Last week, Lightstone Group sent word via Community Board Six that it is starting demolition and other work on the site of its 700-unit complex on the banks of the Gowanus, the blog Pardon Me For Asking reported yesterday. “The Lightstone Group will begin pre-construction site preparation at its Gowanus property,” said the notice.
More specifically, demolition will start at 365 Bond Street. At 363 Bond Street and 400 Carroll Street, the firm will start asbestos remediation. They will also be doing some soil boring and putting up construction fences. The work was scheduled to start yesterday.
Neighbors have been trying to save Boerum Hill’s Church of the Redeemer since the summer of 2012, when the diocese announced its plans to demolish the Gothic Revival structure at 24 4th Avenue. Unfortunately, it seems like the site is destined for high-rise condos. The church is moving forward with plans to sell the property for $17,000,000, according to Carolynn DiFiore Balmelle of the East Pacific Street Block Association.
Halstead will market the large property, she said, which allows up to 70,000 buildable square feet. (We saw a preliminary flier for the property, although there’s not yet a listing online.) However, the diocese requires that anyone who develops the land has to set aside 22,000 square feet for the church. They’re looking for a developer to build an eight- to 10-story condo building with possible ground floor retail.
The East Pacific Street Block Association had presented the diocese with an alternative to demolishing the 127-year-old church: A restorer could restore the building at no cost to the church and hand back all the retail space to them. Even though they could charge an annual rent of $400,000 for the space, church officials have resisted restoring the building, because they say it would take $4,000,000 in repairs to get it back to good condition, she said.
Yesterday we reported on a similar deal to demolish a historic theater and replace it with a private residential development that would include space for the church that last owned the building. At least five other churches in Brooklyn are currently being razed or converted to residential apartments — three in Crown Heights and two in Bushwick.
Over at Brownstoner Queens, we compiled a number of photographs taken at 5Pointz this morning, after the building owners painted over the infamous graffiti artwork. After a long fight between the building owners and the building artists, the owners plan to demolish the warehouse by the end of the year to develop a luxury condo development.
A band of politicians and community groups Friday said New York State should block the sale of 70 percent of Atlantic Yards and look for a local affordable housing developer with a track record to complete it, reported a number of outlets. There will be 2,250 “affordable” units in 11 planned towers. Only one tower, B2, pictured above, is currently under construction, and that one will have only 181 affordable units.
Developer Forest City Ratner initially promised to finish the project in 2016, then 2035, and now there is no set date, said The Brooklyn Paper.
“We are very focused on accelerating the housing,” Capital New York quoted Forest City spokesman Joe DePlasco as saying. The group blamed the delays on lawsuits.
A group of 10 Brooklyn politicians are asking Atlantic Yards’ new backer, Greenland Group, to speed up delivery of 2,500 affordable apartments in exchange for their approval of Greenland taking a 70 percent interest in the project. The project was delayed by a lack of funding and lawsuits, according to The New York Daily News.
“Despite the overwhelming need, it’s unfortunate that there really is no oversight and no one is holding Forest City Ratner accountable,” the News quoted Public Advocate-elect and City Council Member Letitia James as saying. The group of 10, including City Council Members Brad Lander, James and Stephen Levin, U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries, and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, are holding a press conference today at 1 pm on Degraw Street, according to an announcement the group sent out.
Work started on the first residential tower, B2, this year. The modular tower, which is six months behind schedule, will be 32 stories high with 181 affordable, low-, moderate- and middle-income units. It is next to Barclays Center at the intersection of Flatbush and Dean Street. Above, men at work on the B2 tower in October.
Representatives from Read Property faced plenty of community opposition when they presented their development plan for the massive Rheingold Brewery site in Bushwick to the City Council on Tuesday, Bushwick Daily reported. Councilwoman Diana Reyna said Read hadn’t incorporated enough affordable housing that Bushwick residents could afford. The 1,000,000-square-foot development will have 242 affordable apartments out of 977 units, along with ground floor retail and a new public park. The current affordable units are priced for 60 percent of the city’s median wealth level, which is $51,544 for a family of four. Reyna pointed out that in Bushwick, families of four have a median income of $34,000.
“Basically what the proposal is offering is that zero percent of Bushwick residents will access this housing,” said Jose Lopez, a housing organizer with Make the Road. He said the apartments should be affordable to residents making less than 30 percent of the city’s median wealth, and that the number of affordable apartments be raised from 24 percent to 35 percent of the development.
Developer Robert Wolf said he wanted lower-income residents to be able to live in the planned six- and eight-story complex, but only if additional rent subsidies will help cover the cost. He’s also pledged $350,000 to help revitalize the nearby Green Central Knoll Park, and he’s enlisted a nonprofit to train community members to work on the job site.
The City Planning Commission yesterday approved the two huge Greenpoint tower projects that have met with fierce local opposition because of their height and size. Developers Park Tower Group and Chetrit Group can build the projects as-of-right without any special review because of the 2006 rezoning. The City Council will be the next body to vote on the towers, within 50 days, reported Crain’s.
This review is to allow Greenpoint Landing (above, in two different renderings) to add a school, 431 units of affordable housing, and 276 market rate apartments. The rest of the 5,500 units are automatically allowed under the rezoning.
Over at 77 Commercial Street, Chetrit is seeking approval to alter height and setback requirements in exchange for buying air rights so the city can afford to develop a park. That complex will have 720 units.
The towers for both projects will be 30 to 40 stories high. At previous stages in the review process, the community board and Brooklyn borough president recommended beefing up public transportation and increasing the number of affordable units. It’s not clear if the developers will incorporate these suggestions.
The projects “would be among the final significant changes to the city’s waterfront approved under the Bloomberg administration,” said Crain’s.
As controversial Greenpoint developments Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street wind their way through the land use review process, the city is finally moving to deliver two long-delayed parks that were promised in exchange for the controversial rezoning that has reshaped the North Brooklyn waterfront and permitted the huge gigantic towers complexes to be built.
Construction on Newtown Barge and Box Street Parks is scheduled to start in spring 2015, officials told DNAinfo. The Greenpoint Landing and 77 Commercial Street towers will rise right next to the parks, and the developers are helping fund the five acres of green space as part of their agreement with the city. The city committed to building the two parks back in 2005, but it took the city eight years to find an alternative storage space for the Roosevelt Island Tram cars stored on the property.
The planning phase for the parks begins next week. A public meeting is planned October 30 at Bushwick Inlet Park at 6 pm to solicit ideas and community feedback. Current plans for Box Street Park call for a multipurpose field, a shaded picnic terrace and a launching pad for kayaks on Newtown Creek. Newtown Barge Park would expand beyond an existing playground at the site to include a picnic area and more recreational space. The parks are slated to open in 2016.
The City Planning Commission approved a rezoning for a mostly empty industrial site covering at least five large blocks in Bushwick despite residents being upset that the local community board had voted on it behind closed doors. Community Board 4 approved the proposal in June but asked for more affordable housing.
The rezoning will permit 10 eight-story “70-and 80-foot towers, 977 apartments (many of them luxury units), retail, added streets, a school and additional open space,” according to DNAinfo. Only 24 percent, or 242, of the rental units would be “affordable,” said the Daily News. Retail, courtyards, and a garden would take up 54,000 square feet.
A new group called the Northwest Bushwick Community Group has formed to lobby for affordable housing and plans to meet with developer Read Properties, according to the Daily News. The development site is the old Rheingold brewery, which closed in the 1970s.
The rezoning still has to be approved by the City Council. The complex is supposed to be finished by 2016.
Park Slope’s Methodist Hospital filed plans for its expansion with the Board of Standards and Appeals yesterday, Curbed reported. The hospital put its application and other documents, including drawings and an environmental assessment on its website for all to see. Click on the environmental impact statement to see comprehensive photographs and discussion of the streetscape today and the 19th century buildings that would be demolished to make way for the project.
The proposed expansion is close to the Park Slope Historic District and contains buildings similar to those in the district, but the area has been substantially modified already, the report said. There are also extensive graphics showing “shadow analysis,” or exactly which shadows would fall where at what times of day.
The new facility would draw 1,548 daily visitors and 260 vehicle trips daily, said Curbed.
The Department of Homeless Services said nothing about the intense opposition — from pols, residents and the local community board — to a proposed homeless shelter in Carroll Gardens in a recent letter to Mayor Bloomberg outlining its plans. We received an email about the letter and Community Board Six’s response to it from the board yesterday.
“I find it nothing short of astounding that neither of those sections acknowledges or advises the Mayor and his staff of my November 26, 2012 letter to your predecessor Seth Diamond, which (i) communicated the fact that our Board had resolved by a vote of 31 to 1 (with 3 abstentions) to oppose the use of 165 West 9th Street as a 170 bed shelter based on both defective process and lack of merit, and (ii) provided four (4) pages of detailed explanation of the reasons for that resolution,” wrote the chairman for the community board in a letter in response.
Today at 11 am, the City will hold a public hearing on the proposed contract between the shelter operator and the City.
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has officially approved the two massive and controversial developments at 77 Commercial Street and Greenpoint Landing, near the mouth of Newtown Creek, Brooklyn Paper reports. Markowitz greenlighted the project on condition the developers build a 640-seat middle school and increase bus and G train service to the neighborhood. Greenpoint Landing will have 10 towers and 5,500 apartments over 22 acres on the waterfront, and 77 Commercial Street will include two towers rising 30 stories with720 apartments.
Markowitz also backed the affordable housing part of Greenpoint Landing, mandating 100 units out of the 431 affordable ones be reserved specifically for senior citizens and the disabled who don’t earn more than 30 percent Area Median Income, according to his report. The Beep’s vote is just the latest hurdle in the land-use review process, which also requires the approval of the City Planning Commission, City Council, and the mayor’s office. However, his approval goes against the wishes of the community board, which voted down the development plan last month, and a large group of Greenpoint residents who promised to sue the developers. You can read the BBP’s full report here.