Carroll Gardens Considers a Scarano-less 360 Smith

Last night developer William Stein presented revamped plans for 360 Smith Street, a project that’s played a big role in prompting activists to call for a 50-foot building height in all of Carroll Gardens. Although Stein still intends to build a 70-foot building, he announced that he’d parted ways with architect Robert Scarano and replaced him with Armand Quadrini of KSQ Architects (the Scarano separation was amicable, according to Stein). Stein said he believes the new plans achieve a balance that truly reflects what all of us want. Then came the renderings. The 49-unit condo is now being dubbed The Oliver House (after Stein’s late father), and Quadrini, who was in attendance and explained how they tried to come up with a contextual design, said it’s supposed to look like three buildings put together. As rendered above and on the jump, two of those buildings are brownstone-esque, and the third is tall and glassy, with no setbacks. While there seemed to be general consensus among the 70-some-odd attendees that the new design was loads better than prior attempts (some called the last plans a bit South Beach), many community members dissed the glass section slated for the corner of the building. This piece of glass just looks like sort of medical building, one person remarked. Stein repeatedly said that he wasn’t deaf to the criticisms about the glass section, and Quadrini emphasized that the designs for the building weren’t final. No word on when construction will actually begin.
The New 360 Smith Street: Better, Except For That Glass Tower! [PMFA]
Scarano Booted From Heavy Metal Job [GL]
Scarano Booted from Smith Street ‘Heavy Metal’ Job [Curbed]
Heavy Metal Architect Axed [NY Post]
360 Smith Developer Tries to Appease Carroll Gardens [Brownstoner]
Calls for Reining in Development at Carroll Gardens Meeting [Brownstoner] GMAP
360 Smith: Update and Review of New Plans [Brownstoner]


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  • I actually think it looks pretty good.

  • This particular shot is distorted and makes the building look much skinnier and taller than it will be. The photos on PMFA are closer to what was presented. Also, the “black wall” along the street will be some other color TBD. Some people won’t be happy with anything that isn’t a mock brownstone, but this is so much better than the original design. There is also a possibility of some kind of “services” on the corner, like a newsstand or shop.

  • Oh Willie – big mistake – don’t you realize you are dealing with a group that will be happy with nothing short of the status quo???? – despite their (fake but convenient) outrage over Eminent Domain, they think they have an ownership interest in YOUR property.
    Any $ you spend trying to gain community support will be wasted because the activists simply dont want you building (especially anything over 4 stories) period.
    Lucky for you the city seems to be on your side in this one – so spend your money getting the project moving – not trying to please the un-pleasable

  • This is not a case of eminent domain, so perhaps you are confusing this group with the anti-Ratner organizations. He’s gonna build 70 feet plus mechanics on top and that is the reality. This is a much nicer–and yes, contextual–design which preserves the public plaza. He did spend money switching architects but maybe that was not such a bad thing considering Scarano’s track record. There are some people who will continue to gripe but he chose to have a dialogue with people in the neighborhood (yes, not all, but those who showed up for meetings) so why are you second guessing him? He did it voluntarily.

  • So what it isnt called “Eminent Domain” – calling for new rules and regulations including downzoning, landmarking, and a moratorium on construction over 50 feet are all “takings” of private property rights. And so despite screaming about the unconstitutionality of ED out of one side of the mouth, these NIMBY’s then call for Government seizing of property rights from the other.
    The real issue to me is the inherent dishonesty of it. Just be real – say this is what we want and we are willing to change any rule, pressure any politician, and make any claim necessary to bring about the ends we want. I just find it so distasteful that these community groups try to wrap themselves up in the constitution and spew epithets at developers as if they arent trying to “game the system” same as everyone.

  • If there were not so many unethical cretinous developers in Brooklyn then they would not have so many epithets thrown at them. Show some moral fiber like Stein is at least attempting to do and perhaps the epithets would wane.

    I not crazy about this building, particularly don’t like the way it stands proud to the adjacent brownstones, or am I not seeing the rendering properly. No problem with the glass though. Still looks completely out of place at 70ft.

  • I agree 70′ is totally inappropriate on a corner lot on top of a subway station – 120′ (12 stories) is what is appropriate and “contextual”.

  • I would agree if the streets that intersect were truly wide, like Atlantic Avenue. But 2nd and Smith are not wide.

  • this scheme is actually quite handsome. out of scale, of course, but definitely better. so glad scarano got the boot. it’s a big step.

  • “not crazy about this building, particularly don’t like the way it stands proud to the adjacent brownstones”

    that’s a pretty revealing comment. it’s about “pride,” eh? god forbid that the brownstones should feel inadequate compared to a slightly taller neighbor down the street.

  • This is not bad in my opinion it looks good, but for this nabe i wish they would just stop it already and landmark the entire area with downzoning of course

  • 11:20 – above a subway station on Atlantic Avenue shouldn’t have any height restriction at all.
    Look Brooklyn Heights (with narrow streets) is filled with 12 story buildings (not on top of subways) and it still maintains its character. 12 stories is not a “skyscraper” – we must maximize the land around our mass transit in order to preserve the pedestrian friendly, urban living we all love as well as to protect the environment and discourage automobile use into the future.

  • “…we must maximize the land around our mass transit in order to preserve the pedestrian friendly, urban living we all love as well as to protect the environment and discourage automobile use into the future.” That’s very noble, but first we must “maximize” our transit system. The system is pretty much operating at capacity, and there’s nothing on the horizon to improve that. If anything, the opposite is happening. Witness the significant and pathetic failure of the Fulton St project in lower Manhattan, and the possible suspension of numerous capital improvement projects throughout the system.

  • but first we must “maximize” our transit system.

    The system is not “operating at capacity” but I agree that improvements and investment are necessary – but that is irrelevant for development – unless you are going to put a moratorium on building – the reality is that building denser on/near mass transit will always maximize mass transit use (whatever the capacity of the system is) and further whatever is built now will likely stand for decades if not centuries (assuming society lasts that long) and by building denser along the subway routes – you maximize the benefit for further increases in capacity (that will come from improvements like better signaling, automated trains, etc…)

  • The transit system is, indeed, operating at capacity as has been publicized in only the last 2-3 months. In fact, as the system currently exists, the transit authority admits its capacity cannot be increased. It would require the influx of billions of dollars for improvements and, more importantly, expansions, and that’s not going to happen any time soon given the dire circumstances of the authority’s budget.

  • “that’s a pretty revealing comment. it’s about “pride,” eh? god forbid that the brownstones should feel inadequate compared to a slightly taller neighbor down the street.”

    Its about good architectural choices. You have a building that is already out of context with its neighboring buildings and twice as big as anything on the block. Don’t you think that architect might want to try to aesthetically minimize feel of its scale so that it fits in better. Having the building stand proud makes it stick out that much more, takes away that much more light on the southern side of the building, which is where most of the light comes into these buildings. Not pride. Bad choices.

  • Not great but not terrible. The glass corner helps to lighten up the composition a bit. Contextual or not, if its eliminated, the perceived massivness of the structure will increase.

  • Also the “Oliver House” sign pictured in the rendering has got to go!

  • According to MTA statistics – the F line is operating at 79% of passenger load capacity and the G line is operating at 64% of passenger load capacity

    Essentially the old IRT express lines are maxed out (2,3,4,5) plus the E and the L – otherwise the subways can handle more capacity – and this doesnt take into consideration off-hour commuting etc…

  • I like it. They tried to do something the unimaginative cheapo Scarano never does, which is mix up the materials a bit. There’s so much more to do in that regard than we’ve seen from many of these architects. An all-brick or stone tall building is utterly cost prohibitive. I’m not even an engineer and I know THAT. Where’s the big mystery coming from when you guys question the glass/steel elements? It’s better for building tall buildings, that’s all. Try building a cast-iron or limestone-clad tall building in the year 2008, see how far you go with that proposal. As for context and height, you will never ever ever convince the city of New York to not build tall buildings anywhere in Brooklyn. Just accept the best places they should go, proximity to mass transit and the larger commercial streets being the most logical choice, and protect the rest of Brooklyn that does merit the protection.

  • Thank you guest 3:31 for finally pointing out the truth about the F and G capacity utilization. They are in the lower quintile of crowded trains in NYC. Still, the same politicians who shill for downzoning actually want to expand service on the F and G because they are so overcrowded. I’m for expanding the entire mass transit system but that won’t happen without big capital dollars, and lots of future customers. Customers that down-zoning will rob and mortgage recording tax dollars that will be capped by the same downzoning.

    Face it the NIMBYs really don’t need any stinking facts about mass transit, taxes, rents or property values. Just keep the new people out. Oh yeah, screw the factories too, forget about that “context” in this neighborhood.

  • so that mouthbreathing imbecile polemicist is posting as a guest now?

  • I find it incredibly annoying that people pass up perfectly fine other neighborhoods, insist on buying somewhere on the F line, then start whining about their commute and insisting the F line be improved before any other line in Brooklyn when there’s no reason why and the F is not as crowded as other trains. SO SO SO entitled.

    If you want a faster commute, don’t buy on the F! And if you do, just DEAL. It was your choice to buy where you did.

    The 2/3 line is so crowded many times I have had to stand there and wait for one, two, three trains to arrive before being able to squeeze myself on board. It’s awful.