The heart of downtown Brooklyn is about to change for the better. One Willoughby Square, also known as 1WSQ or 420 Albee Square, will become the tallest Class A building in Brooklyn and forever complement the skyline. The outer beauty and sheer presence of the building is only the start as what’s inside, and even right out in front, are just as magnificent. Morris Bailey’s JEMB can now move forward on the development after approval of a $235 million construction loan from Canadian real estate lending company Otera Capital, YIMBY reports.
Ground was already broken for the complex back in the dead of winter. The complex that broke ground in February will be almost 500 feet tall and hold about 500,000 square foot inside. As anyone who’s paid attention to the World Trade Center buildings downtown and the ever growing Hudson Yards projects knows, securing those first big tenants can be the catalyst needed to make the building thrive. For 1 WSQ, FXFOWLE, now named FXCollaborative, agreed to a 40,000-square-foot lease. As the first business in the door, FXCollaborative will also be the main anchor and handle the designs.
While JEMB has the first office floors dedicated to FXCollaborative and the first six floors of the building to an 87,000 square foot school that can take in 300 students, it needs to fill in the rest of the building’s space with tenants.
The location couldn’t be any better, in downtown Brooklyn and near plenty of other landmarks, sweet spots, and mass transit options. The more specific location is around Willoughby Street, Fulton Street, Albee Square W, and Duffield Street, not far from shopping areas like Fulton Mall. Such a towering and modern property can’t miss out on any of the details, and this one won’t. Everyone from the outside will be greeted by luscious landscaped park designed by Hargreaves Associates. The park serves a dual purpose because it will cover up an underground parking structure on the northern end of the site, according to YIMBY.
Modern work spaces must focus on optimized productivity, which is why the inside work spaces will be feature unobstructed and column-free floor plans, adding outdoor balconies to alternating floors as well to give people the chance to gaze down upon the city and out beyond it on their breaks instead of being stuck inside all day. Three dedicated office floors will even have extra-high 18-foot ceilings, like one at the top of the building’s six-story podium where FXCollaborative will soon relocate. The other two sections are designed in a way to create visual and architectural impression of three volumetric boxes stacked on top of each other, as YIMBY describes it.
The facade will look stealthy and cool with square-shaped dark blue colored tiles, meant to divide the industrial-style glass facade between each floor. At the same time, vertical ribbons of reflective panels focus attention on the rigid structures in the building design.
The building should be up and running around the same time as the next presidential inauguration.
For Bailey, bringing this building and its business tenants into the heart of Brooklyn is only natural, considering how much time he’s spent making real estate magic happen all over Manhattan. Bailey’s stretch reaches beyond the city, which is fitting because one of his properties is located in his hometown.
He grew up in Atlantic City in the 1940s and early 1950s, after the legendary Roaring 20s Prohibition Era and before casinos would come in to try and revitalize the struggling city. His family left Atlantic City when he was 14 when his dad died. Bailey, his six siblings and his mother, Esther, moved to Brooklyn where they had relatives, and to this day, Bailey still lives in Kings County.
Bailey didn’t grow up in an executive office but rather in much more modest ways, hitting the streets to make ends meet by doing things like selling newspapers and groceries.
Bailey bought Resorts for $35 million when the original Atlantic City casino was severely struggling. Reviving the first casino that was ever in Atlantic City would surely send a signal to the world that Atlantic City was open for business. Bailey and his hometown wouldn’t go quietly into the night.
Bailey was able to partner with Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment since 2012 on Resorts, which has given the casino very strong backing and led to hundreds of millions of additions and reinvestments into renovating the facilities.
Over the past five years, Resorts has completed more than $100 million in renovations to reposition and transform Resorts into a place that offers much more than gambling and can cater to a varied crowd. Now that Hard Rock and Ocean casinos opened in formerly closed casinos, the northern area of the boardwalk has life to it again, something which may not have been possible if Bailey’s Resorts didn’t hold things together while the times were tough.
Anyone who wants to take a break from New York can visit Resorts and now enjoy a stay in completely renovated rooms in the Ocean Tower, check out the Margaritaville bar and casino area, and go across the boardwalk to Landshark Bar and Grill. Atlantic City’s recovery story is one that can’t be told without including Bailey.
Bailey’s touch in places like Atlantic City and New York go well beyond real estate. A deeply religious Sephardic Jew, Bailey holds Judaism dear to his heart and never forgets that. He is on the board of directors and president’s counsel for The Sephardic Jewish Center in southern Brooklyn, which he founded. He once was also the chairman of the board for the nearby Magen David Yeshiva, always making sure to give back to the community and embrace Judaism. He’s won the Sephardic Leadership Award that UJA gives out as well, now known as the Morris Bailey Leadership Award.
By: Michael Eric Rosenthal