There’s a new man in charge of Downtown’s future, and he’s a civic-minded entrepreneur who wired all of DUMBO with Wi-Fi, revamped the neighborhood’s historic streets — and even reconstructed Baghdad for the State Department.
On Tuesday, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership announced that Tucker Reed — currently a director at DUMBO’s development titan, Two Trees Management — would be the new president of the quasi-governmental group beginning on Jan. 9.
Local pols, co-workers, and friends welcomed the news, calling Reed a “dedicated public servant.”
“Tucker has more energy and enthusiasm than anyone I’ve ever met, and that’s something that Downtown Brooklyn could always use,” said Alexandria Sica, executive director of the DUMBO Improvement District.
The hiring of Reed ends a two-month search to replace former president Joe Chan, who left his $220,000-a-year job in October to join the Empire State Development Corporation.
“I could not be more excited to be helping to support the creative forces that will shape the future of the borough,” Reed said in a statement. He declined an interview with Brooklyn’s paper of record.
For the past year, the 31-year-old has been special projects director for mega-development firm Two Trees — jump-starting the effort to make DUMBO the city’s first all-wireless neighborhood.
In 2008, the State Department tapped Reed — a former National Guardsman — for an important and unenviable rebuilding job in Baghdad.
“I don’t want to get on my soapbox, but it makes me sick to see our standing in the world diminished by what happened in Iraq,” he told The Brooklyn Paper at the time. “If I can play one small role in changing that, I have to do it.”
He was also the founding executive director of the DUMBO Improvement District, where he secured funding for a major street reconstruction project, converted a parking lot into the Pearl Street Triangle public space, and encouraged the city to cover some neighborhood eyesores with public art. He also ran wacky initiatives such as installing solar-powered holiday lights.
Jed Walentas, a principal at Two Trees, said that Reed strives to “make places like Downtown better.”
“It’s what he spends all his free time doing, it’s what he cares about,” Walentas said. “I think he likes to be in a more public place than just working for a real-estate developer.”
Now Reed will oversee the six-year-old Downtown group’s $6.7-million budget, implement major development projects and manage three business improvement districts.
He’ll also face his share of critics, who’ve accused the partnership of prioritizing expensive developments like CityPoint over affordable housing and small businesses.
A local advocacy group for low-income people wrote a letter to the partnership last month pushing for community participation in the selection for Chan’s replacement.
“Chan was dismissive of lot of players in community,” said Lucas Shapiro, a senior organizer with Families United for Racial & Economic Equality. “This is a chance for Reed to make a name for himself by being much more welcoming of public participation. The ball’s in his court.”
Reach Kate Briquelet at [email protected] or by calling her at (718) 260-2511.