2134-dean-street-102014

Hundreds of Brooklyn religious leaders attended a recent meeting sponsored by Borough President Eric Adams about how faith-based organizations can earn money and develop their properties by selling air and land rights to developers, according to a story in DNAinfo. It’s an idea that resonated with many of the borough’s religious leaders as they face declining congregations, fundraising challenges and budgetary pressures while working to expand social services to meet the needs of those left behind in the recession.

“You are land-rich but cash-poor. The largest amount of housing potential in Brooklyn lies with you,” Pastor Gilford Monrose, director of the Borough President’s faith-based initiatives, told attendees.

Since many churches own historic buildings and have parking lots and other properties, developers are often interested in the properties. Deacon Dennis Mathis of Glover Memorial Baptist Church at 2134 Dean Street in Crown Heights (pictured above) said he wants to develop affordable housing on a church-owned parking lot and use the proceeds to expand its social services. “Any profit made from the deal will go toward expanding our soup kitchen and food pantry and might allow us to add after-school programs for youth,” he told DNAinfo. Developers have offered between $200,000 and $300,000 for the lot, he said.

A reverend at another Crown Heights church, Brooklyn Christian Center Church at 1061 Atlantic Avenue, said the church has a development plan in the works and came to the conference to learn how how to keep control of the property. Also discussed at the conference was how churches can work with city agencies to develop affordable housing.

Throughout the borough, churches have been demolished for new buildings and in some cases converted to condos. At least a dozen such projects are in the works now.

Adams has previously said he believes developing church property can help increase affordable housing in the borough. Do you agree?

Dozens of Brooklyn Churches Looking to Sell Their Land [DNA]
Church Conversion Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

785-dekalb-avenue-102014

The walls are rising fast at 785 Dekalb Avenue, where SSJ Development is planning a 70-unit apartment building.

The mad, mod building design looks to us like a space age City Hall for sea monkeys with its slanted porthole in the front and gold dome on the top. When it’s complete, it will be one of Bed Stuy’s most architecturally distinctive buildings – and the bar is high in Bed Stuy, which has some of the borough’s best 19th century architecture.

Julien Flander is the architect of record. Click through to see a new photo of the rendering on the construction site.

785 Dekalb Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP

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1133 Manhattan Ave3

When we stopped by the mixed income building at 1133 Manhattan Avenue at the far northern tip of Greenpoint, the building looked like it was nearing completion. Through the windows we could see workers sanding joint compound off the seams in the drywall — a sign that the interiors are getting close. The ground floor retail space looked like it had much further to go. The spaces are open to the elements and not built out yet.

The website for the building says that units will be available fall 2014, or about now.

The building has attracted a lot of attention in part because of incredible demand for the income-restricted units throughout the city. Nearly 60,000 people applied for the 105 below-market rate units here. The $67,000,000 building will have another 105 market-rate units as well as 20,000 square feet of retail and commercial space when it’s completed.

The building, which replaced a low-slung brick warehouse, was designed by architect firm Perkins Eastman. Click through for a photo of the unfinished street level retail space.

Windows Going in at 50-50 Building on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint [Brownstoner]
Look of Greenpoint Build on Manhattan Avenue Revealed [Brownstoner] GMAP
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472-marcus-garvey-2-101714

Work is progressing slowly at 472 Marcus Garvey near Fulton in Bed Stuy, where a four-story mixed-use building has been in the works since 2011. The building will have 10 apartments and one store, according to a new building permit. The site has received a number of stop work orders over the years, mostly for construction impact on neighboring properties. Click through to see a rendering of the finished design. (more…)

774 Grand St1

The old one-story Liberty Department Stores building that stood at 774-776 Grand Street for decades came down this summer, and construction has started on the foundation of what could be a game-changing building for this East Williamsburg corner.

The Meshberg Group-designed building will resemble a 19th century department store, with its tiers of large windows and arched openings at the top. But in fact the eight story building will offer a mix of retail and residential, with 64 apartments.

It is likely to be one of the taller buildings around in the mostly low-rise neighborhood, where three story row houses and four and five story apartment buildings give way to one and two story industrial buildings on the other side of Bushwick Avenue. With its large, factory-style windows and brick facade, the building looks like it will fit in well with the neighborhood’s existing buildings, unlike much of the rest of the new development Williamsburg.

When completed, the 82,000 square foot building will have an 800-square-foot fitness room on the second floor and a 3,500-square-foot roof deck.

Liberty Department Stores and adjoining properties were purchased last year by Jeff Kurtz of Kamson Corp. and Dean Marchi of Grand Street Development for $14,200,000 according to the Wall Street Journal. Meshberg Group is designing the exterior and interior, although Gene Kaufman is the architect of record on building permits.

Construction will wrap in fall 2015, according to a sign at the construction site.

More photos and a rendering after the jump. What do you think of the design?

Let’s Look at the New Rendering for East Williamsburg’s 774 Grand Street [Buzz Buzz Home]
Mixed Use Development for East Williamsburg [WSJ]
Rendering by Gene Kaufman Architect GMAP

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797 Herkimer1

A four-story, four-family building is looking close to completion at 797-799 Herkimer Street in Bed Stuy, at least on the outside, although it’s not supposed to wrap until a year from now, according to the sign on the construction site.

Technically, it’s two buildings on two lots with, surprisingly, only two units each. Each building is 6,632 square feet, and each unit will be a duplex, according to the Schedule A. Potentially each duplex could be extremely spacious with about 3,316 square feet each. We’re guessing based on the size the developer could be planning condos.

The building is between Rochester Avenue and Suydam Place. For a block that has a mix of housing — Fedders buildings, apartment buildings with poorly maintained facades and a few nicely preserved brick row houses — this new building doesn’t seem to be such a bad addition.

The developer, Nir Sapir of Bed Stuy’s East Coast Real Estate Development Group LLC, bought the lots in August of 2013 for $350,000. Both lots had a lis pendens recently. The firm has recently developed or is developing four other projects in the immediate area.

Thanks to a reader for the photos and tip. Click through to see a schematic on the construction fence. What do you think of the development? GMAP

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8 Vanderbilt

Construction is moving along in the next phase of the massive Navy Green mixed income housing development. It looks like five or six stories out of 12 have gone up so far at this condo building at 8 Vanderbilt Avenue at the corner of Flushing Avenue. It will have 98 income-restricted and market rate condominium units available. The bulk of the units, 74 of them, will be sold at prices affordable to moderate and middle income households. The rest, 24, will be sold at market rates. It will also have 1,600 square feet of retail space facing Flushing Avenue. Next to the building on Vanderbilt, 23 market rate townhouses are planned as well.

The Navy Green development is a block-sized mixed income residential (both rental and condo) and retail complex that has been in the works for over a decade and has cost over $85,200,000 in city and state funds. The first tenants moved into their income-restricted rental units at 45 Clermont Avenue in December of 2012. The project takes up the entire block between Park Avenue and Flushing Avenue Clermont Avenue and Vanderbilt Avenue. When it’s complete, Navy Green will have 400,000 square feet of residential space.

Navy Green Developers File Permits for Townhouses Near Navy Yard [Brownstoner]
City, Developers Cut Ribbon at Navy Green Development in Ft. Greene
[Brownstoner]
Developers Receive an Award for Navy Green Project [Brownstoner] GMAP

225-carlton-avenue-101614

The two Carlton Mews projects in Fort Greene that have been under construction for years are wrapping up and looking spectacular, in our opinion. Isn’t it wonderful what landmarking can do?

In September we brought you a sneak peak of both projects. Now a reader sends in more photos.

At 225-233 Carlton Avenue, we have five brand new townhouses, all built in a 19th century traditional style in keeping with others in the area. They are looking very credible, as far as we’re concerned. The contractor used a mix of original and new bluestone to create the bluestone sidewalk in front of them. Each will feature a triplex above a garden floor rental, according to our tipster.

These are scheduled to wrap in December, according to the construction sign.

Meanwhile, the conversion of the church at 232 Adelphi Street is also nearing the finish line. Both projects, which have different owners, will be on the market in a few months, our tipster said. The church will have 12 apartments, ranging from studios to a three-bedroom duplex. In the clock tower is a kitchen with a 25-foot ceiling!

Click through to see a few more photos. What do you think of the developments?

Carlton Mews Church Restoration Revealed! [Brownstoner]  GMAP
Carlton Mews Townhouses Near the Finish Line [Brownstoner]
Carlton Mews Coverage [Brownstoner] (more…)

56 N 9th street

Architect Gene Kaufman, who has become one of Brooklyn’s more prolific architects during the recent housing boom, has just released a rendering and more details about two of his building projects under way in Williamsburg.

Above is a rendering for 56 North 9th Street at Kent Avenue, which broke ground over the summer. It will be six stories tall with 58 apartments, as previously reported. The bottom two floors of the 108,000 square foot building will be devoted to retail and dining. The building will have a roof terrace and include parking.

Construction also started over the summer on another Kaufman building on the opposite side of the neighborhood, at 774-776 Grand Street at Humboldt. That one will be an eight-story, 64-unit apartment building with 82,000 square feet.

Kaufman adds these two projects to an already long list of Williamsburg buildings including The Decora, The Lucent, The Residences at The Williamsburg and Schaefer Landing.

What do you think of the look of 56 North 9th Street?

Another Gene Kaufman-Designed Building for the Williamsburg Waterfront [Brownstoner]
Rendering by Gene Kaufman

242-bedford-avenue-101514

When we stopped by the Whole Foods site at 242 Bedford Avenue (or 193 Berry Street) over the weekend, they appeared to be working on the foundation. Not much seems to have changed since we stopped by in August, although we didn’t write a story at the time. Work seems to be progressing slowly at the site, although it doesn’t appear to be stalled.

The building is owned by Midtown Equities, Alex Adjmi and Aurora Capital Associates.

353-jefferson-avenue-1-101514

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

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1024 Gates Ave

Since Aron Kapelyus of Kai Construction got approved to convert the old Roosevelt Savings Bank building at 1024 Gates Avenue into apartments in late July, construction has moved at a fast pace. We reported on the permits to convert the Helmle, Huberty & Hudswell-designed 1906 Beaux-Arts bank building near the Bed Stuy/Bushwick border back in August. At the time we wondered whether the developer would make an effort to save the historic rotunda that Montrose Morris wrote about when it was a Building of the Day.

Now the answer seems most likely to be no. The entire roof has been torn off the building. The developer has saved the facade and the side walls. The steel framing can be seen rising through the entire structure, topping out above the old roof line. Plans call for adding 20 feet to the top of the formerly one-story building, making it 70 feet tall and six stories high when completed. It will have 50 apartments and 25 parking spaces.

It’s possible the developer has saved the rotunda and plans to put it back on top of the new addition, but it’s not very likely.

There’s also some other big news for this site: This month a plan was approved to build a new, separate building of seven stories on the same lot (presumably in the parking lot in the rear). That new building will also be 70 feet high, and it will have 86 apartments. Click through to see more photos of the construction.

Bed Stuy’s Roosevelt Savings Bank on Way to Becoming Apartments [Brownstoner] GMAP
Building of the Day: 1024 Gates Avenue [Brownstoner]

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