Ratner: ‘Fort Greene, I’ve Got You Surrounded’

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Man, it’s getting hard to keep up with all the towers that are sprouting up in Downtown Brooklyn. Yesterday, Curbed ran some renderings of Bruce Ratner’s latest project at 80 Dekalb Avenue aka 625 Fulton Street. The 36-story, Costas Kondylis-designed silver scraper will have 369 apartments spread out over 335,187 square feet. As we saw when we swung by at the end of the day, demolition of the existing three- and four-story building that runs most of the way towards Fulton from Dekalb is in full swing. Curbed reported that the property is listed as a rental on the Kondylis site, but we bet nothing’s set in stone just yet. Anyone know if this has an affordable housing component? For political reasons alone we suspect it will.
Kondylis + Ratner on DeKalb Avenue [Curbed] GMAP P*Shark DOB

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  • What are the affordable housing guidelines for Brooklyn?

  • Seems like these days minimum $200K income

  • Does Bloomberg and Ratner have any plans to build more schools? Where is everyone going to send their kids? I know people are going to suggest private schools, but surely they’re going to be close to full too. Are there any plans for more public/charter schools that go along with these towers?

  • How did he get approval for such a huge building. I don’t recall Dekalb getting any upzoning, only around Myrtle. How did this happen?

  • does anyone know how you get on the waiting list for affordable housing for this project?

  • Actually one of the best business in NYC right now is opening Private Schools. I wish I had the money to open one though.

  • how did he get approval? By being a developper during Bloomberg’s adminstration and paying for it. How else?It’s not like it takes some kind of weird conspiracy. I was invited to join someone at a dinner where this shit goes down. I almost went just to see it at work, and then balked at realizing I’d have to carry around a vomit bag all night long.

  • I suspect if there is an affordable housing component to this project, the affordable units are located in some inaccessible block in East New York — seems to be Ratner’s modus operandi.

  • I could be wrong but it seems like you can pretty much build anything any height you want if you’re a developer in NY these days, you just have to have a lot of money and be nice to the other people who have a lot of money (i.e. politicians).

  • I think downtown Brooklyn is the right place to build these kinds of things. Commence vicious hate-attacks.

  • I agree Jeremy. I haven’t checked the zoning on that block, but if it is several lots, then it is entirely possible that this is being constructed “as of right”.

  • This is DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN! What is so wrong with tall buildings? Why are you all so short sighted? Growth is good. Good for the rich and good for the poor. You can’t freeze Brooklyn in time.

  • ‘stoner, the GMAP link is wrong – it points to 375 Myrtle.

  • What a great idea. Freeze Brooklyn In Time! We can freeze Brooklyn in time. With your help.

    Visit freezebrooklynandqueensintime.net to find out how you can help.

  • I agree. Tall buildings are appropriate for this area of Brooklyn. I swear, some people will hate anything taller than 45 feet, assuming that it contains no fedders ac.

  • This looks like it’s going to be a great building. And it’s being built in a location that could really use a change.

    These debates about development are really provincial. We live across the river from Manhattan. There are $18 million dollar townhouses that have high rise buildings as one of the walls of their gardens. All these doomsayers need to get on the subway and tour Manhattan. Development is important. The population of this town isn’t getting any smaller…Just ’cause you’re here doesn’t mean other people can’t.

  • Oh yeah. I forgot bstoner is full of nice, intelligent, and reasonable people, and that I stopped reading Curbed.

  • The debate is not about whether or not to build to ‘tawwwwlll’. That is an issue. But the more central argument/discussion is the ‘a.b.u.s.e’ of eminent domain and the circumvention of the approval process (i.e., accurate reporting, accurate research and fact-finding and, including the community in the process). Many of these buildings are going up so quickly and covertly that they’re causing whiplash amongst residents of the community. We’re not all anti-development and anti-‘tawll’ as so many ‘progress’ advocates like to suggest. There is just too much crooked, back-door, sweet heart deals going on that involves the use of eminent domain. I believe this is the biggest gripe of the community, not development or progress. Look, the Forte went up rather quickly with nary a protest. The same can be said of the Oro, the Avalon and many others of the new developments going up in the area. They are rarely protested.
    Focus and the spotlight is being placed on Atlantic Yards and the Underground Railroad houses because these involve surreptitious dealings that are marked by eminent domain abuse.

  • I agree. Its a great area for something of this size. And what they are tearing down was a pos.

  • Just because the population is growing doesn’t mean we have to destroy the fabric of our neighborhoods. The people in Manhattan never gave a damn about BK when these neighborhoods were in a bad way and now we are supposed to live in high rise, high traffic pollution because they want to live here! What a joke.

  • Its still rights across the street from the Projects!

  • You anti-growth people can keep up with your conspiracy theories, blame the mayor etc. etc. The project is most likely as-of-right. Get over it – this is NYC. Paying for a project to get around the rules is in your heads.

  • eminent domain abuse.

  • any knowledge about who owned the plot before? what was it sold to FOrest City for? When is construction due to begin?

  • The down side of the condo towers in downtown Brooklyn is that, in an environment in which developers are making scads of money, the City has not bargained hard enough on behalf of the public good — ie, affordable housing. So these towers represent the growing divide between those in this city who make in the hundreds of thousands and the majority who make under 35K or whatever it is. In economic terms, we are giving away the store.

    However, downtown is absolutely the right place for towers and I had no problem whatsoever with the Oro, the Forte, and the rest. What I don’t want is a brand new high rise district plunked down in the midst of Fort Greene, Prospect Hgts, Park Slope.

  • Anon 10:50, where is there any evidence that eminent domain was used to secure this site?
    Anon 10:53, how do you propose Brooklyn grow without building new buildings? Are you really suggesting that a tall building is not keeping with the fabric of Downtown Brooklyn?

  • FCR has controlled the site for a long time. It used to be the DMV.

  • jtg, I’m not suggesting that eminent domain was used to secure this site. It’s important to read carefully. My comment was in response to the ‘anti-growth’ argument which is completely unfounded and fabricated. It’s a diversion. My post along with many of the others in this thread was to draw attention back to the crux of the issue, i.e., why do so many people have a problem with Ratner’s development and some of the other questionable/protestable developments in the area. They often are done covertly, marked by shady back-door, sweetheart deals, that excludes the community from the process and are promoted recklessly and relentlessly without regards to responsible research and fact-finding (i.e., underground rail road safehouses), and they often involve some aspect of eminent domain abuse.

    Is it any wonder that so many developers of ‘taawwwllll’ buildings sleep well at nights without any trollish, nit-picking community advocate nipping at their heels and protesting? Forte, Oro and Avalon comes to mind.

  • Who makes sure that the affordable housing part of these deals take place? All too often, developers can do the affordable housing bit so far off site as to be on Mars. All of the hoopla is over the shiny new luxury condo tower, who’s looking out for the little guy? I don’t often see any grand opening ceremonies for affordable units. Are these developers required to post somewhere where their affordable building will be, so that those who care can actually make sure it gets done?

  • the building they are knocking down is a scary thing, good riddance. this is the same block of buildings that houses the IRS and other government buildings as well as ‘dollar dreams’ on the fulton side. i have a feeling this was a goverment sell off.

    as there isn’t any real ‘neigborhood’ over here (unless you consider applebees to be a neighbor), the tower is relatively welcome. it is only two blocks from the ‘forte’ tower. i have a feeling they’ll be throwing up tall glass buildings all the way up flatbush from the bridge to the arena.

    personally, i don’t have a problem with these towers. this area is about as appropriate as it gets for these things in brooklyn.

  • People can smell something that stinks from a mile away. They don’t know where it’s coming from but they just can’t help fanning their nose.

  • Come one anon 11:13 don’t hit me with that passive aggressive “it’s important to read carefully” statement. You said “the more central argument/discussion is the ‘a.b.u.s.e’ of eminent domain and the circumvention of the approval process.” How am I supposed to know you’ve moved on from talking about this building specifically. This thread is about 625 Fulton St.

  • jtg, have a nice day.

  • I agree jtg. We’re talking about this specific building, not AY.

    Always steering conversations about any development to a diatribe against AY (which does pose legitimate concerns) actually dilutes the power of arguments against problematic developments such as AY because protesters come off as unreasonable and anti-development, even if they are not.

  • you also mentioned anti-growth and anti-development if I recalled correctly. So, once that’s door is opened, you can only expect the waterfall of reasons why we’re not all against skyscrapers and progress.
    If you want to discuss 625 Fulton Street then by all means do so. In my opinion, it’s just another crappy Ratner knock-off. They’re hundreds of other developers out there who would love the opportunity to compete in Brooklyn. Heavens only know why we’re stuck with the mediocrity of Ratner and his failed developments. Talk about nepotism and handing the keys to the city to someone subpar.

  • To: 11:13, Can you please explain to me how you build a 45 story building “covertly”? Why does the public have the right to comment on a building that is AS-OF RIGHT?
    Sterling: Wake up! There are city agengies and dozens of non-profits who deal with this everyday. Keep your uninformed comments to yourself.

  • How does the zoning allow a 45 story building? That’s huge. Where I live is 50 feet max. How did he get to 45.
    Believe me there will be a real estate crash at some point and the scum developers will crawl back in there holes. – Then they will be looking for the city to bail them out probably.

  • How does the zoning allow a 45 story building? That’s huge. Where I live is 50 feet max. How did he get to 45.
    Believe me there will be a real estate crash at some point and the scum developers will crawl back in there holes. – Then they will be looking for the city to bail them out probably.

  • 12:28 PM, oh I forgot, we live in a feudal society and not in a democracy.

  • 12;28, I reserve the right to ask a question about anything I want, uninformed or not. Since you know so much, why don’t you just inform me, instead of acting like someone passed wind in your face?

  • At least the guys over at Oro placed their affordable housing component nearby in Clinton Hills, not all the way over in under-served East New York far away from the luxury site and accessible transportation.

  • The devil in all this is the fact that this area has a hub of public transportation that is (on half the lines) ONE STOP from manhattan and includes every subway line and the LIRR. It’s also minutes of a lovely walk over two bridges. How can this NOT become an overpopulated extention of manhattan? The only thing that had been stopping this from happening sooner was that the subway lines over the bridges were under construction until a couple of years ago.

    Are there any zoning authorities on this site? I am wondering the same thing: how do you go from several stories (Long Island University, Metrotch etc) to 36 stories? I’m not saying it’s illegal, just wondering if there is ANY due process that these developers have to go through, or can they just decide how tall they want their buildings to be, and just go for it?

  • Clinton Hills is becoming the new Clinton Hill, it seems.

  • my bad…habit..thanks for the correction…Clinton Hill.

  • Its downtown Brooklyn people. Who cares about the height.

  • i would love to see an improved skyline in downtown brooklyn, personally. i say bring em on.

    not everywhere, of course but this is what downtowns are for!!!

  • anyone have pics of what is there right now? I saw one on the orig post, but I can’t seem to remember what is there (or was there) now. Thanks.

  • Whew! Where to start? I guess by saying that 10:55 got it right in just a few words: “The project is most likely as-of-right. Get over it – this is NYC. Paying for a project to get around the rules is in your heads.” My longer take follows.

    10:21, if you had checked the zoning, you would have confirmed your suspicion that “it is entirely possible that this is being constructed ‘as of right.'” The site is zoned C6-4 and has been for some time. It was not rezoned as part of the Downtown Brooklyn Development Plan. It is also located in the Brooklyn Center Urban Renewal Area.

    I do not know when the zoning and urban renewal plan were changed, but that is when the public process took place (9:56, 12:41, 1:05). Other than Department of Buildings review (let’s save that discussion for another time, folks), there is no building-by-building approval process. I also believe that a Ratner entity has controlled this site for some time; probably back to the Metrotech days is my guess.

    There are no height limits in C6-4 districts, although there are setback and other design requirements since the building is also subject to the Special Downtown Brooklyn District regulations. The equivalent residential district is R10.

    R10 districts have an floor area ratio of 10.0, which can increase 12.0 if affordable housing is constructed. The affordable housing must be built in the same community board or within a half-mile of the site, so the East New York cracks (doubter at 10:10 and anon at 1:01) are at least ill-informed and at most intentional efforts to misinform.

    The above should answer, in basic terms, jdhs 91’s questions about guidelines. Sterling Silver, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development is charged with making sure that affordable housing projects are compliant. HPD also oversees the lotteries for apartments, 9:57. Check out the link that kuroko posted at 11:03.

    Oh, and 10:54, the building is across the street from Long Island University, not a NYCHA development. Buy a map.

    You all may now continue your fact-optional expressions of personal opinion.

  • g-man, i guess that should shut everybody up!

  • How will this affect view from the Forte? Seems like one whole side of ‘triangle’ will have great views of this building.

  • thanks g-man, that was almost comprehensive. Maybe you can also comment on anon 9:51 AM’s question.

  • wow g-man. Do you have any pics too?

  • g-man, when is the Department of Buildings review. Is it open to the public.

  • I’m against this as one of these buildings is going to block my view of the Statue of Liberty. We all have out selfish reasons

  • anon, you don’t have a view of the statue of liberty from this side of downtown brooklyn. which building are you in? Those views are more likely seen in Park Slope, Red Hook, Sunset Park, etc.

  • I have a view from Clinton Hill

  • agreed that there’s no way this could block a view of statue of liberty, not to mention it hasn’t been built yet, so how would you know?

    lordy, some of the posters here…have you even ever BEEN to brooklyn???

  • sorry – no public review for an as-of-right project. you may think that is a feudal society but that is how things get built; when there are laws created by your elected officials and then professionals interpret them and the public make shit up and complain all of the time.

  • I have view from clinton hill. I’m not specifically saying that this building will block the view, but the continued new development could. Regardless, it was a joke. Lighten up Francis. I’ll think I’ll just continue to read these forums rather than posting.

  • Developer’s should pay special assessments then because this height and bulk and number of units are ridiculous. The infrastructure is not in place for this many new units in this district. The developers should have to kick in to pay for schools and for transportation upgrades to deal with the traffic. And what’s the story about the parking. How many spots do they have to build on this site?

  • 2:47, the answer to 9:51’s question is that two 500-seat high schools are planned for the old Family Court building at Johnson and Adams, and the Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo neighborhood associations are pushing for a zoned middle school.

    3:08, the Department of Buildings review occurs when the plans are filed. (See numerous other threads on this blog for people’s opinions on the quality of the review.) It is not open to the public; it is an agency determination. However, it is subject to audit. (See numerous other threads making reference to Scarano … and others, so not to pick on just one architect.)

    And, as I was walking around downtown this afternoon and saw the Oro in the distance, I had the same reaction as 2:38 … ‘wow, a lot of the these buildings are going to have great views of the other buildings.’

  • Oh the crazy public. Remember developers the public is who is going to potentially live in your buildings. And if you ignore the needs of the residents in the existing communities than the potential future residents should consider themselves fully warned that you couldn’t care less who you harm. And that means that their future neighborhood will be worse for the new building. Either you with your lame attitude will hire cheap contractors or lax, lazy engineers or something. And then you can expect lawsuits. So buyer beware. Stay aware from these jerks who have no interest in the communities in which they build.

  • A real estate crash would solve most of these problems. Let them sit with empty units for a few years. It would serve them right.

  • A real estate crash would solve most of these problems. Let them sit with empty units for a few years. It would serve them right.

  • yes, just what we should all be praying for. a real estate crash. you really love brooklyn, don’t ya?

    shall we also hope for the plague to get rid of this pesky overpopulation problem?


  • This new building seems to be on only the DeKalb side of the block, with the much larger “625 Fulton St” side being unaffected. The rendering is consistent with this going not very deep down the side streets.

    The scaffolding only extends a bit down Rockwell and Hudson, and most of the rest of the block looks as though it will remain in operation. (Dollar dreams on Fulton, various government offices on all three sides.) A security guy in the Social Security offices on Fulton that I spoke to tonight said (as I far as he knew, obviously) the only construction is on the DeKalb end of the block. Demolition is starting to go below grade – but (again) only along DeKalb.

    Since it appears that Ratner owns most of the block, those buildings must be contributing FAR to the 36 story tower.

  • I can’t say I have a problem with density as a concept, but I will miss the neighborhood. FG has had its problems, but I moved here in the 80’s because I liked the mix of people – the human landscape. I worry about the architectural quality of the buildings – oro seems to be the best of a truly miserable lot – forte is just awful. Frankly, I worry about the newcomers who would see FG as a kind of alternative to the upper east side.

  • I own in Fort Greene I am excited about all this development.

    Thank you all.

  • I’ve heard a rumer that Union Market (on Union Street and Sixth Avenue) is going to open a second, much larger store in the current site of Dollar Dreams.

  • I’m just sad that I don’t see any real innovation in land use in NYC like urban farms.

  • Please give me a break! Urban farms? WTF?!?!?

  • I’m surprised not one of you has mentioned proximity to the BAM Cultural District/ Downtown Brooklyn Partnership which begins with the building on the far corner of Rockwell between Fulton and DeKalb and continues for several square blocks.

    I for one am very interested to see what happens to this edge of Fort Greene/Downtown Brooklyn with the influx of people who choose to live in this building and Forte + all of the new and/or improved cultural organizations.

    It has the potential to be a very exciting area (for me, thankfully, nearby but a destination).

  • I also wonder how many of you commenters know Brooklyn. This project is like TWO blocks from a hood with only three stories tall brownstones,famlies. Now they will get to walk into their backyard & look up 45 stories. Ah the beauty of it. Now Thats Progress !