Norten Design for BAM is Resurrected by Two Trees

Hey, remember this rendering? It bears more than a passing resemblance to the Enrique Norten/TEN Arquitectos design for the $135 million library that was supposed to be built in the BAM Cultural District. While those plans were scrapped last spring, the Sun is reporting that a glassy Norton building may yet rise on the lot where the library was slated to go. The new plans come via Two Trees, who want to develop a 371,000-square-foot building with 180 units of housing and 187,000 square feet of commercial space, with some of the latter set aside for community arts organizations. Two Trees would buy the site from the city for $20 million and transfer a nearby lot on Ashland Place, between Lafayette Avenue and Hanson, to BAM, which would use the property to build administrative offices and a 263-seat community and educational theater. All of this still needs city approval in order to happen.
Mixed-Use Facility Planned For Brooklyn Cultural District [NY Sun]
No Norten for BAM? [Brownstoner]
Rendering from The Sun.

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  • this is FANTASTIC news! really fantastic

  • presumably the city is already basically on board, right, or the deal could not have been structured??

  • Wow, this would be great. Along with atlantic yards, this could help give Brooklyn its own Times Square.

  • Anyone know how many stories will this project be?

  • With Brooklyn Bridge Park, Willoughby Square Park, City Point, the new Towers on Flatbush, the Streetscape project, the BAM Cultural District and Atlantic Yards, Brooklyn will be one of greatest cities in America if not the world…no joke…

  • Uh – and this sentence from the article seems to indicate that the corner of Ashland and Lafayette will be affordable housing.

    “In other changes in the development plans, Theatre for a New Audience has agreed to shift its building to a mid-block site from the corner of Lafayette Avenue and Ashland Place in order to allow the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to use the site for affordable housing.”

  • 9:55, what do you expect from Tish James….she’s an idiot. Her whole existence is predicated by the continued prevalence of the low income people in neighborhood. Gentrification is her worst enemy, because that means she goes “bye-bye”. And before everybody goes, nuclear…I’m a black resident of the neighborhood and I’ve lived in University Towers since ’94…I’ve seen the whole cycle…just calling it like it is..

  • Tish James goes bye bye soon anyway because of term limits…

  • If Tish James’ constituents are primarily low income people- who do you suggest she represent? The people with money who want to move here? her job is to represent the community as a whole- which is a difficult balancing act- she may not represent your interests specifically- but she certainly is looking out for the community at large.

  • Yes, 10:27, her job is to respresent the whole community, as you say, only she does not do that. She represents the low-income brackett and ignores the rest, especially if they have moved to the area over the past five years. Her newsletter is filled with activities aimed at long-time, lower-income residents and none for the newer arrivals. Her hatred of the latter (unless they oppose AY) is palpable.

  • While this is good news, I hope that they make room for an elementary school in this space. Too many families with kids moving to the area, not enough first rate k-8 schools for all of them.

  • The space in the Walentas tower is for BAM — more movie theatres and party space for them. This sudden announcement that space will be provided community based, diverse arts group is total b.s. in response to Tish James’ grandstanding

  • this building would be great!

  • 10:17,10:37 nails it. Can’t wait to vote her out.

  • Tish James is not term limited in 2009. Her first term filled out the remainder of slain councilman James Davis and doesn’t count in the two term limit. Providing Tish wins her primary in 2009, she could represent this neighborhood in the city council until 2013!

    as for political orientation, she is the only Working Families Party member in the entire city council…. and campaigned on a platform of looking out for the little guy.

  • Theater for a New Audience has been moved twice now. This was supposed to be a cultural district, and now all the cultural plans are being shoved in the corner and the largest, most visible spaces are going to commercial developers.

  • Am I the only person who has noticed that for a measly $26.5 million dollars, two Two Trees is getting land that should be worth a around $65 million dollars? For the $20 million they are paying the city plus the lot worth $6.5 million they are transferring to BAM, they will be getting land with 371,000 buildable square feet. At an average market value of $150-$175 a square foot for a lot like this it would be worth $65 million dollars on the open market. Two Trees will be paying the equivalent of only $71 a buildable square foot for space that is predominantly valuable residential and commercial space.

    Why doesn’t the city ask for RFPs for this space, or open up it up to competitive bidding? The people getting short changed on this deal are us, the taxpayers. As mayor, Michael Bloomberg has sure pushed through a lot of projects that seem to benefit private developers more than the taxpayers.

  • Any word on which specific parcel Two Trees is also swapping to the city for this land? It’s not listed in the article, and I was not previously aware that Two Trees owned any land in the area.

  • zinka: Two Trees purchased the Salvation Army site on Ashland and transferred it to BAM. They are building an annex there. Walentas is on BAM’s board.

  • 11:52 – thanks for the info.

    Do you know anything about the additional changes between Lafayette and Fulton? If affordable housing is moving to the TFANA site, is this the Full Spectrum project moving, or additional affordable housing that wasn’t previously planned?

    This whole project has had an unbelievable number of changes in plans. At this point I think they just need to pick something and stick with it.

  • this would be a fine complement to the AY development. the manhattan bridge to vanderbilt flatbush/atlantic stretch is going to be magnificent 15 years from now.

  • Its hard to have much confidence in the BAM LDC at this point. Eight years in and still nothing to show but the Fort Greene Farmer’s Market.

  • “Hey, remember this rendering? It bears more than a passing resemblance to the Enrique Norten/TEN Arquitectos design for the $135 million library that was supposed to be built in the BAM Cultural District.” Actually, it bears more than a passing resemblance…it is the original rendering. The glass building on the left is TFANA, in the first of what is now three sites.

    Eleven-ay-em makes a good point. I note that the director of TFANA seems none too pleased with the newest site for the theater, but doesn’t want to rock the boat.

    1:13, the BAM LDC was absorbed into the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and the pace has picked up since then. Of course, at the same time, I am sure we have the partnership to thank for the kind of questionable deal-making that Shahn decries at 11:17.

  • Great news to keep going with the plan to make it a cultural district. Space for arts organizations would be awesome.

  • $150-$170 per bsf? Keep dreaming. No real developer, capable of actually building that project would ever pay that. Two Trees is paying the right price.

  • Even if Shahn’s numbers are wack, why isn’t this subject to an RFP? Cause Tish got whatever she was asking for so there ain’t nobody locally holding the city accountable?

  • 2:32 — I bet that pledge to give space to community arts groups will vaporize when James’s latest rant blows over. BAM is the only org that will get anything out of this.

  • Guest 2:20, this really isn’t that large a project. It would still be completely viable if the developer paid market for the site. You may believe that any reasonably-sized project has to get a sweetheart deal from the City to be built, but the truth is that most projects aren’t given away for a song.

    Clearly you are one of the people that believes that the great “Atlantic Yards Swindle” was just the city and state doing good business.

    A scant few blocks away from this site, Massey Knakal has a nice development site for sale for $20,000,000 that has a maximum buildable square footage of 116,508. It’s for sale on the open market and is in the range of what Two Trees is paying for their development site, but it’s less than one-third of the buildable square footage.

    Two Trees may be paying the right price for themselves, but they definitely aren’t paying market. Insider deals are fine when the City isn’t the seller and our tax dollars aren’t the subsidy.

  • To the person who made the Time Square comment at 9:30 – I don’t know if you were joking or not, but that’s just what I was thinking. Brooklyn’s own Time Square. But who’d want to live there? Don’t get me wrong. I know a buch of people probably will, but all that traffic would drive me bonkers.

    Cool building, however. I’d love to see it built.

  • Couple of questions:

    1. Is this rendering above of the new building? It looks just like the old one – are they using the same design?

    2. If they will be using a tower instead of the rendering above, is there any concern that it would cover one of Brooklyn’s oldest landmarks, the clocktower? How tall would they go?

  • The BK Visual & Perf Arts Library was designed to be 8 stories tall and 110,000 sq ft. Two Trees’ new design is 371,000 sq ft. And on that little triangular plot, the only way to accomodate another 261,000 sq ft is to build up. The building’s height will likely rival the Williamsburgh Savings Bank tower. Poor Willie The Clock! He never gets any respect. Not from Ratner. Not from the Walentas. Does anybody care about Willie?

  • Tish James may have campaigned for the little guy, but those were empty promises as evidenced in her extreme rent hikes at her property on 296 Lafayette. Though professionals such as me don’t count as low income renters, the remaining tenants certainly fell into that bracket. Her dwelling was a revolving door of tenants due to her yearly 10% rent hikes. The only promise she has fulfilled was that of greedy politician and ne’er do well community advocate. I’m hoping she has opposition that represents the needs of the entire community, one that keeps harmony between the gentrifiers and the low income residents. Her divisive rhetoric helps no one in the community. End her ride on the coat-tails of the impoverished and the downtrodden, petition to get a viable candidate on the ballot.

    Camille Hyatt