04/17/14 9:00am

Brooklyn is slated to lose a number of its wood frame houses to development this year. Often these houses are some of the oldest in the borough, although they may not look like much, at least from the outside.

Just like so many other aging wood frames in Brooklyn, this little house on Chauncey Street in Bed Stuy, above, is meeting the wrecking ball soon. Demo applications were filed last week to knock down the two-story home at 201 Chauncey, as well as a shed and row of garages on the property. We don’t know the home’s exact age, but our columnist Montrose Morris noted that it is at least as old as 1880, but probably older, in this Building of the Day post. There’s no word on what will replace the house, but we’re betting it will be an apartment building. An LLC bought the 50 by 108.5 foot lot in February for $1,400,000 — seven times its last sale price in 2004.

Now that warmer weather has set in (apart from yesterday, of course), the applications for demo permits have ticked up in the building department. A large number of the houses marked for demo are wood frames.

We wondered if that’s because they tend to be in worse condition or less expensive than their brick and stone counterparts. Preservationist Elizabeth Finkelstein of The Wooden House Project attributed the trend to rising real estate values in working-class neighborhoods, some of which happen to have a large concentration of frame houses.

“I think the wooden houses right now are especially vulnerable because of the trend in people moving to places like Bushwick and Greenwood Heights,” she said. “People can’t afford to buy in Brownstone Brooklyn anymore, so they’re moving to frame-heavy neighborhoods. Developers follow. While Park Slope and Cobble Hill have been expensive for a long time, homeowners in Bushwick have only recently been able to cash out. I think they’re taking advantage of the market, at the expense of some of these houses.”

A few examples we have covered recently are 111 Clarkson and 50-54 Clarkson Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, 664 Jefferson Avenue and 447 Decatur in Bed Stuy, and, of course, the six 19th-century wood frames at 233-301 11th Street in Gowanus, which will be replaced by a large apartment building at 470 4th Avenue.

Next up are houses from Crown Heights to Bushwick, including: 1480 Pacific Street, 1168 Greene Avenue, 45 Cedar Street, 726 Monroe Street, 341 Sackett Street, 539 Van Buren and 1255 Decatur Street. The house at 1480 Pacific, which was a Building of the Day in February, is part of the proposed Crown Heights North III Historic District expansion.

With the notable exception of Brooklyn Heights, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Brooklyn and the first to be landmarked, Landmarks has not typically designated areas with lots of wood frame houses, although some were included in the historic districts of Greenpoint and Wallabout, which are both primarily wood-house neighborhoods. Partly this is because wood frames tend to be highly altered and covered in siding, which can make them ineligible. But there is hope, said Finkelstein.

“Greenpoint is an interesting example of a neighborhood that was landmarked while much of it was still covered in siding (I’m actually surprised the LPC did this). Many of the houses still are, but you can see the positive effect landmarking has had on some of the wooden houses on Milton and Noble streets.” Although, she added, the LPC focused on the most brick-heavy part of Greenpoint and called that the historic district. “So while the historic district does contain some wooden houses, they still brought their brick bias with them.”

Another possible explanation for the demise of wood frame houses: They are sitting on more land and have more FAR. This is certainly the case with 201 Chauncey Street.

– Cate Corcoran and Rebecca Baird-Remba

Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

04/16/14 11:30am


We stopped by 88 Richardson Street the other day, and lo and behold, the building is almost up to its full seven stories. This is the Karl Fischer-designed building with 188 units that is rising on the site of the former Meeker Flea Market next to the BQE in Williamsburg.

The developer is Brooklyn-based Rabsky Development, which bought the lot for $18,000,000 in 2012. At the time, it seemed like an odd location for residential development. In hindsight, the acquisition of almost any site in Williamsburg seems prescient.

Click through to the jump for a photo of the rendering posted on the construction fence. We like the massing and the play of geometric patterns with the windows and various facade materials. What’s your opinion?

Fischer-Designed Apartments Rising at Ex-Meeker Flea Site [Brownstoner] (more…)

04/16/14 10:00am

A mixed-use development is in the works for part of a very large empty site on Myrtle Avenue across from the Marcy Houses in Bed Stuy, New York NIMBY reported.

Architect Charles Mallea filed a new building application Monday for an eight-story, 46-unit building at 802-806 Myrtle Avenue. The street frontage will cover three of 15 contiguous empty lots, all 25 feet wide, on the block.

The 31,125-square-foot building will include 23 bike storage spots, a shared roof deck and 76 square feet of commercial space in the basement. The building will be 94 feet high, so “ceiling heights will be surprisingly generous compared to typical new developments in the neighborhood,” said YIMBY.

South Williamsburg-based developer Bright Villas LLC bought the 7,500-square-foot piece of land in a series of transfers in 2012 totaling $1,750,000; the properties were originally owned by a church called Mt. Zion Church of Christ Disciples, according to public records. DOB permits indicate the ramshackle three-story church was demolished in 2010. HPD owns the 12 empty lots next door.

“Positive changes are gradually occurring across the entire neighborhood, and developments like 802 Myrtle will go a long ways towards bettering the area’s reputation, which has typically revolved around the negative press surrounding its public housing,” said YIMBY. What do you think?

Permits Filed: 802 Myrtle Avenue [YIMBY] GMAP
Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

A La Quinta Inn is coming to 1229 Atlantic Avenue near Nostrand, where excavation and foundation work recently began at the large, now vacant lot on the Crown Heights/Bed Stuy border. We found this schematic on the fence after leaving the post office next door. The hotel will rise seven stories with 102 rooms, according to new building permits approved in February.

The 34,902-square-foot building will also feature four off-street parking spaces, a recreation room, lounge, meeting and conference rooms. Hotel plans have been in the works since May 2012, when an LLC snagged the 8,440-square-foot property for $1,600,000 and filed initial new building applications. Askon Architects P.C. is designing the building. The La Quinta will join a few other hotels nearby on Atlantic, including a Best Western on the other side of Nostrand, the Hotel Luxe and the Atlantic Motor Inn.

See what’s behind the fence after the jump. GMAP


04/14/14 10:45am

All the windows are in and the balconies are being installed at 500 Sterling Place in Crown Heights, where this seven-story luxury rental is inching closer to completion. The 77-unit development started construction last summer and will weigh in at 53,086 square feet when it’s finished.

Nataliya Donskoy of ND Architecture is the architect of record, and the building closely resembles her contrasting light and dark gray rendering. Amenities will include 39 subterranean parking spaces, ground floor recreational space, storage, private roof terraces and a 1050-square-foot common roof deck.

Construction signage says the Silverstone Property development will finish in February 2015, but we think it could be sooner than that.

Check out a side view after the jump.

Size of Luxury Rental Build in Crown Heights Doubles, Rendering Shows Boxy Build [Brownstoner]


04/14/14 10:00am

It’s been quiet recently at the partially demolished Fox Savoy Theater in Crown Heights, where the DOB  issued a full stop work order in late February. The BEST squad (Building Enforcement Safety Team) cited the project at 1515 Bedford Avenue for failing to brace part of the building. The stop work order was partially rescinded so that workers could install the bracing, but a partial stop work order is still in effect.

Once workers finish knocking down the grand old movie theater, a 10-story, 114-unit apartment building will rise in its place. The 90,806-square-foot development will include ground floor community space for a synagogue, bike storage, 30 underground parking spots, laundry and a roof deck, according to a building application that was disapproved in January.

The architect is Issac & Stern, who posted this rendering on their website. And the developer is Realty Within Reach, which manages several other Crown Heights buildings and is developing affordable housing nearby in Bed Stuy.

Click through the jump to see some more exterior renderings.

Huge Apartment Building to Replace Fox Savoy Theater in Crown Heights [Brownstoner]
Renderings by Issac and Stern


04/11/14 9:30am

There’s a four-story residential development coming to replace this car repair shop at the corner of Pacific Street and Boerum Place in Cobble Hill. New building permits show the apartment building at 237 Pacific will have three floor-through units spread across 3,897 square feet of residential space, plus ground floor commercial space for 5,511 square feet total.

Architect Teresa Byrne Salter will design the building. The property hasn’t changed hands since 1974, and the owner is a private individual, not a developer. Demolition permits have not yet been filed for the one-story shop. GMAP

04/10/14 9:30am

A group of local pols is urging Mayor de Blasio find an alternative way to finance Brooklyn Bridge Park — one that doesn’t include building two more high rise towers at Pier 6. They wrote a letter to the mayor on April 7, expressing their opposition to the “breakneck speed” of housing construction at Pier 6 and asked the new administration to “work collaboratively on alternative park financing, rather than moving forward with the Bloomberg plan,” The New York Times reported. State Senator Daniel Squadron, State Assemblywoman Joan Millman, U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez, and City Council members Steve Levin and Brad Lander all signed the letter.

The waterfront park requires an estimated $16,000,000 in maintenance every year, said the Times, because the piers are “adversely affected by marine organisms, as well as winds and tides.” Squadron and Millman struck a deal with Bloomberg in 2011 to limit the height of the planned development at Pier 6. It hinged on the city rezoning all of the nearby Watchtower properties from manufacturing to residential by January 1 of this year, after they had sold to new owners. But since the city failed to rezone the properties by the deadline, the deal no longer applies.

The Times didn’t specify the name or address of the projects, but it sounds like the two development sites next to One Brooklyn Bridge Park, pictured on the map above.

Are you in favor or against building high-rise housing in the park to finance upkeep?

De Blasio Is Urged to Alter Housing Plans at Brooklyn Park [NYT]
Map via Brooklyn Bridge Park

04/09/14 11:00am


A new building permit has been filed for the little frame house at 664 Jefferson Avenue, rumored to be one of the oldest houses in Bed Stuy. Unfortunately, the house was too far gone from water damage to be saved, according to Brownstoner readers who saw it in person.

A stop work order was issued this month for interior demo without a permit in December. A demo permit was approved in January, but has not yet been issued. The house, which is not landmarked, is just down the block from the newly expanded Stuyvesant Heights Historic District.

The new building applications calls for a new four-story building with seven units. They are likely to be condos, since the developer is Boaz Gilad, who specializes in them. As soon as a rendering is available, we’ll post it.

Brookland Files Demo Permits for Two Wood Frames in Bed Stuy [Brownstoner] GMAP


An overflow crowd estimated at more than 400 people packed a town hall meeting about high-rise development in Prospect Lefferts Gardens last night. Borough President Eric Adams, who lives in the area, State Senator Kevin Parker, Council Member Mathieu Eugene and Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna listened to comments and questions from the audience following a presentation by the Prospect Park East Network, which convened the meeting.

PPEN called for a temporary halt on new development exceeding nine stories while they pursue a lawsuit and downzoning of the area, in process since 2008, “before it becomes a moot point,” said presenter Suki Cheong.

“I don’t have anything against construction because it creates jobs, but this building is too big,” said a resident whose bedroom window overlooks the construction site at 626 Flatbush Avenue where an as-of-right 23-story tower is planned. Another speaker, a resident since 1964, proposed hiring a full-time community organizer, which the neighborhood had in the 1960s. A representative of small business owners said they were concerned that increased land values due to high-rise development were already causing increased rents and shorter leases.

Many residents said they value the friendly, integrated community and don’t want to see it disappear. Many said landlords are trying to increase rents and push out regulated tenants. “Prospect Lefferts Gardens is the most densely populated part of the borough,” said a lifelong resident. “We’re not asking for special treatment, just fairness. We’re asking for the same treatment Mayor de Blasio’s side of the park gets,” he said, referring partly to the 80-foot height limit on construction there.

Click through to the jump to see more photos. Did anyone else attend? (more…)

04/08/14 9:30am


A story in The Real Deal reviewed recent and forthcoming developments on a 20-block stretch of Wythe Avenue, from the Williamsburg Bridge to the Greenpoint border, whose renaissance was kicked off by the debut of the Wythe Hotel in 2011. Above, pedestrians on Wythe Avenue outside Brooklyn Bowl and across the street from the Wythe Hotel. After the jump, a shot of the Wythe Hotel from the back. Here, we pick out the ones that haven’t opened yet:

*The SteelWorks Lofts at 76 North 4th Street will start leasing by June.

*The former carpet factory at 149 Kent Avenue will open in 2015. There will be 164 rentals, 20 percent of which will be affordable.

*The foundation is going in at 96 Wythe Avenue, on the corner of 10th Street, expected to be a hotel with about 160 rooms. Heritage Equity Partners and local landlord Yoel Goldman are reportedly the developers.

*A 100-room hotel is planned for 93 Wythe Avenue, a full block site between North 9th and North 10th streets, said sources. Ennismore Capital (developer of London’s Hoxton Hotel) is reportedly the owner, and former owner Sydell Group (Ace and NoMad hotels) will also be involved. (more…)

04/07/14 9:30am

We discovered this rendering on the fence at 377 Flushing Avenue between Kent and Franklin in south Williamsburg, where developer Rabsky Group is planning a seven-story mixed-use building. The ubiquitous Karl Fischer is the architect of record for the 99-unit development, which will also include ground-floor commercial space, according to new building permits issued last August.

We last reported that the building would be 177 units, but permits have been updated with the lower number of apartments and slightly less commercial space. And now there are fewer underground parking spaces — 50 instead of 106. The 159,092-square-foot building will also have 50 bike parking spaces, roof terraces and recreation spaces. When the City Council agreed to rezone the land, the developer promised to make the development affordable housing and build a five-story addition for the yeshiva school next door, as previously reported.

Behind the fence, excavation has just begun. Click through to see a photo of the construction. GMAP

Karl Fischer-Designed 177-Unit Building Going up in South Williamsburg [Brownstoner]