Clearly timed to coincide with the upcoming election, The New York Times today tries to grade the effectiveness of Mayor Bloomberg’s pro-development strategy over the past eight years. They don’t say so explicitly, but it looks to us like the authors would not give it anything higher than, say, a C-. The article claims that the administration’s approach was based on the simple idea that the city needed to grow in order to both survive and thrive. So the mayor set out to create opportunities for developers and make it easier for them to finance their projects; to that end, more than a hundred neighborhoods, or one-fifth of the city, were rezoned and low-interest bonds were made much more accessible. (To be fair in recent years, there have been several rezoning initiatives to limit the scale of potential development.) The most visible change, the article notes, is not in Manhattan, where tall towers have always risen, but in outlying neighborhoods. The writers use City Point, the large-scale development project on the site of the former Albee Square Mall now set to receive $20 million in recovery bonds, and Downtown Brooklyn as a whole as Exhibit A in their case against Bloomberg’s vision, noting that the rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn was originally aimed at created new office towers and that none have materialized. Personally, we think it’s too early to pronounce Downtown Brooklyn a failure by any stretch. The mini building boom in the area, which gave Brooklyn one of its more interesting new pieces of architecture in the form of The Toren, should reach a tipping point this winter as two gigantic new rental buildings come online. The big test will then be whether or not a critical mass of the kinds of businesses that upscale residents want will follow: restaurants, gourmet food markets, wine stores, etc. That patient view is urged in the article by two not-impartial voices, former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and EDC head Seth Pinsky. For good or bad, the rezonings will probably be [the mayor's] most significant development legacy, said Jonathan Bowles, director of the Center for an Urban Future, an independent research group. They’ve never got as much attention as the large-scale development projects he was pushing, like the Olympic stadium, but the rezonings are what will ultimately transform a large chunk of the city. Developers will be rebuilding on these for years to come.
A Stalled Vision: Big Development as City’s Future [NY Times]
Politicians Consider Barclays Center for 2016 Democratic National Convention [CBS] Greenpoint’s Newtown Creek Boathouse Is Still in the Works [Curbed] City Council to Approve Domino, After a Final Negotiation [Capital New York] New Round of Rehab Begins on Ocean Parkway Mall [Sheepshead Bites] Million-Dollar Floor-Through Apartments: 777 Carroll Street [BK to the Fullest] The Long Transformation of the Brownstone at 132 2nd […]
Street safety advocates will have a chance to make their voices heard at two upcoming Vision Zero workshops in Brooklyn Heights and Flatbush. Anyone can attend and suggest street safety improvements, bike lanes, or slow zones in neighborhoods throughout Brooklyn. NYPD and DOT staff will split attendees into small discussion groups and use maps to […]
Brooklyn, one building at a time. Name: Semi-detached row houses Address: 1238-1254 Lincoln Place Cross Streets: Troy and Schenectady Avenues Neighborhood: Crown Heights North Year Built: late teens, early 1920s Architectural Style: Vaguely Mediterranean Architect: Unknown Landmarked: No The story: By the first two decades of the 20th century, housing was at a crossroads in […]
A San Francisco-based co-working space called Makeshift Society is opening a location in Williamsburg on the first two floors of a converted warehouse at 55 Hope Street. Makeshift’s Brooklyn spot occupies 4,000 square feet across both floors and offers 17-foot ceilings, open seating and dedicated studio desks. It will also have a creative tool lending library […]
Here the developers have gutted a small one-family and turned it into three small open-plan apartments, each with two bedrooms. (The listing says there’s an owner’s duplex, but going by the floor plan, it seems to be referring to the cellar.) Some charm still remains in the form of beautiful fireplaces and the exterior, which has […]