How DUMBO Changed Life In the Heights, Nearby Areas

By Dennis Holt
Brooklyn Broadside

BROOKLYN — When one reads through a typical request for proposals (RFP) such as the one just issued by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation for a hotel-residential complex, one is struck by how little of the document is actually about the project.

A large part consists of quite boring legal language required in all such documents. In fact, much of an RFP is produced by simply pushing buttons on a computer: the term “boiler plate” comes to mind.

But almost always tucked away in the front of most RFPs is demographic information that was not previously known, and such was the case with this RFP.

What the authors did was to combine important statistics on Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Fulton Ferry Landing and Vinegar Hill into one large area. I have never seen this type of presentation, and it was very revealing. For one thing, it demonstrates the impact of DUMBO over the last 10 years. Ten years ago, much of DUMBO still consisted of warehouses.

The population of this combined area is 27,125. This number shows an increase of almost 3,000 people from the year 2000, largely attributable to the growth in DUMBO. The number of households increased from 12,028 to 13,834. This computes to a small increase in people per household, suggesting that more families have moved to DUMBO.

(Brooklyn Heights, from a demographic point of view, is very stable, with very few real changes over a 10-year period. The change in the median age from 36.9 to 37.05 reflects the aging of the average person in the Heights.)

Perhaps the most revealing statistic is the 10-year increase in average household income. In 2000, it was $117,636. It became $154,493 in 2010, a very large number. Also meaningful is the fact that the percentage of households with incomes over $100,000 shot up from 35 percent to the rather heady number of 52.4 percent. This is also due to the development of DUMBO, because its condo units tend to be rather expensive.

The percentage of owner-occupied housing units in the entire area increased from 40.6 percent to 43.9 percent. This change is due to the development of DUMBO, because most of DUMBO consists of owner-occupied condos.

A separate report shows more impressive data that also includes DUMBO. The value of residences located within one-quarter mile of the park is $4.2 million, and that’s another stunning number. Thus, for the first time, this RFP shows the sharp impact that DUMBO has had on Brooklyn and certainly Community Board 2.

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Filed under Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Editorial

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