05/23/12 9:00am

We’ve tried to pull together all the coverage from media outlets that pertains to the release of last night’s traffic plan for the Barclays Center, as can be seen in the links below. Here are the main points, as we understand them:
1. “You’ll want to think twice, or maybe even a third time, before deciding to drive to Barclays Arena when it opens on September 28. The parking plan for Barclays is being cut from 1,000 to 541 spots”. -WNYC
2. “The conundrum that Samuel I. Schwartz, the traffic engineering expert, faced was this: How could the already jam-packed streets in the heart of Brooklyn accommodate thousands of extra cars filled with fans traveling to a basketball arena and desperately searching for parking? His answer, revealed on Tuesday to a panel of Brooklyn officials with all the flourish and detail of a general planning to storm the beaches of Normandy, was to discourage driving entirely, by cutting the number of parking spaces at the Barclays Center in half.” -NY Times
3. “While the MTA and LIRR will add transit service after Barclays Center events to encourage use of the adjacent transit hub, and arena operators are trying hard to educated and encourrage event-goers to use such transit, the long-delayed Transportation Demand Management plan released today by developer Forest City Ratner still left arena neighbors worried.” -AY Report
4. “Those residents learned that the city won’t be granting their request for residential parking permits any time soon. The New York City Department of Transportation’s Christopher Hrones said his agency is still studying the issue…He added that even if the city were to approve a parking permit program, it would need permission from the state, and that takes time.” – Transportation Nation

And there you have it: Public transportation will be promoted, there will be far fewer parking spaces than initially anticipated, and no residential parking permits anytime soon.
Traffic Plan for a Brooklyn Arena Cuts Parking Slots by Half [NY Times]
Live Blogging: Barclays Center Traffic Mitigation Plan Public Meeting [Patch]
Barclays Fouls Out on Plan to Provide MetroCards [NY Post]
In Plan For Barclays Center, Parking Slashed By Half [WNYC]
Arena Transportation Plan Released [AY Report]
Meeting on TDM Plan is Cordial, Constructive, and Frustrating [AY Report]

05/23/12 8:25am

Gun Violence Fear Stalks East Flatbush and East New York [NY Daily News]
Brooklyn Wins Big in Preservation Grant Contest [Eagle]
Urban Farming Returns to its Brooklyn Roots [Eagle]
Zombies Invade Brooklyn (Again) This Sunday [Gothamist]
What Stalled the Greenification of ‘Burg and Greenpoint? [BK11211]
 and Sour: Milk Bar Carroll Gardens [L Mag]
Growth and Gardens on Franklin [ILFA]
On the Wythe Hotel and Williamsburg [NYO]

05/22/12 9:30am

Via press release:

An agreement reached [yesterday] will provide for the expansion of Brooklyn Bridge Park and for the preservation of historic structures at the Park, substituting new parkland for any lost if regulatory approvals are secured to re-use the structures for other cultural or commercial purposes. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation, Brooklyn Heights Association, Fulton Ferry Landing Association, New York Landmarks Conservancy, Preservation League of New York State, and St. Ann’s Warehouse, a non-profit Brooklyn-based performing arts organization, have settled a disagreement over the process for developing part of the park, which houses two historically significant structures. The Agreement – which resulted from litigation brought by the Brooklyn Heights Association, the Fulton Ferry Landing Association, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, and the Preservation League of New York State — will require state legislation and National Park Service approval to effectuate any development and re-use of the structures. Subsequent to this agreement, State Senator Daniel Squadron and Assemblywoman Joan Millman secured an additional community planning process and expanded community participation. The agreement will allow for the preservation and adaptive re-use of the historic Empire Stores as a mixed-use retail and commercial development that will provide vital revenue to help fund Brooklyn Bridge Park’s operation and maintenance costs. These improvements will restore the Empire Stores, which is currently in deteriorated condition and closed to the public. The agreement also sets the stage for the preservation of the Tobacco Warehouse and starts a process to secure regulatory approval for re-use of that structure as a cultural and community-use venue. Redevelopment of the Tobacco Warehouse would create a theater space, an outdoor public garden, and a community room for use by schools, community organizations and the public. St. Ann’s Warehouse has been conditionally designated as the lessee of the Tobacco Warehouse.

The Daily News has a translation of the news in English that is comprehensible: “Under the settlement, the St. Ann’s plan, which includes a theater space and an outdoor garden, will be able to go forward – eventually. First, city officials will have to get state legislation and approval from the National Parks Service for the development, expected to take about a year. The city will move the paint shed and water meter testing facility currently located under the bridge and turn it into part of the park, a Bloomberg spokeswoman said.” Here’s hoping this all works out.
Brooklyn Bridge Park to Expand Under Deal to Settle Tobacco Warehouse Lawsuit [NY Daily News]

05/22/12 8:33am

Wanting to Smoke at Home, and Facing Hurdles in Apartment Hunt [NY Times]
Taxi Panel May Raise Fares Up to 20 Percent [NY Times]
Williamsburg Charter Argues Bias Led to Closing Decision [Schoolbook]
Terminal Tower, Cleveland HQ of Forest City Enterprises, has Overdue Loan [AY Report]
Questions About Arena’s Transportation Demand Management Plan [AY Watch]
New Yorkers Think Skinny People Are Happier, More Successful [Runnin’ Scared]

05/21/12 2:00pm

A string of storefronts on Classon Avenue beginning at Lincoln Place and running toward Eastern Parway have been renovated, and almost all have new tenants now. The photo above is a few weeks old, but it shows the storefront for Colour Me Silly, a paint-your-own pottery shop that has been open for at least a couple of weeks and has long lines of kids and parents waiting to get in on weekends. Directly to the north, a barbershop opened about a month ago. GMAP

Sometimes real estate is just darn weird: City records filed last week show that the building at 385 Union Avenue, in Williamsburg, sold for $20 million. The new development, which is a rental, has some units available, according to StreetEasy. What’s odd about this deal is that the city deed shows the property selling as “INDUSTRIAL BUILDING,” and a check of Department of Buildings records doesn’t show a certificate of occupancy for residential use. Is this because city records are not up to date, or is something else going on here? Who knows.
385 Union Avenue 25% Rented [Brownstoner] GMAP

The vacant lot at 538 Washington Avenue in Clinton Hill, close to the corner of Fulton, has found a buyer. Here’s the word on the deal from brokerage TerraCRG, which handled the transaction: “TerraCRG, Brooklyn’s commercial brokerage and advisory firm announced today the sale of the development site at 538 Washington Avenue in Clinton Hill. The approx. 25 ft x 129 ft vacant lot is located on Washington Avenue between Fulton Street and Atlantic Avenue and has a mixed zoning of C2-4/R6B/R7A. The development site has approved plans for a five story, eight unit residential building with plans by Scarano Architects. The footing on the site was installed to qualify for 421-A tax abatement. The plans call for an approx. 9,767 Sq. Ft. building (12,943 Sq. Ft. including the basement) with 1 studio, 3 one bedrooms, 2 two bedrooms and 2 three bedroom apartments, all with outdoor space. The property was sold for $860,000 or $88 per buildable Sq. Ft. (based on the approved plans Sq. Ft.) to a developer who plans to continue the project. TerraCRG represented both the seller and buyer in the transaction.” It’s always good news to hear that a vacant lot will soon be home to a building. GMAP

05/21/12 10:00am

In a couple of weeks, a converted Park Slope building at 397 First Street, close to the corner of Sixth Avenue, will launch condo sales. While the building is still very much under gut renovation, it will have eight units: Seven two-bedrooms and one garden duplex. The asking prices will range from $829,000 to $1,279,000. Pros: A lot of historical details are being preserved, and it is zoned for P.S. 321. Meanwhile, updates to the kitchen and new security systems are being put into place. There’s also going to be a common space for bikes and strollers. The developers are East River Partners LLC, and Corcoran is handling the sales and marketing. We had the rare opportunity to witness the gut renovation in progress late last week; click through for some photos.
397 First Street GMAP (more…)

05/21/12 9:30am

As anyone who reads Brownstoner regularly knows, the very-long held plans for the transformation of Downtown Brooklyn are in the midst of being realized, and perhaps nothing short of historic for future students of urban history. This weekend, the New York Times took a look at how stuff is changing in the area. This is how the article ends:

That said, however, other residents say the designation may reflect a growing awareness of Downtown as special and worth preserving from the next crush of development. For proof of people’s newfound attachment to the place, look no farther than the sidewalks. Years ago they were empty on Saturdays and Sundays, after the courts adjourned. But the shoppers, tourists and bicyclists now punctuating them “give the area a bit more life on weekends,” said Serafin Piñol-Roma, who moved here in 2005. In 2005, he bought a one-bedroom in Concord Village, a multibuilding co-op with more than 1,000 units. Last year he traded up to a two-bedroom, for which he paid $444,000. An instructor of cell biology at City College in Upper Manhattan, he used to keep to Manhattan for entertainment as well. But he has recently embraced Brooklyn. “It took a little time to cut the umbilical cord,” was how he phrased it.

Downtown Brooklyn is a neighborhood in its own right now, is the point. The questions are: Where are the schools and groceries?
To the Heights and the Slope, Add ‘Downtown’ [NY Times]
Photo by tracktwentynine