160 Imlay Finally Gets the Go-Ahead

After years of legal haggling, the developer of 160 Imlay Street in Red Hook can proceed with his plan to convert the huge warehouse into a mixed-use building with residential and retail. An appellate panel recently upheld the variance given to Bruce Batkin way back in 2003 to convert the warehouse; for the past four years, that variance has been challenged in court by a Red Hook coalition that opposed the project on the grounds that it would kill the neighborhood’s industrial character. An article in the Brooklyn Eagle quotes the appellate majority decision as saying that Imlay will suffer great prejudice if the variance is vacated. In a press release (see copy on jump), the developer says his team is “reviewing all…options for proceeding with this exciting project.” Reached by phone on Friday, Batkin gave the impression he was ready to pick up where he’d left off, despite the less-than-perfect market and financing environment.
Case Dismissed Against Red Hook Residential Development [Brooklyn Eagle]
160 Imlay Street: A Sacrificial Lamb? [Brownstoner] GMAP

Press release:




An appellate panel in Brooklyn last week upheld the city’s 2003 action in granting a variance to a proposed commercial-residential development in a long-vacant warehouse at 160 Imlay Street near the new cruise ship port on the Red Hook waterfront.

We are grateful that at long last a court has upheld the action taken more than four years ago by the Board of Standards and Appeals and we are reviewing all our options for proceeding with this exciting project, said Bruce Batkin, the principal developer in a group that won the variance to develop the 97-year-old storage facility.

In December 2003, the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals voted to allow the developer to convert the vacant six-story industrial building into a combination residential-commercial complex. Plans called for creating 144 apartments on the top four floors, with the bottom two floors dedicated to commercial uses, potentially including artists’ studios.

Opponents brought a lawsuit challenging the B.S.A. ruling, which led to four years of litigation, including an earlier appeal in which the state’s highest court remanded it to the lower court for a new hearing. The Appellate Division’s ruling last week upholds the BSA ruling.

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  • Finally, some good news for Red Hook.

  • I’m not sure a isolated and gated enclave of rich people in Red Hook is such a good. I know some RH homeowners see it as a panacea, but I’m skeptical. It’s been my experience that these are not kind of people that will engage in community issues such as improving mass transit and the local schools. Also, to bad there’s no affordable housing component.

  • of course they are not going to try to improve local schools – look at the horrible mess that has happened in williamsburg where they tried that, charges of racism, elitism etc etc, got really nasty.

    Theres plenty of affordable housing in RH.

  • Great news for Red Hook. I love that area. I was in Fairway yesterday it was packed.

  • Just my point – there are tons of places for rich people to live in NYC. Why Red Hook? Also, there’s lot of NYCHA housing in Red Hook, but save for 5th Ave Committee projects, very few affordable homeownership programs.

  • Does this mean the cops will allow me to rollerblade on the nicely paved entrance to the cruise terminal again? Asshats.

  • Why Red Hook? Because this is fantastic industrial scale building with some of the most beautiful waterfront views in the city. Put a water taxi stop there and you have convenient access to Manhattan. They are not going to get Dumbo “rich people” prices for these places but I think the intrepid New Yorker’s it will attract will bring a much needed burst of energy to the neighborhood.

  • Amen, 12:18 PM.

    As a Red Hook resident, I agree that we need a burst of energy in the neighborhood. I don’t understand why people don’t want this area to thrive a little bit. I mean I love how quiet and unique it is here, but only having a few options for restaurant choices (without having to go to Carroll Gardens, etc.) and other neighborhood amenities, kind of sucks sometimes. I love LIVING in my neighborhood and just wish some new stuff would come in … in my mind, utillizing 160 Imlay would bring in some new people and hopefully some more new businesses would come in.