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On the same day as a scheduled public hearing about the controversial plan to build two residential towers at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6, the corporation responsible for the park released via Crain’s an economic report that claims that income from the proposed towers are necessary for the park’s financial future.

Critics of the plan are not thrilled about the report’s timing or its findings.

The 35-page study by Barbara Byrne Denham, an economist at the real estate research firm REIS, is a challenge to digest in an afternoon before heading off to the community meeting. But one thing stood out: Denham writes that the predictions about the success of two other developments under way in the park, Empire Stores and 1Hotel, are overly optimistic.

“I believe Empire Stores will likely not lease up its space in two years nor earn the rents the model assumes,” writes Denham, adding that the stores “will not get the foot traffic in winter months that it needs to earn a strong profit.”

Yikes. That can’t be easy for the developers behind Empire Stores to hear. They’re like the oldest kid being pushed aside when the new baby comes along. (more…)

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The state Economic Development Corporation is holding a hearing tonight on the plan to build a pair of residential towers at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park — and both opponents and supporters of the plan will be out in force.

As we’ve covered previously, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation needs a modification of the park’s General Project Plan to move forward with proposed affordable housing in the planned 31- and 15-story towers. Community Board 2 approved the modification earlier this month; this hearing is the next step in the approval process. (more…)

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You may have thought the movement to save the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade was dead, since the lawsuit over the Pierhouse development was decided in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s favor in June, but community group Save the View Now is hoping to resurrect its case. Last week the organization filed a motion to amend its complaint and renew its motion for a preliminary injunction based on what claims is newly discovered evidence that the developer, Toll Brothers and others involved in the project misrepresented the use of the controversial 30-foot bulkhead that blocks the view of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The City, Empire State Development Corp, Toll Brothers and Starwood Capital have always contended that the bulkhead, which exceeds the legally mandated building height of 100 feet but is not counted as part of the building, was needed to house the building’s mechanicals since, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, they could no longer be located in the basement. Save the View Now says it has uncovered plans that show that the bulkhead will be used for more frivolous purposes than housing mechanicals. (more…)

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When the Long Island College Hospital closed in 2014 after a 16-month legal battle, Cobble Hill residents weren’t happy. When developer Fortis Property Group officially signed on to buy the former LICH compound a month later, residents weren’t happy. When Fortis revealed renderings in May for the site’s proposed residential development, residents still weren’t into it.

But now, a few of the unhappy inhabitants of Cobble Hill have created a virtual location to lobby for what they do want: NoTowersInCobbleHill.org.

A place for news updates, actionable steps, and donation collection, the “No Towers” site is just the latest in a number of online initiatives helping (and hoping) to shape Brooklyn development.

(more…)

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Some of the last buildings that the government seized from their longtime owners in order to make way for the Atlantic Yards project are likely to be demolished soon. Demolition permits were filed on Thursday for 491, 493 and 495 Dean Street. The three 19th century row houses sit close to the corner of 6th Avenue, right across from Barclays Center in Prospect Heights.

The buildings, pictured below (491 is on the left), were part of a long dispute with developer Bruce Ratner of Forest City and the then Empire State Development Corporation. Eventually, the owners and their families, some of whom had lived here for generations, were ordered by the state to vacate the properties in September of 2014 and reportedly had 90 days to do so. The sums they were offered by the state for the properties were not made public. (more…)

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RAL Development’s Robert Levine, far left; ODA New York’s Eran Chen. Photos by RAL and ODA

Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. has chosen developer-architect team RAL Development Services, Oliver’s Realty Group and architect firm ODA New York to design and build two controversial residential towers on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, park officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

The winning proposal was selected from 14 submissions, and the process was held up by a lawsuit. That lawsuit has concluded, but now the plan must go through a public review process.

The winning design is more restrained than is typical for ODA but still shows its signature theme of assemblages of boxes. It also matches the existing condos right next to the sites at One Brooklyn Bridge Park, aka 360 Furman Street, a former 1920s Jehovah’s Witnesses industrial building that winning developer RAL Development Services converted to residential use a few years ago.

Significant details of the development have changed, thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s call for affordable housing on the site, the lawsuit and controversy over the height of a development in another corner of the park, at the Pierhouse condos and 1Hotel. (more…)

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After more than a year of controversy and drama, the full board of Community Board 9 voted yes on asking City Planning to conduct a study of zoning in the area, which covers Prospect Lefferts Gardens as well as some blocks in the southern part of Crown Heights and a bit of East Flatbush.

The supporters of the study want City Planning to downzone the area so tall towers such as 626 Flatbush, pictured under construction above, are not allowed, while also allowing for the construction of mixed-income subsidized housing of a modest height in some areas. The neighborhood has been roiled by rising rents and a building boom, as we have detailed in countless stories. (more…)

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At a contentious meeting of the Cobble Hill Association Monday night, LICH developer Fortis presented plans for an as-of-right 44-story tower and other high-rise apartment buildings that would tower over Cobble Hill. Much of the area is landmarked and no more than four stories high.

Fortis also presented a second plan that would have slightly lower buildings but require a special zoning variance and formal public review, the Brooklyn Paper reported.

Curiously, the $240,000,000 sale has not yet closed, although it was supposed to April 30. A Fortis spokesman said the company expects the sale to go through in the next few weeks but did not explain the delay, said Brooklyn Paper. (more…)

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The Cobble HIll Association’s Spring 2015 General Meeting will include an update on the controversial development of the Long Island College Hospital site. The group will also review the community planning guidelines for the development, according to a notice on its website about the meeting.

“The CHA knows local residents will remain passionate and outspoken on how best to make something positive out of the terrible situation,” CHA President Paco Abraham told the Brooklyn Eagle in a story about the meeting. Locals pols are expected to attend, he added. (more…)

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Community group Save the View Now this week sued developer Toll Brothers and Brooklyn Bridge Park over the height of the Pierhouse hotel and condos, now under construction in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The group alleges the height of the buildings has illegally violated the park’s own General Project Plan. State Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Knipel issued a temporary restraining order preventing construction on a section of the development south of the Squibb Bridge, the group announced Thursday.

The details are complex, but suffice to say at issue is whether or not the three-building condo and hotel development at 60, 90 and 130 Furman Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park is blocking views of the Brooklyn Bridge in violation of any laws.

Brownstoner broke the story in September that the northernmost part of the development, 1Hotel at 60 Furman Street, has angered preservationists because it is, in fact, blocking a view of the Brooklyn Bridge a 2005 agreement between the park and another community group, the Brooklyn Heights Association, sought to protect.

But — whether or not the height of the three buildings violates any laws is another question — and one this lawsuit seeks to answer. (more…)

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Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan won’t bring affordable units to low-income areas but it will destroy the character of the most expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn, said housing experts — including real estate execs — in a Wall Street Journal article yesterday. Here are the deets:

*In low-income areas such as East New York, no one is building market-rate housing now and no one will build market-rate housing in the future, even if the mayor succeeds with his plan to upzone the area to allow bigger and taller buildings, because the math just doesn’t pencil out.

*Meanwhile, the mayor’s plan would work beautifully in higher-income areas such as Park Slope and Williamsburg — except that Bloomberg-mandated “contextual zoning” height caps make it impossible.

Mayor de Blasio is pushing to wipe out those hard-won height caps with a “text amendment” to the building zoning code (as we mentioned in yesterday’s article about the zoning controversy in Prospect Lefferts Gardens). If he succeeds, new buildings and additions 15 to 30 percent higher than what is allowed now will quickly sprout throughout Brooklyn’s most expensive and tony areas and beyond, from Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens — anywhere land is expensive and prices and rents support luxury development. (more…)