan real estate market, they relocated across the river to Brooklyn.
Known as hipsters, these displaced creatives soon transformed what was an area marred by high crime rates into a landscape of sustainable butchers and activist knitters. This bohemian revival has attracted many twenty-somethings to the borough, driving up demand for Brooklyn apartments.
Real Estate Scarcity
The movement of young people to Brooklyn has happened in a relatively short amount of time. As such, the real estate market shot up in popular neighborhoods such as Park Slope, Williamsburg and Clinton Hill. Brooklyn is now the second most expensive place to live, outdone only by Manhattan.
Developers are now swarming on the area, building new apartment complex after new apartment complex, and much of the construction activity has been focused on the neighborhood known as Downtown Brooklyn.
Extending between Flatbush Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, DoBro, as it is sometimes known, is one of the most popular parts of Brooklyn. Flanked by the trendy hoods of Boerum Hill, Dumbo and Fort Greene, Downtown Brooklyn enjoys easy access to Manhattan as well as proximity to some of the best mixology bars and vintage clothing shops. These amenities have attracted new renters to the area in droves, though they are often met with high rental prices due to the lack of supply.
That is all starting to change, however. With 6,500 apartment units having been added to the neighborhood since 2005, and even more are expected on the horizon, the downtown area is soon going to be quite the populous location. To get a full sense of the kind of development that can be expected in the area, an advocacy group called Downtown Brooklyn School Solutions recently created a map that marks all the current apartment construction projects being completed in DoBro specifically.
The map provides a striking visual of the scale of development that the area is going to see. Downtown Brooklyn School Solutions originally created the visual aid to show city executives the effect that all the new construction is liable to have on the neighborhood. The group is mainly concerned with public school access as more families begin to move into the area. Residents worry that these new arrivals will result in overcrowded classrooms as no new schools are being planned for construction.
There is no denying that Brooklyn apartments are currently in very high demand. The image the borough has created for itself over the recent years has made it a mecca of sorts for young disillusioned creative types.
However, as more and more people begin to flood into the neighborhood, current residents worry about how the city is planning to manage the potential for widespread overpopulation. The actions of advocacy groups such as Downtown Brooklyn School Solutions will likely be key moves in the shaping of Brooklyn’s future.