The city and a group of developers are planning to spend $3,000,000 on fancy sidewalks to demarcate the newly renamed Brooklyn Cultural District, aka the area around Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) in Fort Greene. The new sidewalks will have moody footlights embedded in them and, in some areas, a design scored into the tinted cement. Above, before-and-after images showing the new sidewalks. There will also be new tree pits, trees and benches.
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership helped push the proposal through the review process, said Brooklyn Paper. Half the cost will be fronted by developers who are putting up new buildings in the area. The other half will come from the city.
The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is looking for civil engineers and landscape architects to redesign and reopen the currently closed BAM Park at Fulton and Lafayette, according to an RFP issued Monday. The 14,000-square-foot triangular park sits on top of the Fulton Street G train top, which has apparently made the park unsafe for pedestrians.
The chosen engineers and architects will have to come up with a plan to repair the “subsurface conditions” which currently make the park unsafe to walk on. The plan should also strengthen the park’s visual link to the surrounding neighborhood and create welcoming places for pedestrians and possible performance space.
Plans should include measures to protect the subway infrastructure and the existing adult trees. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development will oversee design and construction, and the Parks Department will maintain the space. The revamp will take about nine months, according to HPD. Proposals are due by February 6.
Ismael Levya Architects recently filed new building applications for Two Trees’ 31-story residential tower at the BAM South site on the corner of Lafayette and Flatbush Avenue. The plans for the wedge-shaped tower development at 286 Ashland Place pretty much line up with what the City Council approved back in June. The 364-foot building will have 381 units, 83 enclosed parking spaces and 280,346 square feet of residential space. There will also be 21,928 square feet of commercial space on the lower floors and 45,148 square feet of community space, which could become a new location for the Brooklyn Public Library. Two Trees has promised the building will have 60 affordable apartments and a 10,000 square foot public plaza, which is scheduled for a hearing before the Public Design Commission today.
The architects for BAM North Site 1 unveiled the plans for a city-sponsored 52-story tower last night in the BAM Cultural District at a Community Board 2 meeting. The high rise at 598 Fulton will have 586 apartments total: 281 “affordable” residences, including 117 inclusionary housing units, and 305 market rate units. The building will be made of three different-colored materials to make it blend in better with the neighborhood. It will also have a podium that extends out from the base tower (close up pictures after the jump). There will be 10,800 square feet of ground-floor retail on Fulton Street, and 8,000 square feet of cultural office space on the second floor. The building won’t have a garage because it’s being built directly on top of the subway.
Builder Gotham Organization is expected to break ground on the site by the end of this year or early next year, and construction will last three years. Gotham wants the project to meet the criteria for Enterprise Green Communities, a green building program that’s somewhat similar to LEED.
FXFOWLE Architects designed the building, which will be located between Rockwell and Ashland Place, next to Theater for a New Audience. The developer is BAM Go Developers LLC, a subsidiary of Gotham. Jonathan Rose Companies, chosen yesterday to develop BAM North Site II, may also consult on the building process.
The city chose the income levels for the affordable units, which are 65 percent of Area Median Income, 135 percent AMI, and 165 percent AMI. They range from studios to three-bedrooms. Some community board members voiced objections to the city’s definition of “affordable” and “middle income,” which ranged from a studio for someone making $30,000 (65 percent AMI) to a three- or four-bedroom for a family of six making $178,000 (165 percent AMI).
During construction, neighbors can report complaints through a hotline or an email address, and a website will have construction updates and notify residents if something unusual is planned. Gotham expects to close one lane of traffic on Fulton, Rockwell and Ashland Place and close the sidewalk on Rockwell during construction.
The picture above is the building’s front (from Fulton), but click through to see more renderings and angles of the proposed building. GMAP
The City yesterday announced a developer for the last undeveloped property in the BAM Cultural District, and the City’s Housing Preservation and Development posted renderings of the planned building on its Facebook page. The somewhat playful looking boxy building has projections and set backs; windows of varying sizes create a geometric pattern on the facade. The developer for BAM North Site II is Jonathan Rose Companies; Dattner Architects, Bernheimer Architecture, and SCAPE Landscape Architects are handling the design.
The building, located on Lafayette between Ashland Place and Rockwell Place in Fort Greene, will house 109 apartments, as well as Chelsea nonprofit Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, Science Gallery International, and a Craft-branded restaurant, Curbed reported. Forty percent of the units will be “affordable” and 60 percent market rate.
Tonight at 6 pm, FXFOWLE Architects will present its building plans for BAM North Site I at 598 Fulton Street to Community Board Two. What do you think of the above design?
The historic Strand Theater at 647 Fulton in Fort Greene will re-open tomorrow as the BRIC Arts/Media House, a 40,000-square-foot multi-disciplinary arts and media center. Architect Thomas Leeser, who also designed the expansion of the Museum of the Moving Image in Long Island City, supervised the $35,000,000 renovation of the 94-year-old theater. The new space includes a 3,000-square foot contemporary art gallery, a flexible performance space that can accommodate 240 to 400 people, a glass-walled television studio visible from the lobby, an artist work studio, a public lobby with a café and a state-of-the-art TV broadcasting center. The lobby cafe is an outpost of Park Slope’s Hungry Ghost, and the lobby opens onto a series of cement steps furnished with cushions called The Stoop, which will feature free programming for all ages. And Urban Glass, an organization dedicated to giving artists access to glass-making facilities, has a 17,000-square-foot glass-making studio inside the BRIC House. Strand Theater was originally built in 1919 and has gone through various incarnations as a bowling alley, movie theater and a print shop.
Click through to see more pictures of the ultra-modern interior and the new art exhibitions inside!
BAM President Karen Brooks Hopkins today unveiled a new mural and a bike park at 31 Lafayette Avenue, next to the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House. The mural was designed by Brooklyn artist KAWS; the bike rack, which spells out the words ”Bold winK” in front of the mural, is the work of David Byrne, formerly of the Talking Heads. Fiedler Marciano Architecture designed the 20-foot-wide-by-24-foot-high temporary wall, which will feature installations by various local artists after KAWS. GMAP
Last week Curbed picked up lots of details about the hotel slated for the BAM Cultural District, the parcel of land also to include the Theater for a New Audience and the Two Trees skyscraper and public plaza. The developers are working with the Department of Buildings and hope to break ground this fall. The hotel should be ready for occupancy in early 2015. Instead of totally demolishing the existing building (which isn’t landmarked), the developers plan to partially incorporated it into the base of the new tower. Once up, the 30-story building will feature an exterior with “a sliced facade featuring crevice-like cutouts.” Carrying with that theme, the hotel rooms will be unique and angular, outfitted with artwork from local artists. Plans call for 20 larger suites on the higher floors, a Presidential Suite on the 26th floor, and some “starving artist suites” that are small but can still fit a king-sized bed. Finally, the developers hope to partner with a local arts or music group to program for the basement performance space and the outdoor public plaza. The plaza on the rooftop will feature local vendors selling food and drink. So, what do you think? There’s a whole lot of excitement planned for this lot in the next few years… BAM Cultural District Hotel Plans to Involve Local Arts Groups [Curbed] A Hotel Planned for the BAM Cultural District [Brownstoner] Rendering by Thomas Leeser via Curbed
Yesterday the City Council approved Two Trees’ proposal to build a 32-story building, alongside a 10,000-square-foot public plaza, at the BAM South Site. Council Member Tish James’s did not win last-minute requests for more affordable housing and higher wages, but she did reach a tentative agreement with the City not to turn the Pacific Street library branch into a private apartment building, a huge point of contention with the community. (Although, as Crain’s pointed out, “a representative for the library said that there were still no guarantees the Pacific Street branch would not be developed, though library officials would engage the city on ways a property sale could be avoided.”) The City Council ultimately approved a plan that reserves 50,000 square feet of cultural space for specific use, not for shops, apartments, or other private developments. And the community will have a say in the programming for the outdoors public plaza. The 300-unit building will include 60 affordable apartments. Two Trees needed City Council approval for a zoning change so it can build 10 more stories on the residential tower and add the community facility space. Brooklyn BAM Project Wins Approval [Crain's]
This summer, and for the first time in 40 years, the BAM Harvey Theater is getting a movie screen. This week the Steinberg Screen at the BAM Harvey Theater debuts as the largest movie venue in Brooklyn — the screen is 35 feet by 19 feet and the theater seats 834. BAM also outfitted the Harvey for film viewing with 42 surround sound loudspeakers permanently mounted to the side and rear walls of the theater, as well as adjustable acoustic panels. The giant screen (which can show 3-D movies as well) will first be put to use on the opening night of BAMcinemafest, on June 19. Then throughout the summer BAM will screen the silent film series The Hitchcock 9, with live music accompaniment, special sneak previews, first-run summer films, and classics like Lawrence of Arabia and The Godfather.
The big BAM South development planned for Fort Greene might not get built after all, now that Council Member Letitia James is calling for changes to the plan. She wants an increase in the number of affordable units and union-level wages for construction workers, Crain’s reported. After an unusually brief public review period, the issue is coming up for a vote by the City Council today. Previously James backed the project; critics said her flip-flop is to please unions because she’s running for public advocate. For its part, Two Trees said it cannot afford to build the project with higher wages. If the development — which has space for cultural non-profits, a library, and other amenities in addition to affordable housing — is shot down, Two Trees will simply build “as of right” on the site. It is located in a parking lot at the corner of Flatbush and Lafayette avenues. Fate of Big BAM Expansion Is a Cliff-Hanger [Crain's]
The New York Hotel Trades Council and the Hotel Association of New York City have bought a parking lot in the BAM Cultural District and plan to build a health center for their hotel workers on it, the New York Observer said. The paper speculated that the group may intend to sell its existing facility at 68-80 Schermerhorn Street in Downtown Brooklyn to be developed as apartments. In any case, they paid $19 million for the parking lot at 620 Fulton Street, which PropertyShark lists as 253 Ashland Place, and they plan to spend about $90 million constructing the new building. Income from retailers on the first floor will go into the employee benefits funds. $90M Hotel Worker Health Center Coming to Downtown Brooklyn [NY Observer] Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark GMAP