10/24/14 10:00am

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The zoning review that Community Board 9 asked City Planning to conduct of parts of Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Crown Heights is going forward after a failed attempt to rescind it at a community board meeting last month. The zoning review covers half of District 9, including Flatbush Avenue, pictured above, where a 23-story development is rising as-of-right, and Empire Boulevard, some blocks of which are currently zoned only for commercial and not residential, Laura Imperiale, first vice chair of Community Board 9, told us.

At issue is limiting high-rise development to preserve the character and affordability of the neighborhood. A number of community groups, including PPEN, have called for limits on high-rise development in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Community group MTOPP opposes both high-rise development and any rezoning of Empire Boulevard.

The board conducted several meetings with community groups and had a community listening session in March, consolidated the comments, created a resolution requesting a study, and sent in the request to City Planning in March. After that, there was one meeting of the community board and City Planning. Now the board is waiting for City Planning to conduct the study, said Imperiale. The board would have liked a broader study of the entire district, but the city said it did not have the resources, and “we only get so many bites at the apple for this,” she said.

The resolution, which has been posted on CB9′s website, asked for zoning to preserve the “existing character of the neighborhood,” specifically to “prevent/limit of context i.e. high-rise development in the R7-1 zoned areas of the district.” It also asked for “opportunities for affordable housing development” to “protect residents from displacement” and “identify areas for inclusionary zoning.” It requested increased density along transit and commercial corridors, and specifically asked that Empire Boulevard be rezoned to permit residential development — “allow contextual mixed-use developments along commercial corridors, including Empire Boulevard.”

MTOPP disrupted last month’s community board meeting and passed a resolution calling for the zoning study request to be rescinded, but then it turned out the resolution had not been passed after all. They also sued the board to get a copy of the board’s bylaws, which are also now posted on the board’s website.  

The zoning study is not on the agenda of the next board meeting, but Imperiale said she expects MTOPP to bring it up anyway. 

She also expects City Planning will hold community forums about District 9 zoning in the coming year, she said. Any events will be posted on the Community Board 9 website in advance.

Chaos at Community Board 9 Meeting on Empire Boulevard Rezoning Tuesday [Brownstoner]

10/24/14 9:00am

After years of legal and financial woes, New York City’s last public bath building, completed in 1910, has been snapped up at auction by developer Greystone for $7,600,000, DNAinfo reported. Landmarked in 1982, the building at 227 4th Avenue has in recent years been used as a private arts, events and community space known as the Lyceum.

Greystone told DNAinfo it would not comment on its plans for the building until the close of the sale in 60 days. There are windows all around so apartments would be possible, but the entire space is only 12,200 square feet inside. The building’s FAR would allow a total of 33,060 square feet on the site, but its landmark status is likely to prevent any additions. The developer could carve out 10 or so luxury condos, but unless Landmarks allows a modern addition on the roof, our guess is it will become a mall, office space, or a big box store.

A lien for $5.05 million led to the foreclosure sale, Here’s Park Slope reported earlier this week.

The photo of the building partly shrouded in netting in 2012, above, does not show the Renaissance Revival building’s elaborate terra cotta detail, which includes dolphins, urns of flowing water, and images of Triton, the father of the sea-god Poseidon. It was designed by architect Raymond F. Almirall.

What would you like to see in this space?

Developer Buys Landmarked Brooklyn Lyceum for $7.6M at Foreclosure Auction [DNA] GMAP
Brooklyn Lyceum in Foreclosure, Being Auctioned Today [Here's Park Slope]
Lyceum Coverage [Brownstoner]

10/24/14 8:30am

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Doctor With Ebola Rode L Train, Went Bowling in Williamsburg [NY Times]
Michelle Williams Looking to Stay in Brooklyn [NY Post]
CityTarget to Take Space in CityPoint in Downtown Brooklyn [NY Daily News]
Walking Tour Through Sunset Park [Curbed]
Here’s What Williamsburg Looks Like When You’re Sleeping [Gothamist]
SL Green Joins Jared Kushner’s Big Gowanus Project [TRD]
Police Investigate Recurring Drug Deals and Prostitution in Clinton Hill [DNA]
Williamsburg Apartments Starting at $640 Per Month in Housing Lottery [DNA]

10/23/14 1:30pm

142 A Hull StreetCombo

This little two-family at 142 A Hull Street has been unfortunately over-renovated to our way of thinking, but even so it appears to be in move-in condition with a relatively low price tag for Brooklyn these days.

It’s set up as a top-floor rental over a three-bedroom duplex. The facade is mostly intact and we like the quirky offset window and the Neo-Grec detail.

The house is located in Ocean Hill close to the Broadway Junction subway station. The ask is $719,000. Do you think it might make a good investment property?

142 A Hull Street [Halstead] GMAP

10/23/14 11:30am

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Did anyone catch this essay in The New York Daily News, called “Goodbye, My Bed Stuy”? The writer, a black man who grew up in Bed Stuy and is a journalism professor at Brooklyn College, laments the growing number of whites moving into Bed Stuy and the rising rents, which are pricing out longtime black renters in the neighborhood.

He mentions that Bed Stuy is mostly townhouses, which means most units aren’t rent regulated. He also says part of the problem is investors who are purchasing homes “as bundles.” We haven’t heard of that, but we think he is referring to investors buying townhouses in the area to rent out. (Incidentally, a building he mentions as an example of landlord harassment is in Crown Heights, not Bed Stuy.)

What do you think of the essay?

10/23/14 9:30am

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Developers are keeping the new construction townhouses coming in Brooklyn. The latest to hit the market is 4 Wythe Lane, one of six single-family townhouses under construction at South 4th Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg. Two other houses in the complex, No. 5 and No. 6, already have contracts out, according to BuzzBuzzHome, which was the first to report on the listing. There are no listings up except for No. 4, although renderings and floor plans have gone up on the development’s website. Halstead is handling the sales.

Developed by KUB Capital on a former scrap metal site and designed by KUB Design and SZ Projects, the townhouses will have a modern look. The four-story house at No. 4 will have a total of 3,775 square feet with four bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths. It is 16 feet wide, and there is a 25-foot deep garden. It’s asking $3,995,000.

That’s a significantly bigger number than the last Williamsburg townhouses to hit the market. The 12 Williamsburg Social Townhouses on North 3rd between Berry and Bedford started at $2,380,000 when they debuted in 2013.

We doubt construction is very far along yet, since demo of the old G&C Salvage Corp. scrap metal facility at 55-59 South 4th Street was scheduled to start in August. The site abuts “Site E” of the Domino Sugar development, until recently a temporary public park, which will be the first under construction.

Click through for renderings. A floor plan can be viewed here. What do you think of the design and price?

4 Wythe Lane Listing [Halstead]
Wythe Lane Townhouses [Official]
The Townhouses of Wythe Lane Alight in Williamsburg [BBH]

(more…)

10/23/14 8:30am

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Brooklyn’s Real-Life Good Witches Concoct Herbal Brews [NY Times]
Goodbye, My Bed Stuy [NY Daily News]
Number of Homeless Students in Brooklyn Schools Spikes in Middle-Class Areas [NY Daily News]
Lena Dunham Talks up New Book at BAM [Eagle]
Which Fort Greene Brownstone Did Ingrid Bergman’s Granddaughter Buy? [Eagle]
Rescue Me, Fort Greene Edition [Eagle]
City Point’s First Residential Buildings Take Shape in DoBro [Curbed]
Rendering Posted for Alhambra Theatre Conversion [WyckoffHeights.org]
This Is How Brooklyn Got Its Cool [TRD]
Time Equities to Buy Venetian Rentals in Midwood for $27 Million [TRD]
NYC Construction Spending to Hit $100 Billion, Still Below ’07 Peak [TRD]
Bushwick Police Plan Domestic Violence Outreach After Three-Year-Old’s Murder [DNA]

10/22/14 2:00pm

285 kent avenue williamsburg

A story in Gawker today confirmed the exact addresses of three buildings Vice Media is taking over as it expands its multimedia empire in Williamsburg, and yes, as suspected, Glasslands (as well as Death by Audio and a handful of other businesses) is being displaced. Williamsburg institution Glasslands, a once hidden and illegal performance space that later went legit, announced yesterday its last show will be New Year’s Eve.

The addresses are 285-289 Kent Avenue, pictured above, and two buildings at 49 South 2nd Street. Gawker found mention of the deal and the exact addresses in an interview with the broker that ran in the Commercial Observer in September. When Vice’s expansion was first announced, the exact addresses of the buildings were not given, although we speculated that 285 Kent was one.

It’s nothing new for gentrifiers to displace gentrifiers, and Glasslands is one of a long list of quirky Williamsburg businesses to shut in recent months.

No One Wants to Say It, But Vice Is Displacing Brooklyn Institutions [Gawker]  GMAP

10/22/14 1:30pm

474 Sterling combo

The renovation at this carriage house at 474 Sterling Place is idyllic as far as we’re concerned, with a factory loft-style ground floor and 19th century rooms above. There are cement floors and a sloping ceiling with a skylight, beams, and tin in the big living area (which could also be used as an artists’ studio or showroom). Upstairs the 19th century rooms are genuine, with original moldings and a cozy, charming feel.

It’s set up as a one family with parking and living on the ground floor. Upstairs, the three bedrooms and two baths are arranged around a common sitting room, which we’re guessing is close to the original setup. Curbed, which was the first to feature the listing, didn’t care for the exterior, but we like the striped brickwork and stable-style doors. The location is also good, close to Prospect Park.

The ask of $2,790,000 makes it one of the most expensive townhouses in Crown Heights, and will set a record if it flies. Do you think they’ll get it?

474 Sterling Place [Ideal Properties] GMAP