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The townhouse going in at 242 Pacific Street in Boerum Hill — the one that Beastie Boy Mike Diamond is helping design and develop — is nearing the finish line. “It looks great,” said a reader who snapped this photo when he passed by last week. A tall fence made the site impossible to see, but it seems to have been replaced recently by a regular construction fence.

The architects are John and Jill Bouratoglou. A listing went up in September, and construction is supposed to wrap in December. The ask is $4,980,000, and it’s not in contract yet. What do you think of the look so far? GMAP

Under-Construction Boerum Hill House, With Beastie Boy on Design Team, Hits Market [Brownstoner]

510 driggs avenue williamsburg rendering 102014

What do you think of this unusual design by ODA Architecture for a long-stalled apartment development at 510 Driggs Avenue near McCarren Park in Williamsburg? We’re not crazy about the look of the stacked and cantilevered cubes, but ODA’s functional explanation is intriguing.

Each of the 100 units in the five-story building will have a balcony or other outdoor space, and at least two exposures for good light and air, the firm told Arch Daily, which first published the rendering. Click through to the story to see a floor plan and other drawings that spell out the details.

“What if we could live in cities where everyone could enjoy similar qualities of a private house,” the firm told the paper. “We then challenged the zoning rules and regulations and the very common fundamentals and typologies of typical apartment buildings and came up with a scheme that satisfies all of the above. The complexity of the form serves a noble function while also becoming a beautiful piece of architecture.”

Commenters on the story lauded the design for innovation but questioned whether it can actually be built as shown in the rendering. We’d like to point out that large prewar apartment buildings in New York City typically had similar or even better exposures. Maybe we should revisit those floor plans. (more…)

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A sign at 855 Dekalb Avenue in Bed Stuy says a three-story building there is being turned into a five-story building and converted from commercial to residential, but a peek behind the construction fence seems to show very little or nothing left of the original building.

A stop work order was issued and the complaint was “work does not conform to approved construction documents,” suggesting that perhaps a new building permit rather than Alt-1 might be in order, but the complaint has been resolved, according to the document.

In any case, the current permit calls for 15 apartments over 15,000 square feet. A rendering on the construction fence shows a neoclassical-style facade with juliet balconies and peaked-roof style cornices flanking each side.

The property, located between Marcus Garvey and Throop, is 50 feet wide and housed a three-story factory. Click through for a look at the construction site. (more…)

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A rendering for a medical complex planned for 5515 8th Avenue in Sunset Park reveals a boxy, glassy building with stepped bands of gray and white stripes. With its alternating swathes of clear and opaque glass, it reminds us of a layered gelatin dessert — one that been digitally sliced and offset with computer graphics. But at least it’s not boring. The architect is Raymond Chan, who is prolific in Queens, especially Flushing.

The developer is Andy Wong of Golden 8th Avenue Realty Corp., according to New York YIMBY, which first published the rendering. Permits call for six stories with 13,000 square feet of retail and 42,500 square feet of medical office condos, There will also be an underground parking garage going down three levels with parking for 150 cars.

The building will replace a one-story commercial building and is slated to open in fall 2017, according to YIMBY. It is located six blocks down the avenue from the planned Sunset Park mega mall with four towers at 6208 8th Avenue. What do you think of the design?

Revealed: 5515 8th Avenue, Sunset Park Medical Office Building [NYY]
Rendering by Raymond Chan via NYY

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A rendering has been revealed for the mixed-use development planned for what is now a gas station on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Henry Street in Cobble Hill — but Community Board 6 has already rejected it. The look of the building for 112 Atlantic Avenue is “too glassy” and it “destroys the gateway entrance into the Cobble Hill Historic District,” DNAinfo reported members of the board said.

We have to admit we’re a little surprised – the design looks mostly brick to us and vaguely reminiscent of an early 20th century factory. It doesn’t look particularly offensive, nor does it look like a modern office building, as new developments so often do. (Although one board member said he thinks it does look like a modern office building.) Landmarks will take a look November 18.

Developers are Avery Hall Investments and On the Level Enterprises; the architect is BKSK Architects. Click through for a recent shot of the site. What do you think would work on this corner?

Proposed Luxury Building in Cobble Hill Called “Too Glassy” [DNA]
Rendering via DNAinfo

(more…)

608 Franklin Avenue

ODA Architecture has designed a boxy, glassy building – with multi-paned windows somewhat reminiscent of an old factory building — to replace the brewery at 608 Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights.  New York YIMBY was the first to publish the rendering.

The specifics of the plans have changed slightly: The building, which will be quite large and take up much of the block between Bergen Street and Dean Street, will rise to eight stories and have a total of 130,00 square feet. There will be 120 rental units — studios, one and two bedroom units. Twenty percent of the units will be income-restricted, according to NYY. The mixed-use building will have 19,000 square feet of retail space.

The development will replace three rundown, low-rise structures on the Dean Street side of the property, not the 19th century brick brewery building on Bergen (as we’ve previously mentioned). The corner lot also has 141 feet of frontage on Franklin Avenue.

While the design reminds us of buildings in the Ladies’ Mile area in Manhattan rather than Crown Heights, it strikes us as a far cry above the majority of new construction. What do you think of it?

Revealed: ODA’s 608 Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights [NYY]
Eight Story Mixed-Use Building to Replace Part of Crown Heights Brewery [Brownstoner] GMAP
Rendering: ODA Architecture via NY YIMBY

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A new building going up at 353 Jefferson Avenue isn’t an exact replica of a brownstone, but it’s surprisingly close. Neighbors feared the worst when construction started and are pleasantly surprised the building did not turn out to be a typical Fedders or developer’s special. The empty lot sits at the end of a Parfitt Brothers-designed row on a distinguished but so far not landmarked Bed Stuy block in the proposed Bed Stuy North Historic District.

It was hard to get clear photos because the building is shaded by trees, but the four-family structure is about the same height as the other buildings on the block, and is covered in brownstone-style stucco with 19th-century style window surrounds and lintels. It does not have a stoop, and the windows and ceiling heights are smaller than would be the case on an authentic brownstone. It has a cornice, although it is made out of the same color stucco as the rest of the facade.

“We were all worried they were going to put a monstrosity – they ended up doing an imitation brownstone,” said commenter juanus_superbus about the building. “Not authentic, but 100 percent better than the alternative.”

The building is clearly new but blends into its surroundings well, similar to the recently erected “Brownstone” apartment building on the subdivided Order of Tents property at 196 Macon Street. Click through to see a photo of the cornice and a rendering found on site.

What do you think of this building so far and the trend of new, traditional style buildings in Brooklyn?

Fedders to Ruin Elegant Bed Stuy Block? [Brownstoner]
Building of the Day: 353-363 Jefferson Avenue [Brownstoner] GMAP

(more…)

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As Forest City Ratner battles builder Skanska in court over the stalled B2 tower and Greenland Forest City Partners moves ahead with the rest of the development, New York YIMBY has snagged a rendering of a new piece of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park: a 17-story condo development planned for the large vacant lot on Dean Street between Carlton and Vanderbilt. CookFox is designing the 275-unit tower, which will have an address of 550 Vanderbilt Avenue.

New building applications were filed last month for the tower, which will include 326,047 square feet of residential space and 4,731 square feet of ground floor retail, as reported. The exterior will be a mix of masonry and precast concrete, which will provide “a gradual aesthetic transition” between the historic townhouses in the area and “the more modernist SHoP towers of the western end of the site,” according to YIMBY.

To recap the project’s timetable: the SHoP-designed modular tower at 461 Dean Street (formerly B2) has started construction but is stalled, 30 6th Avenue next door is supposed to break ground in the middle of next year, and the affordable tower at 535 Carlton and 550 Vanderbilt are both scheduled to break ground by the end of this year. Condo sales are supposed to start mid-2015, according to YIMBY.

Click through to see a close-up of the entrance of 550 Vanderbilt. What do you think of the design of the building, which will fill a prominent hole at the corner of Vanderbilt and Dean Streets?

Revealed: 550 Vanderbilt Avenue, 17-Story Pacific Park Brooklyn Condo Tower [NYY] GMAP
Atlantic Yards Coverage [Brownstoner]

Renderings by CookFox via NYY (more…)

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Architect Francis Cauffman’s design for the Hotel Workers Healthcare Center and Office Building at 620 Fulton Street in Fort Greene departs from the usual glassy cube or tower. It is “teardrop shaped,” according to the architect, with a textured glass facade. (We assume the teardrop shape refers to the footprint of the building, which sits on a triangular lot.) The curved shape and design of the facade give it a “sculptural,” “dynamic” quality — we agree, the striations on the facade make the building appear to be moving.

The facade is a unitized curtain wall system — aka it’s a non structural facade made of pieces joined together — and the materials are fritted glass and 10-inch glass fins that project from the building, according to New York YIMBY, which first published the renderings. (Fritted glass is porous; there is such a thing as fritted glass whose pattern can change from opaque to transparent to control light and heat, although we don’t know if that’s the case here.)

Or, in the architect’s words: “These architectural features will appear to dissolve the edges of the building and create a dynamic, sculptural form that gives a different impression to passersby from different vantage points.”

It does give the impression of motion or ripples.

The office and medical center will be 12 stories, as already reported. More than half of the office space will be leased out, and there will shops on the ground floor. Construction is slated to start this spring, with move-in set for fall 2016. The building replaces a parking lot.

Click through to see more. What do you think of the design?

Revealed: 620 Fulton Street, Office Building in Downtown Brooklyn [NYY] GMAP
Renderings by Francis Cauffman
(more…)

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The striking and prominent house at 1020 Bushwick Avenue sold last year and is now being renovated. We noticed a few weeks ago that it is empty inside, and when we stopped by this past weekend, it looked like work had started.

We’re guessing the new owner intends to live there and is restoring the interior, based on what we can discern from looking at public records. The house was previously occupied by a member of the family who owned it for many years, and his extensive vinyl record collection was visible through the parlor floor windows at night.

The house sped to contract in less than one month and sold for $1,210,000 one year ago, $321,000 above the asking price of $889,000. Interior photos can still be viewed at the Douglas Elliman website.

The Queen Anne style house was built in 1888 and designed by architect Frank Keith Irving. It is part of a Linden Street row with unusual and exotic ornamentation. There is a face on the dormer facing Linden Street and terra cotta dragons under the cornice. It was a Building of the Day in 2011. More details can be seen on Montrose Morris’ Flickr page.

There may be more interior detail left than the photos show. The listing says the house has “multiple wood burning fireplaces, crown molding, a tin ceiling and ceiling medallions.”

1020 Bushwick Avenue Listing [Douglas Elliman]
Building of the Day: 1020 Bushwick Avenue [Brownstoner] (more…)

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After filing permits for its fourth and final building on Myrtle Avenue last month, billionaire John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group has released a rendering of the 32-story tower at 86 Fleet Place in Downtown Brooklyn. New York YIMBY first published the rendering, along with some new details that differ from the permits. The high-rise will have 440 apartments spread among 385,000 square feet and 10,000 square feet of ground floor retail.

The building between Fleet Place, Fair Street and Prince Street joins Red Apple’s first three developments on the block — 218 Myrtle Avenue (the already completed Andrea), 180 Myrtle Avenue and 160 Myrtle Avenue (both still under construction). Dattner Architects designed all of those, but the architect of record on 86 Fleet is Goldstein, Hill and West.

What do you think of the design?
Revealed: 86 Fleet Place, 32-Story Downtown Brooklyn Tower by Red Apple Group [NYY] GMAP
Plans Revealed for Last and Biggest Tower in Catsimatidis’ Myrtle Avenue Complex [Brownstoner]
Red Apple Group Coverage [Brownstoner]

Rendering via Red Apple Group and NYY

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We were alarmed to read the city plans to all but eliminate design and architecture review for affordable housing, and to allow affordable housing developers to self-certify, according to a story in Capital New York. Believe it or not, some of the most beautiful new buildings in Brooklyn are found in areas such as Bed Stuy, Ocean Hill, Brownsville, and East New York, and it’s all affordable housing. We’ve long wondered why that is and now we think we know. We point to award-winning buildings such as the Saratoga Community Center at 940 Hancock Street and Camba Gardens in Flatbush, above, designed by Harden + Van Arnam Architects.

So expect affordable housing to start looking like the cheapest schlock imaginable — probably not even as good as the dreck that usually gets built in Williamsburg, probably more like cement-block Fedders buildings.

Also, we’ve seen a lot of abuses of the self-certification process for much smaller scale, private developments. If they are flagrant enough, they are eventually punished (architect Robert Scarano and the overbuilt monstrosity at 1882 East 12th Street in Homecrest by architect Shlomo Wygoda are two examples), but we suspect that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So we’re skeptical this is a good approach to take with affordable housing, where the pressure to cut costs is likely to be even greater and the beneficiaries less able to defend their interests.

We think it’s going to be a great loss for these neighborhoods, not to mention the residents. What do you think the mayor should do?

H.P.D. Plans Major Changes to Jump-Start Affordable Housing Development [Capital NY]
Rendering by Harden + Van Arnam Architects PLLC