Site for Glassy PLG Tower Hits the Market

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The site once slated for a glassy, 20-story development in PLG overlooking Prospect Park is now being marketed for sale or for joint venture. The still-empty lot had approved plans for 86 residential units as well as retail space, but met protest back in 2008. (Remember concerns about unsuspecting birds smashing into the glass walls?) Now it looks like things have fizzled out. “We completely acknowledge that the award winning plans are ambitious for today’s market conditions and may have to be amended to accommodate a more modest rental project,” said the project’s broker, who also suggested the possibility of repositioning the proposed condo development for a rental product ready by 2013 or 2014. GMAP

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  • That’s a perfect location for a high-rise building, right next to the subway and the park. What were the protests about? It would bring some density and retail support in a lot abutting above-ground subway tracks. What’s not to like?

  • That thing is way too tall. I like how you can sit in the fields of the Nethermead in Prospect Park and not see any buildings and pretend you’re in the middle of a Forest. It’s pretty much the only area where you can’t see any of the buildings on the outside of the park and it should stay that way. Prospect Park was designed to be this way throughout but that was ruined once the high rise buildings went up along the northern, eastern and southern borders of the park.

  • That building is so out of place in this area. I hope it never get built.

  • Maly- what’s not to like? what about the people who have to live behind it in a 3 story home? It’s so easy to be in favor of something when you’re not the one who has to deal with all the crap. Putting a HUGE luxurious building in the center of a low income area is not always the answer. That area is doing fine on its own. It’s changed so much, for the better, over the past 20 years and It’s only getting nicer.

  • What’s not to like is everything Johnny says above, combined with the crying need for affordable housing here, not luxury condos. A nice, clean, in-scale rental or mixed condo-rental building, ideally with a mix of affordable and market-rate units and some decent retail on the lower levels (maybe a gym on the second floor? I heard the Maple Street School, the local co-operative preschool now located on th eother side of the subway entrance, was in talks for a location in the former building – that could also be great) would be most welcome. And, yes, birds smashing into glass towers is a major concern, especially so close to Prospect Park, a major migratory throughway.

  • errr babs:

    “We completely acknowledge that the award winning plans are ambitious for today’s market conditions and may have to be amended to accommodate a more modest rental project,”

  • it’s not okay for birds to hit the glass walls of a building, but it’s okay to euthanize hundreds of geese 100feet away? tell those opposed to this project to focus on the geese.

    i think this would have been a beautiful addition to that side of the park. it would bring much expected amenities. would definitely accelerate the gentrification of the area, but that’s another topic…

  • The only valid objection is that of the immediate neighbors, but even then, I would think the positive outweigh the negative:
    - more “luxury” housing will lessen the pressure on prices in older apartment buildings; how many units would be built in this tower? 120? They would be gleaming and new, cheaper than on the Park Slope side, and would actually bring prices down on unrenovated units in the neighborhood.
    - higher residential density near the subway stop is ideal: it creates more retail and supports existing restaurants and shops, more safety, more services for subway riders.
    -in this instance there is an empty lot which brings nothing; creating a few affordable housing units with tax dollars is more wasteful than letting private money create high-end units (whether rentals or condos) and remove the pressure on existing tenants.
    - for the birds, it seems that if they can avoid OPP, they should be able to fly above this thing too.

  • Actually, apparently birds haven’t been avoiding OPP: http://www.brownstoner.com/brownstoner/archives/2009/02/man_versus_bird.php And I understand, hipster, that (thank goodness!) that glass monstrosity is dead; I was responding to Maly’s comments in favor of it.

  • “And I understand, hipster, that (thank goodness!) that glass monstrosity is dead; I was responding to Maly’s comments in favor of it.”

    Word! Unfortunately I bet that glass monstrosity looks way better than whatever will get built instead. Kinda sad that its either fancy glass condos or shitty rental buildings when it comes to new construction.

  • “- more “luxury” housing will lessen the pressure on prices in older apartment buildings; how many units would be built in this tower? 120? They would be gleaming and new, cheaper than on the Park Slope side, and would actually bring prices down on unrenovated units in the neighborhood.”

    This is what I assumed would have happened in my neck of the woods in North Brooklyn with the huge amount ‘luxury’ rentals coming on the market. Unrenovated units ended up staying the same and the new stuff ended up renting for insane amounts.

    120 units probably won’t be a game changer in PLG – this building will probably end up being populated with displaced folks from gentrified neighborhoods looking to get a little more for their money.

  • There have been some successful and not terrible-looking mixed-use buildings recently — see Atlantic Terrace (where 2 people I know who were selected in the lottery refused to move due to its proximity to AY, but that’s another story – I hear they’re on the third round of lottery draws there because so many people have said no to living across from Ratner’s hellhole) or any of the various PACC new builds and renovations. Something like that would be ideal and is my hope. As for the spuriousness of Maly’s other comments, d_h, you are right on – who needs to build fugly rental buildings for the already-bourgeois now priced out of PS, Williamsburg, at al?

  • You’re right about 120 units not changing much, but the price pressure only gets worse if density doesn’t increase. Look at landmarked areas: beautiful links to history and tight lids on housing units. We do need more units and where else to build high tower than on desolate lots near subways? That’s why Oro and Toren and OPP are perfect where they are: at the edge of landmarked low-rise buildings, next to subway stops. It’s antithetical to bemoan the lack of affordable housing and be firmly anti high-density housing.

  • This is not a place for high-density housing – medium-density would be just fine, thanks. And none of the buildings you mention sits directly next to an open-cut subway station. The Prospect Park subway stop sits out in the open, with the lot in question directly abutting it. Oro and Toren are both relatively far (see previous discussions here about the cold walk down Flatbush to the Dekalb Ave. stop), while the closest stops to Richard Meier are by the Brooklyn Museum and on the other side of Eastern Parkway. That is another reason a structure of this size is inappropriate for this location.

  • Oops, I meant the other side of GAP, although the Brooklyn Museum/Eastern Parkway stop is the other side of Eastern Parkway as well.

  • How can you think that there is not enough rental stock in PLG and decry high-density housing in the same breath? And why would an open subway station be less desirable for such a project, when in fact it’s the exact opposite? Low-rise housing next to open tracks is not exactly desirable. This is what makes this lot perfect for high-rise, just like being at the intersection of Flatbush/bridge traffic/downtown makes it a perfect location for high-rise buildings. My point is that particular location is even better than Oro or Toren as it is right by the subway, and the tracks are coming above ground. You seem to be saying that the very proximity to the subway tracks makes a high-rise undesirable.
    You were posting yesterday about investor landlords who are churning RS apartments to get to destabilize units; how better to remove demand than by building new rentals? and where better to locate high-rise buildings than next to open tracks?

  • The mere weight of such a large structure on that site next to a flimsy-looking retaining wall separating it from the subway tracks alone makes it a safety hazard. That’s why test drilling for the original proposed structure was held off until a proper site evaluation could be conducted (thank you DOB, for once). The demand is for $1000 one bedrooms, NOT high-priced new construction. Check out prices at the new rental buildings around downtown/Fort Greene. Not the answer. And high-density affordable doesn’t work, unless you can get to 60/40 market/affordable – otherwise, you’re just building new projects, and I think everyone will agree that model doesn’t work (why all new 100% affordable buildings are low- to medium-rise).

    And PS, as a semi-immediate neighbor, I’m thrilled (not) you think my arguments have some validity, and I will continue to do my darndest to keep anything out of scale out of my neighborhood.

  • We live a few blocks away from this site and take the subway at this station. We love our neighborhood and look forward to continued organic change that slowly transforms it as the population mix is altered. What we don’t want is a big-bucks infusion in the hopes of creating another Park Slope. This is the largest potential site in the immediate area and could have too big an impact.

    A mixed affordable/market building of no more than 12 stories, done with classical taste would be so very welcome but seems unlikely given the market (even today’s market).

  • I think I’m with the camp that doesn’t see anything wrong with this building that isn’t also wrong with One PPW.

  • good, I’m glad…. i am sick of all these high rises already.

    ugh !!! Gimme a nice 4 story brick tenement anyday !!

  • Here, here, LM – but I don’t think a mixed development is any less likely than luxury condos or rentals here, especially considering the city’s purported initiative to build and rehabilitate affordable housing in NYC. There may actually be more government than private funds available at the moment, especially as lenders consider the community opposition to the proposed structure – yes, the market turndown and Henry Herbst’s financial problems had a lot to do with the project’s derailment, but local protests played their part, and this adds another risk factor to any financing proposals. Bruce Ratner may be able to buy everyone from the Governor on down, but not any developer likely to come here.

    And you may be right, Heather, but On Prospect Park (the official name, as One PPW it isn’t and One Prospect Park, which they wanted initially, was turned down by the city) is already built and this isn’t. So that isn’t an excuse not to stand up against it.

  • The visibility of this palace of conspicuous consumption from within Prospect Park would have been an offense to Olmsted and Vaux’s plan to create an illusion of tranquil countryside–a plan (and an illusion) that are integral to the park’s genius. The bloated bubble has burst, and grotesqueries like this are the soap scum it has left behind, and I say, hurray! Hope something decent, contextual, and accessible to working-class residents gets built there soon.

  • Or as I said at the time (yes, Brenda, tell us what you really think!):

    http://ayearinthepark.typepad.com/prospect_a_year_in_the_pa/2008/03/lost-horizon.html