Will Clarett Think Big in Carroll Gardens?

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Although the planned development at 360 Smith Street has been getting Carroll Gardeners worked up into a lather for a while now, some neighborhood watchdogs are increasingly concerned about the fate of 340 Court Street, a property that includes the former International Longshoreman’s Association building. According to community members who spoke at last week’s town hall meeting, the Clarett Group recently bought the site for $24 million, and the firm could build up to 21 stories on the parcels it’s acquired. While Clarett is no stranger to big Brooklyn builds—the company is developing the 28-story Forté near BAM (an ad for which helps keeps the servers on around here) and appears to have plans in the works to put up a 51-story residential tower on Lawrence Street—the developer told Assemblywoman Joan Millman that it hasn’t even hired an architect for 340 Court, and that it doesn’t intend to construct a building that’s dramatically out of context with surrounding buildings. That may be a wise business move given the community’s ever-increasing sensitivity to the height of new developments: A couple folks at least week’s meeting were already talking about organizing opposition towards Clarett’s future project sight-unseen. More on this one surely to come.
Calls for Reining in Development at CG Meeting [Brownstoner] GMAP
360 Smith: Update and Review of New Plans [Brownstoner]

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  • Yeah, technically they could build 21 stories if the building is a pencil-like sliver that’s squat in the middle of the block end. Clarett will probably opt to use the ‘quality housing option’ giving them some extra square feet for a more contextual building. The max building height would be 70′ under this scenario and meet the front property line. If Clarett builds to the maximum lot coverage, 80%, they won’t be able to hit that 70′ height anyway.

    So I wouldn’t worry too much.

  • I agree with 10:33. Let them design the building first then the community can freak out.

  • Building a 70-foot tall building through the Qualitity Housing Program is probably, from a developer’s point of view, consistent with Clarett’s statement that it “doesn’t intend to construct a building that’s dramatically out of context with surrounding buildings.” The key word here is “dramatically.” However, a 70-foot tall building will probably still freak out the neighborhood.

  • Ahh, conservative types and their fear of change. Boo hoo.

  • Rumors have it that the developer is working out a sweetheart deal with the city to build a project there, which will take some of the crunch off the Gowanus and Wyckoff Street Houses.

    I believe the tentative name is “The Longshoreman’s Houses.”

  • Rumors have it that the developer is working out a sweetheart deal with the city to build a project there, which will take some of the crunch off the Gowanus and Wyckoff Street Houses.

    I believe the tentative name is “The Longshoreman’s Houses.”

  • I live a few blocks away, and though I generally am suspicious of new towers going up in the ‘hood, I’m actually interested to see what a developer would propose here. This corner is in a great location, but this current building isn’t any great shakes. The whole block has a very abandoned and derelict feel to it right now because of the dead space around this structure. If they could propose a design that had space for some good retail shops and lots of nice apartments (and wasn’t 70 feet high), I’d be open to hearing more …

  • I always get a kick out of the fact that the building houses an ambulatory rehab clinic- and you have to climb all those stairs to get to it.\
    I am with 11:46 on this. It is a blighted block due to this terrible building and you couldn’t do much worse. A row of 5/6 story buildings would be a nice improvement.

  • Calling this block “blighted” is quite an exaggeration. If this is “blighted”, I’ll take this any day over most blocks. Please — there are beautiful brownstones on the streets opposite this, and I’d be surprised if the current building has any affect on their home’s values. Yes, it’s an ugly building, and there are more than a handful on various blocks of Carroll Gardens. A new building may very well be an improvement. But it makes me laugh to hear it called blighted.

  • “Blighted” is an extreme exaggeration. And as far as a “project” being built, I figure that poster thinks anything with an affordable housing component goes in that category? There is no way it going to be a highrise. This site could probably be redeveloped to improve the block, but I feel bad for the neighbors during construction. PS: Hey, what about the guy who sells cookies and cheap gifties in front? Does he count as a store?

  • I’m with 12:40…”blighted?” “derelict?” You’ve got to be kidding. Surely the building has seen better days, and it was “modern” when it was built some 50 years ago as the medical clinic for the Longshoremen’s Union where my grandfather got his medical care. It certainly has not had any negative effect on real estate values on any of the neighboring homes; we’re talking about a building that has merely outlived its usefulness, not a crack den. A new building will be nice. Let’s just hope that it’s not some tin can monolith that will overpower that corner.

  • Calling this blighted is insane. Although it isn’t the prettiest bldg on the block, it certainly doesn’t detract from brownstones around it selling for millions of dollars. Does everything need to be up to par with some kind of elitist design aesthetic to exist in brooklyn anymore??? Consider less what this old existing bldg looks like and consider more what type of vibe and futher construction a 70 foot bldg will usher into a old neighborhood with history and charm. Yes, you can’t stop progress..that’s a constant credo on this blog, but you can build and construct without taking away from a neighborhood’s character. Nothing about carroll gardens speaks to a need for glossy skyscrapers.

  • oK ok- can I take back my use of blighted? Too strong of a word obvs. Just meant to say that it has a negative impact on the block, a “blight”. But no biggie- let’s not get hung up on vocab. I think everyone can agree it doesnt fit in and disrupts the street scape, has those weird benches that are not open to the public half the time (so only drunks sleep on them), has a parking lot (so garbage atracts), etc etc. None of those are elitist issues- they are pretty much urban planning 101. So, I remain hopefull that we will get something nicer. I am trying to be development friendly.

  • I think your retraction of ‘blighted’ has been negated by your even worse attempt at a description of the block. Does it really have a negative impact on the block? I think Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are ugly, when are those going away? You’re talking like it’s an abandoned halfway house! Do you even live on this block, walk by it everyday? I do. I have NEVER seen a drunk on the benches (and if there was one there, i’m sure that drunk was over in Carroll Gardens park as well. Should we put ‘something nicer’ in it’s place as well?)

    “I remain hopeful that we will get something nicer”
    Oh, you mean like a fugly glass condo for millionaires? nice!

  • a key word is “intend”. “doesn’t intend to construct a building…” But could that not change, given the word “intend”?

  • If you live in CG, then you can’t possibly be defending the look or the upkeep of this building. It might not ruin the block, but it certainly doesn’t do it any favors. My favorite was this past winter when the steps leading up to the ambulatory care center were coated in ice and people in medical scrubs were gingerly making their way up the stairs.

  • I actually don’t think the building is that bad and if you did away with the unfriendly black fence surrounding it it would go a long way toward reducing its severity.

  • Wait, this building isn’t already luxury condos? Because it looks like a Scarano building already to me. How can anyone trash it and defend putting up something ‘modern’ in the same sentence?