Brooklyn’s dour Municipal Building — where generations of lovers have gotten their marriage licenses and tax scofflaws have paid their fines — will get ground-floor shops on Court Street under a plan being pushed by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
Planners hope to carve out two or more retail stores from a 44,000-square-foot, two-floor space, said Joe Chan, president of the quasi-public agency charged with speeding development throughout Downtown.
Currently, the space holds a Finance Department payment center and the Brooklyn office of the City Clerk — but from the street, it looks like “dead space,” Chan said.
“People have just accepted that government buildings are only for government,” he added.
But that attitude is changing. Chan said that the city is about to close a deal with Muss Development to take control of long-vacant ground-floor retail space in the former court building at 345 Adams St., next to the Marriott hotel’s new annex.
Chan is even more excited about the potential of the Municipal Building.
“It’s atop Brooklyn’s second-largest transit hub, and at a corner with as much pedestrian traffic during the day as 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue and 86th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan,” he said.
It’s too early to say what stores might be housed inside the office building, but Chan said there would be a competitive, open bidding process if City Hall signs off on the plan.