At Clinton's campaign HQ, Brooklyn cool will come at a price (+video)
"Modern offices. Brooklyn cool" is the marketing slogan of the building in well-appointed Brooklyn Heights, where Hillary Clinton's anticipated presidential campaign has signed a lease on a building expected to appeal to young staffers.
Washington and New York — Political staffers reporting for duty at the Brooklyn headquarters that will house Hillary Clinton's anticipated presidential campaign will find a neighborhood known for its waterfront skyline views, top-notch private schools and historic real estate.
The leafy, sleepy streets in Brooklyn Heights, which sits just across the East River from lower Manhattan, are lined with stately row homes and apartment buildings. The median household income in the area hovered above $100,000 in 2013, about double the national median, according to government data.
The neighborhood's amenities and proximity to Manhattan have attracted celebrities. Comedian Lena Dunham moved to the area last year. Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris, an Academy Award winner, also bought a home there with his poet wife.
Saint Ann's, a private school with arts-intensive programming for pre-school through high school students, charges upwards of $25,000 per year and is popular choice of parents in the moneyed, creative class.
Just down the street from Saint Ann's, at 1 Pierrepont Plaza, is where Clinton's campaign-in-waiting will occupy two floors in a 19-story building, a source familiar with the plan confirmed on Friday.
The building's marketing slogan: "Modern offices. Brooklyn cool."
New York became Clinton's home base after her husband, Bill Clinton, left the White House. The family purchased a home in the wealthy suburban hamlet of Chappaqua in 1999. Clinton has split time between Chappaqua and Washington as a U.S. senator representing New York and as U.S. secretary of state.
Setting up shop in an area that would appeal to the campaign's staffers, many of whom are young and will relocate for the duration of the campaign, was a factor during the real estate hunt. Proximity to public transportation, easy access to the city's airports and housing availability were also considerations, the source close to the campaign told Reuters.
Paul Carroll, 51, is a fashion designer who has lived in Brooklyn Heights for 20 years. He told Reuters that in that time the once-gritty neighborhood has changed as a "new, privileged class" moved in.
"In the summertime I eat lunch at the Promenade every day," Carroll said, referencing a waterfront area with views of Manhattan's skyline and the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
"It's nice. There are a lot of families. The thing I do like about the new Brooklyn is it has this young energy that is really positive," Carroll added.
Business owners on Montague Street, the neighborhood's main thoroughfare, told Reuters they welcomed the Clinton campaign.
Teresa Brzozowska, 63, a resident of nearby borough Queens, has co-owned a restaurant serving the food of her native Poland on Montague Street since 1989.
"It's still a neighborhood with old timers but there is a lot of new business and an influx of new people," Brzozowska said. "It's great news. It's going to bring some spark to the neighborhood and put us on the map."
Nicaragua native Ivan Arguello, 53, owns a small grocery store on Montague Street where he has worked for more than 30 years. Arguello said he plans to renovate this summer, offering more organic and prepared foods.
"Younger people don't want to cook. Private labels aren't selling as well as the brand names now," Arguello said.
But the amenities and outdoor spaces in Brooklyn Heights do come at a price. When Arguello moved to the area he paid $450 per month for a two-bedroom apartment. His son now rents a nearby studio for $3,200 a month, Arguello said, wondering how representative of everyday America the area now is.
"Is this America? Here you have a lot of wealthy people and students," Arguello said.