Mayor de Blasio, Elected Officials, and JEMB Celebrate the Opening of 1 Willoughby Square
JEMB Realty’s 1 Willoughby Square Is the First Ground-up Office Development since the 2004 Downtown Brooklyn Rezoning
June 15, 2021 - Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Rachel Loeb and JEMB Realty Corporation, a family-run, real estate development, investment and management firm based in New York City, celebrated the opening of 1 Willoughby Square, Downtown Brooklyn’s tallest commercial office tower and the first office tower since the 2004 Downtown Brooklyn rezoning.
The highly-anticipated milestone marks a new era for Downtown Brooklyn by advancing the administration’s commitment to creating jobs and supporting the growth of commercial centers across New York City. It’s also a testament to the public-private partnership that made these achievements possible. The neighborhood is bolstered by the recent addition of new residential towers and vibrant restaurants, arts, and cultural attractions such as nearby DeKalb Market Hall, Barclays Center, McNally Jackson Bookstore, Whole Foods, Apple, Trader Joe’s, Chelsea Piers, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Brooklyn Ballet, and Brooklyn Academy of Music.
“The opening of One Willoughby marks a huge turning point in our recovery,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Over a year ago, as the City shut down to save lives, we could have only dreamed of celebrating the opening of a brand-new office tower. One Willoughby shows how the City can successfully work in partnership with communities and the private sector to create jobs and further New York City’s recovery.”
“One Willoughby is a prime example of the public-private sector working with the community to support the growth of Downtown Brooklyn,” said Rachel Loeb, President and CEO of New York City Economic Development Corporation. “We’re excited to open much-needed office space, retail, and a public school, and create this vibrant mixed-use area to help revitalize Downtown. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio, our city partners, elected officials, and JEMB for their collaboration to make this project a reality as we take another step in our recovery for all New Yorkers.”
“1 Willoughby Square will set a new standard for commercial office space in Brooklyn, offering the best-in-class architecture, design, open space and amenities that leading companies are searching for,” said Morris Bailey, Founder and Chairman of the Board of JEMB Realty. “As Downtown Brooklyn continues its growth, we’re excited to be working with the EDC to bring the area back to life and create a vibrant destination for those who live, work and visit the area.”
“The opening of 1 Willoughby is the culmination of a nearly two-decade promise to those living in Downtown Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “This much-needed office space and school building fulfills longstanding promises from EDC to community advocates and residents, and I thank EDC and the advocates for their efforts to ensure that the promises made were kept.”
“Brooklyn is back, and the opening of JEMB’s 1 Willoughby Square is concrete proof of that fact. As the tallest new office tower in Brooklyn – which will also provide 300 elementary school seats to our growing population of families - the project could not have launched at a better time,” said Regina Myer, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. “The city is in turbo-recovery mode, Downtown Brooklyn workers and shoppers are back, the Brooklyn Cultural District is reopening, and to top it all off, we expect construction of a long-awaited acre of open space right next door to commence soon. 1 Willoughby Square is a fantastic addition to Downtown Brooklyn.”
“Juneteenth reminds us that the struggle for freedom and independence are not new. One of the most powerful moments of Frederick Douglass’s life is when he finally got paid for his own labor. Today, Brooklynites have a new office building where they can get the jobs, where they can get paid to sustain their family in Downtown Brooklyn,” said Council Member Robert Cornegy. “Today, we announce a new 332-seat elementary school, which delivers on the city’s commitment to public education. As we celebrate Juneteenth, I am delighted that this new opportunity will be next to the home of Mama Joy Chatel at 227 Abolitionist Place. Her efforts for freedom built on a long tradition in Downtown Brooklyn. As we work to create a country which has fair opportunity for all, I want to acknowledge that we are building on the effort of others. Since I represent Weeksville, I want to give a special recognition to Sylvanus Smith, one of the original investors of this Free Black community in 1838. He understood that Black civil rights were tied to Black financial security. He lived in Downtown Brooklyn, and I am pleased that his vision of financial independence is returning to his neighborhood.”
“I am proud of the work we have done to bring jobs to Downtown Brooklyn in 1 Willoughby Square. As Downtown Brooklyn expands its commercial footprint of built space, we must weigh additional needs in our growing residential community. This project also includes a new more than 300-seat NYC DOE public school in Downtown Brooklyn,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Downtown Brooklyn is the future of New York City and I commend the NYC Economic Development Corporation and all the stakeholders for their work here.”
“One Willoughby Square’s state-of-the-art Class A office space and a 332-seat elementary school adds a vital mix of commercial and residential amenities to Downtown Brooklyn, ensuring Community District 2 and Brooklyn’s continued vibrancy,” said Carol-Ann C. Church, Assistant District Manager Community Board 2 – Brooklyn.
1 Willoughby delivers commercial office jobs in Downtown Brooklyn
In 2015, NYCEDC sold a 3,132-square-foot parcel, with 150,000-square-feet of transfer development rights to JEMB to bring commercial space to Brooklyn’s Tech Triangle. 1 Willoughby Square, the first ground-up office development in Downtown Brooklyn since the 2004 Downtown Brooklyn rezoning, rises 34 stories. The 500,000-square-foot building features balconies on every other floor, column-free floor plates and incredible natural light. It delivers on a City commitment for a public school with over 300 seats within the first six floors of the new development and a dedicated entrance on Albee Square West. All floors include column free spans and unobstructed views of the neighboring park.
The building’s lobby features 30 foot ceiling heights with floor-to-ceiling glass, as well as a state-of-the-art touchless entry sequence and high end finishes. In addition, 1 Willoughby Square will have premier amenities including a tenant lounge, conferencing facilities, communal outdoor space as well as a separate entrance off the neighboring park, 250 bike parking spots, locker rooms and showers. The office building will accommodate tenants of all sizes offering full floor or multi-floor offices.
FXCollaborative, the building’s architect and anchor tenant, will move into the building this summer, after 40 years in their Manhattan office. Their 100 employees will bring an additional customer base to the local businesses in Downtown Brooklyn.
Over the course of construction of 1 Willoughby Square, JEMB Realty employed over 2,000 laborers, over 30 of which were union employees.