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The Landmarks Preservation Commission is planning to “discard over one hundred heard items in an unprecedented massive ‘decalendaring,’” on Tuesday, December 9, according to a forwarded email we just received from Upper West Side preservationist group Landmark West. We don’t see anything about this in the official published LPC agenda for December 9, which concerns certificates of appropriateness for individual properties.

We’re not sure how Landmark West came by this information, or if it’s true. Which properties would be dumped is unknown.

“This does not bode well for Stuyvesant East, or Bedford for that matter,” wrote an architect and preservationist who passed along the email.

Typically, when the LPC decides to vote on whether or not to designate an individual landmark or historic district and sets a date to do so, after already having heard testimony on the matter, the district is designated. But the LPC has a large backlog of proposed historic sites it promised to vote on and never did, having not set a specific date. Many go back years.

The proper procedure would be to hold a public hearing and a vote for each proposed district individually, as promised, and to vote no, rather than to simply cancel the public hearings.

“Whose interests is the LPC serving by throwing out thousands of hours of professional work by commissioners, staff, national and local experts, community advocates, neighbors and residents? And why the lack of public notice?” asked Landmark West in the email.

Preservationists had expressed fears the LPC under de Blasio would be anti-landmarking, but the recent landmarking of the wood frame at 1090 Greene Avenue in Bushwick and the move to designate Chester Court seemed like promising signs to us. But now that we hear this, we fear for the proposed Bedford District, which has had no action since a hearing a year ago. It unquestionably contains some of the best and most important architecture in Bed Stuy, certainly equal or surpassing anything in the already designated Park Slope and Stuyvesant Heights areas. Pictured above is 240 Hancock Street in the proposed district, designed by noted architect Montrose Morris.

The email ends by saying “Call the LPC (main number: (212) 669-7700) and email Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan to demand that she fully disclose her plans and schedule public hearings on any decalendering of proposed individual landmarks and proposed historic districts. Tell her that you want to know what she is planning to ‘decalendar’ and when.”

Does anyone know more? We will update this story if we hear anything further.

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Plans for the building to replace the Pratt Station Post Office and other storefronts at 504 Myrtle Avenue, below, have changed. An application for a permit filed today shows the building will be six stories, not an eight-story building, as previously reported. It will have 92 apartments as well as 35,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor. All the buildings are still standing, we observed this morning.

Meanwhile, the related development next door at 490 Myrtle Avenue, pictured above, has made immense progress since we last visited in May. The exterior looks just about complete and some of the scaffolding has come down so the building is visible. It’s supposed to wrap summer 2015.

The Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership was the first to report on all these developments on its blog. Click through for more photos of both sites.

Scaffolding Comes Down at 490 Myrtle Avenue [Myrtle Avenue]  GMAP

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The Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote on whether or not to designate Chester Court a historic district in January, according to The Brooklyn Eagle. The district was calendared in late October, meaning the LPC decided it would vote, as reported.

The teens Tudor Revival cul-de-sac is largely intact, and development is nipping at its doors, since the block is just off the busy avenue of Flatbush. The 23-story tower at 626 Flatbush is rising just behind Chester Court on one side of the block. Chester Court was proposed as part of the original Prospect Lefferts Gardens historic district, but was not included. We’re glad the LPC is taking action on this, following the transition period between administrations when it was less active.

Amazingly, a representative from the Real Estate Board of New York, not known for favoring landmarking, spoke in favor of the designation on Tuesday, said the Eagle, as did the PLG City Council member, residents and neighborhood associations. (more…)

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Last night, Alloy Development hosted a preview for its multimillion-dollar condos under construction at One John Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park, along the Dumbo waterfront. Although the developer is still driving piles into the mud next to the Manhattan Bridge, there are accepted offers on roughly 40 percent of the condos in the 12-story, 42-unit building, reps told us.

Alloy, which is also designing the project, created a model kitchen and bathroom in its offices at 20 Jay Street in Dumbo. Apartments will range in size from 1,500 to 3,600 square feet and in price from $2,500,000 to $8,000,000. Most of the units are three- and four-bedrooms with three baths, but there are a few two-bedroom, two-bath ones. Sotheby’s has nine listings up.

The demo kitchen featured two islands with Gaggenau appliances, a vented ceiling hood, basaltina countertops, a five-burner gas cooktop, integrated full height cabinetry with pantry and “appliance garage” for concealing toasters and such, and a wine fridge. And we saw a master bath, which was finished with stone mosaic floors, Dornbracht and Fantini fixtures, a glass-walled dual shower, a freestanding soaking tub and double vanity. Click through for more photos.

One John Street [Alloy]
One John Street Listings [Sotheby's]
One John Street Coverage [Brownstoner]

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At the final Bridging Gowanus meeting Monday night, reaction was mixed to a presentation of findings after a years-long series of meetings about the future of Gowanus, but many residents said they do not want tall buildings.

Some attendees thanked Council Member Brad Lander and the Pratt Institute facilitators, and some said the process was better than they had expected. Others said the process was manipulative and designed to build a false appearance of consensus in favor of a rezoning that would allow luxury high rise buildings in exchange for much-needed infrastructure improvements that should be made anyway.

About 100 local residents and representatives from community groups and nonprofits gathered at P.S. 36 in Carroll Gardens to hear Pratt Institute facilitators summarize findings about sewage infrastructure, the economy, mandatory mixed-use zones, historic preservation, and affordable housing, among other things.

The report and Councilmen Brad Lander, Steve Levin and others acknowledged past rezonings in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and 4th Avenue had favored developers to the detriment of neighborhoods. (more…)

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The White Castle in east Williamsburg closed in September, and now we have renderings of the eight-story rental building that will rise in its place at 781 Metropolitan Avenue. New York YIMBY first spotted renderings of the 81-unit development, 20 percent of which will be affordable housing. The building will have 10,000 square feet of retail, a gym, roof deck and bike storage.

Issac and Stern are designing, and Adam America is the developer. The developer paid $6,725,000 for the White Castle in May 2013, which apparently is still standing, abandoned and graffitied, on Metropolitan between Humboldt Street and Graham Avenue, if this Instagram photo from yesterday is any indication. No new building permits have been filed, but a demolition application was filed last month.

Revealed: 781 Metropolitan Avenue, 81 Units Coming to East Williamsburg [NYY] GMAP
White Castle in Williamsburg Has Closed [Brownstoner]

Renderings by Issac and Stern
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The new-construction townhouse at 259 Hoyt Street whose construction we have been following is now on the market and asking $2,749,000. The interiors strike a nice balance between modern and traditional that seems well suited to the neighborhood, in our opinion.

The overall look is not unusual for new construction, with its modern staircase and rear wall open to the garden, but it looks better executed than most, at least in the photos. The moldings have a little more heft and detail than usual, the modern-style windows and doors look large and substantial, and the kitchens and baths are nicely understated.

It’s set up as an owner’s duplex over a two-bedroom garden rental. Click through to see more interior renderings.

We wish we had an updated photo of the exterior, and will try to get one soon. When we saw it last, it looked like it would fit in nicely with its older surroundings. The architect of record is Eric Safyan, according to permits.

Do you think this is an appealing new-construction townhouse? What do you think of the price?

259 Hoyt Street [Corcoran]
New Three-Story Brick House Going in on Hoyt [Brownstoner]
Photos by Corcoran
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Three big developers have snapped up a crumbling Williamsburg factory for $18,300,000, Crain’s reported, paying a near-record price in hopes of building condos on the site. Adam America, Naveh Shuster and Slate Property Group recently bought the large, L-shaped property at 304 North 7th Street. It faces the BQE and has close to 200 feet of frontage on both Meeker Avenue and North 7th Street, for a total of 22,325 square feet.

The final sale price works out to $432 per buildable square foot, for a property that could accommodate up to seven stories and 60,278 square feet of development. The lot last changed hands for $9,450,000 two years ago, meaning that the previous owners flipped it for nearly twice what they paid.

The developers are confident about the condo market, an exec from Slate said. Condos in Williamsburg are relatively scarce, with 256 condos in development versus 3,725 rentals, according to TerraCRG data quoted in Crain’s. TerraCRG brokered the deal.

The development trio is also working on several other projects in Brooklyn, including large developments at 535 4th Avenue, 470 4th Avenue, and 275 4th Avenue, as well as a six-story rental in the Broadway Triangle. And just a block away, Adam America is  building two seven-story buildings housing 169 units at 247 North 7th Street

Williamsburg Warehouse Fetches Near-Record Sum [Crain's]
Adam America Coverage [Brownstoner]

Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

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A controversial and confusing vote to rescind a request for a zoning study of Prospect Lefferts Gardens did in fact pass, according to PLG community group MTOPP, or The Movement to Protect the People. The group, which has been a thorn in the side of Community Board 9, is alleging the board is “corrupt,” that it “falsified” the document, and “broke the law” on its website.

Blogger Tim Thomas of The Q at Parkside, who is on the board (and who, unlike MTOPP, favors development of Empire Boulevard) agreed with the group’s assessment that the vote passed. However, he chalked it up to a mistake.

It’s a long story but to briefly summarize: MTOPP opposes any residential development of Empire Boulevard, above, and also opposes a zoning study of the broader area. We are reaching out to Community Board 9 for comment now and will update when we hear from them. Click through to see a screenshot of MTOPP’s allegations.

Eric Adam’s Corrupt Executive Board [MTOPP]
Finally…the Smoking Gun! [Q Parkside]
MTOPP Coverage [Brownstoner]

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The New York City Council Wednesday released a report proposing three new types of zoning that could dramatically affect jobs, real estate values and the use of neighborhoods in Brooklyn, particularly in Williamsburg, Bushwick, Gowanus and Sunset Park.

The three proposed new zoning types are:

*Industrial Employment Districts  – A rewriting of the rules to close loopholes that have been driving out manufacturers in protected industrial zones.

*Creative Economy Districts — A new combination of industrial and commercial office space. Mini storage, nightclubs and warehousing of empty property would not be allowed.

*Real Mixed Use Districts — Commercial and “compatible” industrial spaces would be required alongside residential, rather than merely allowed, so that more-lucrative residential development does not displace the other uses.

Above, the Pfizer complex at 630 Flushing in Bed Stuy has been proposed as a protected industrial site and is currently being redeveloped as office and manufacturing space for “creative economy” businesses.

Potentially, the new zoning could dramatically change such areas as the protected industrial zone around the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, where hotels and nightclubs have been driving out manufacturers, and the Bushwick loft area, because it would allow residential development to take off while preserving manufacturing jobs and commercial space at the same time. It could also affect the character of development on Empire Boulevard in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a hot-button issue in the neighborhood.

We think this is one of the best proposals we have heard in years, with the potential to benefit many now-competing groups and protect many desirable aspects of Brooklyn that are in danger of being lost to purely residential development. What do you think of it?

Engines of Opportunity [City Council]

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Spruce Capital Partners wants to flip the recently opened Colony 1209 in Bushwick, asking $81,500,000 for the five-story luxury rental building at 1209 Dekalb Avenue, according to The New York Observer. Spruce bought the 127-unit development in April from developer Read Property Group for $58,000,000. Rents are high for Bushwick, ranging from $1,775 for a studio to $2,975 for a two-bedroom at Colony, where amenities include a “speakeasy,” a gym, screening room, common roof terrace and a shared backyard.

The building’s marketing team has caught some flak for the name of the building and its marketing copy, which bills the development as “homesteading, Bushwick-style” and a place where one can find “like-minded settlers.” The building is located in an area of Bushwick that has been densely residential for more than 100 years, and is lined with 19th century row houses and mansions, not a “vibrant industrial setting,” as the copy claims. Massey Knakal is marketing the 120,000-square-foot building, which has 41 parking spaces and 12 years left on a 421-a tax abatement.

Controversial Bushwick Rental Building Hits the Market for $81.5 Million [NYO] GMAP
1209 Dekalb Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Image via Bushwick Daily

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High-rise apartment buildings with affordable housing, more parks, more schools, protected artists’ spaces, a special “super manufacturing zone” to protect factories — these are all part of a plan to redevelop Gowanus that Council Member Brad Lander will unveil Monday, according to a story in DNAinfo. “The Bridging Gowanus plan lays out a broad set of goals including flood-fighting infrastructure upgrades, affordable housing and a rezoning that would bolster manufacturing and allow new residential development, including high-rises in some places, for the first time since 1961,” the story said.

The vision, which Lander plans to present to the de Blasio administration, came out of a series of public meetings Lander convened over the last year called Bridging Gowanus. Most area residents support tall buildings from eight to 18 stories if other criteria are met, according to Lander. (more…)