Ilya Marritz covers business for WNYC.
A business and real estate group is promising big changes for Downtown Brooklyn this year, including a new 176-room hotel, the construction of 600 rental apartments and a new outpost of the popular Shake Shack fast food stand on Fulton Mall.
Joe Chan President of the Partnership for Downtown Brooklyn, said the changes ahead are part of an effort to make the area attractive to businesses and residents.
"What you're seeing is the growth of a comprehensive downtown community despite historically challenging times," Chan said.
He said the area had 400 residents in 2000. Last year, the population reached 12,000.
Another milestone scheduled for completion this year is a $23 million overhaul of the streetscape along Flatbush Avenue. Trees and medians are being added to the busy trucking route, but there will be no bike lanes.