Biz group tells Manhattan to get down — Downtown Brooklyn, that is

Fulton Mall is rising right
The Brooklyn Paper / Ben Muessig

The burghers of Downtown Brooklyn unveiled an expensive new marketing campaign on Thursday to lure companies and residents by saying that the global financial meltdown is actually “the moment” for the borough’s central core.

The “It’s the Moment” campaign seeks to raise Downtown’s desirability for businesses and residents and as a destination for culture. The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, a quasi-governmental group, spent in the “low hundreds of thousands of dollars” for the direct-mail campaign, which is aimed at 1,500 elite real-estate brokers, most of them in Manhattan and, frankly, ignorant of Brooklyn’s treasures, said Partnership President Joe Chan.

“It’s a branding campaign that highlights [Brooklyn’s] competitive advantages and the people who chose to be in Downtown Brooklyn,” Chan said.

The media blitz includes testimonials from the past, present and future of Downtown, such as Fort Greene-based choreographer Mark Morris; newcomer Stephen Dannhauser, whose white shoe law firm Weil Gotshal moved some operations to Downtown last year; and Devin Harris, a guard with the supposedly Brooklyn-bound New Jersey Nets.

It’s also intended to convince leery brokers and their clients that the area already has marquee names with Brooklyn addresses.

“Nobody wants to be the first [to come],” Chan said.

Harris talked about the brimming excitement for a sports team in Brooklyn.

“A city that hasn’t had a professional team since 1957 when the Dodgers left, [is] yearning for us,” Harris said about his squad’s planned move to the as-yet-unbuilt Atlantic Yards arena.

The delays on the Forest City Ratner project embody the real-estate crunch seen elsewhere in Brooklyn — but Chan argued that his domain makes “an incredibly compelling economic case,” thanks to tax incentives for companies that move from some parts of Manhattan or outside the city.

“When it comes to cost and the economics of real estate, companies are making pragmatic decisions,” Chan said.

The new campaign, with its focus on real people living or working in Brooklyn is a departure from last year’s glitzy video narrated by film and stage legend Ian McKellen that talked about the Downtown Brooklyn of tomorrow as a bustling 24-hour center of the city.