Is by the Book
COURIER L 32 IFE, JUNE 18-24, 2021
One Willoughby Square opens its
doors as Downtown Brooklyn’s
tallest offi ce building
Mayor Bill de Blasio cuts the ribbon at One Willoughby Square with developer Morris Bailey
on June 15. Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Offi ce
BY BEN BRACHFELD
One Willoughby Square offi cially
opened its doors on Tuesday, becoming
the tallest offi ce building in Downtown
Mayor Bill de Blasio cut the ribbon
on the building, located at Willoughby
and Gold Streets, with a gigantic,
gilded pair of scissors, together with
the developers, architects, and offi -
cials with the city’s Economic Development
Corporation on June 15.
The unveiling, he said, was representative
of the city’s comeback from
“We got knocked down but we got
back up,” de Blasio said. “Here we
have proof positive that New York
City is open for business … The timing
could not have been more perfect.”
The 495-foot-tall, 34-story tower
— originally known as 420 Albee
Square — was fi rst proposed in 2014,
and boasts 472,000 square feet of offi ce
space. Long in the making, the edifi ce
has had nearly 30 fl oors and 200 feet
shaved off of its originally intended
The building was designed by FXCollaborative
and developed by JEMB
Realty. FXCollaborative announced
that it would become the building’s
fi rst tenant, occupying three fl oors, at
the ribbon cutting. The building will
also include a 332-seat public elementary
school, which will take up the
building’s fi rst six fl oors.
The building, abbreviated as
1WSQ, is the fi rst new “Class A” offi ce
building (a somewhat nebulous term
that essentially means primo space)
constructed in Downtown Brooklyn
since the area was rezoned in 2004.
The 2004 rezoning was intended to
spur offi ce space development in the
area, but most of the new, large-scale
buildings constructed since then have
“We are confi dent that it will add
to the growth of Downtown Brooklyn,”
said Morris Jerome, a principal
at JEMB and the son of its president,
Joseph Jerome. “As we are coming
out of this pandemic, it is our sincere
hope that the tenants of this building
will help local small businesses
emerge from the pandemic.”
The centerpiece of the 2004 rezoning,
the Willoughby Square site, is located
next door to the new offi ce tower,
and the building opens directly into
the park. The park, recently renamed
Abolitionist Place after the area’s
history as an Underground Railroad
stop, has had a long and rocky development
The city opened a “pop-up” park at
the site in 2019, covering part of the
acreage as development of the full plot
remained in limbo. The park is expected
to break ground this summer.
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