Developer Park Tower Group has gotten the ball rolling on the hotly debated Greenpoint Landing development by filing a building application for a six-story mixed-use building at 21 Commercial Street. Designed by Handel Architects, the 85,033-square-foot structure will have ground floor commercial space and 93 units on prime Greenpoint waterfront land, according to a new building application filed Monday.
Eventually, the 20-acre megadevelopment will include 10 30- to 40-story towers, a new K-8 school and a public park. The developers also promised to keep 431 apartments “permanently affordable” and to run a shuttle between the development and the G train. Despite significant opposition from the Greenpoint community, the project cleared all the ULURP hurdles in the fall and was approved by the City Council in December.
Barclays Center has kicked out a real estate conference planned for Tuesday at the venue because tenant groups planned to protest keynote speaker Forest City Chairman Bruce Ratner, The Real Deal reported. LandlordsNY conference organizers were looking for a new venue. But wherever they end up, Ratner will no longer deliver the keynote.
Tenant advocate groups the Fifth Avenue Committee, Met Council on Housing and Make the Road were planning to protest the selection of Ratner as a keynote spaker, saying he is not a good “role model for landlords” because the Atlantic Yards project displaced tenants and has not yet built promised affordable housing, according to the story.
The full board from Community Board Six voted yes on the new design for Methodist Hospital’s expansion last night, Brooklyn Paper reported. CB6 voted 27 to 4 in support of the eight-story outpatient center but added several requirements. The board said they voted to approve the hospital’s variance because they’re trying to prevent the worst-case scenario for an as-of-right build, which would be a thinner 13-story building.
The approval came with stipulations proposed at Monday’s land-use meeting, which include scaling back the top three stories of glass along 5th Street and 8th Avenue, reducing the height of the building on the 5th Street side, cutting the number of parking spaces, and requiring employees to use only the entrance at 8th Avenue and Sixth Street.
The board also requested a traffic study for the streets around the hospital a year after the outpatient center opens.
Methodist Hospital will unveil a slightly different version of its planned expansion at a Community Board 6 meeting tonight, DNAinfo reported. Although the new renderings Methodist posted Thursday on its website look very similar to the old ones, Brooklyn Paper said the new design “shortens the appearance of the U-shaped medical complex in a few places” and “pull[s] back parts of the upper glass facade” on the 8th Avenue side.
Locals have bitterly opposed the development, which they say would create more traffic for the neighborhood. CB6′s land use committee refused the hospital a zoning variance for the building’s height and massing. Sixteen buildings the hospital owns on part of a block between 5th and 6th streets and 7th and 8th avenues will be demolished to make way for the eight-story building.
Council Member Stephen Levin and the rest of the City Council voted today to approve the two controversial high-rise towers at 77 Commercial Street near the Greenpoint waterfront, according to Levin’s office. The 30- and 40-story towers will bring 200 units of affordable housing as well as $9,500,000 in city funding to create Box Street Park. Affordable housing will make up 28 percent of the total apartments, with a range of 40 to 125 percent Area Median Income.
The city and the developer will provide $14,000,000 in funding to relocate all of the vehicles currently at the park site, including MTA Access-a-Ride vehicles and Emergency Response Units. And the developer promises 9,500 square feet of open space around the two towers, “as a second fully landscaped walkway to serve as community access from the east” and a path to where Commercial Street dead-ends at the industrial waterfront. There will also be a free shuttle to the 7 and G trains (paid for by the developer), and the MTA will work with the developer to run a bus line along Commercial Street.
The development will include at least 5,000 feet of community space, and retailers must occupy less than 5,000 square feet, with preference given to neighborhood businesses. The developer is not allowed to lease to “big box” retailers.
Yesterday, the City Council was supposed to vote on the proposed towers at 77 Commercial Street, above, part of the controversial and massive high-rise development plan for the Greenpoint waterfront. But the City Council postponed its vote, DNAinfo reported, citing the need for “further negotiations.” A date for the vote, which is the final and binding vote on the project, was not given. The local community board opposes the development, and said more affordable housing, senior housing, and transportation is needed.
The City Planning Commission voted unanimously in support of outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz’s plan to revamp the former Childs Restaurant in Coney Island and turn it into an amphitheater and upscale eatery, Brooklyn Paper reported.
However, local residents are less than thrilled about the plan, which will require $53,000,000 in city funds to transform the landmarked but dilapidated 89-year-old building. Neighborhood activists told the newspaper that the money would be better spent repairing Coney’s hurricane-shattered infrastructure, which still suffers from occasional heat and power outages, in addition to sewers that flood when it rains.
And others worried about the traffic and noise from the planned venue, which Markowitz hopes will host 40 concerts a year. The community board voted down Markowitz’s plan two months ago, and Landmarks approved it over the summer.
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.