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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…)

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A press release from JMH Development and Madison Estates just landed in our in-box, and it says architect Morris Adjmi will design a “luxury boutique condominium development” at 70 Henry Street, the former home of Brooklyn Heights Cinema. As you may recall, Adjmi also designed the Townhouses of Cobble Hill. We expect he’ll come up with something Landmarks will like in this spot.

“This project will work to both enhance the dynamic neighborhood with unique architecture, while filling the historic district’s inherent demand for new construction,” said a JMH Development exec in the release.

Brooklyn Heights Cinema Coverage [Brownstoner]

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Manhattan investment firm Sugar Hill Capital agreed to buy 1 Prospect Park West, the assisted living facility in Park Slope, for $76,000,000 in January and is now suing the owner for not forcing out elderly tenants fast enough, according to The Brooklyn Paper.

The senior home is embroiled in lawsuits related to the closure and prior lawsuits alleging poor treatment and operating without a license. The owner bought the property, which sits in a prime spot in Park Slope overlooking Prospect Park, for $40,000,000 in 2006.

An attorney for the wrongful death suit concerning Slave Theater owner Judge John Phillips accused the owner of trying to keep Sugar Hill’s $7,000,000 deposit and sell to someone else. Most recently the assisted living facility has been accused of violating a court order to provide services to remaining residents.

Prospect Park Residence Selling for $76 Million [BK Paper]
1 Prospect Park West Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

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Hedge fund CEO Harsh Padia has snagged a big one-story factory at 67 Havemeyer Street in Williamsburg for $8,850,000, according to public records. The 50-by-140 foot lot could accommodate a residential building as large as six stories and 23,760 square feet under the current zoning, according to PropertyShark. Instead, Padia is planning a four-story, one-family house, according to new building applications filed earlier this month.

The DOB disapproved plans for the 2,600-square-foot house yesterday, and demolition permits have not yet been filed to knock down the existing building, which is home to a printing company. The site is L-shaped and sits at the corner of Havemeyer and North 6th, less than a block from the BQE.

Padia is the head of hedge fund HAP Capital, and his wife, Purvi Padia, is an interior designer. If the plans go through, we expect they will have some very nice outdoor space on this big lot. The applicant of record is Schneider Associates. This will be an interesting one to watch.

Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

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We were dismayed to see yet another Victorian metal turret in a non-landmarked area being inappropriately altered. This one is on a quite prominent corner building at 1474 Bushwick Avenue between the Jackie Robinson and Cooper Avenue. We have passed by this building many times and it always appeared to be in good condition.

When we strolled by last week, the bright blue painted metal covering on the turret was being dismantled as part of a bigger renovation that is adding a story. A manager on site told us they really wanted to save the turret but “it was in pieces.” The turret will be covered in a brick veneer to match the rest of the alteration.

The three story building only has three units now. When the alteration is finished, the building will have four stories and eight units , according to an Alt-1 permit.

The building changed hands for $799,000 in 2013. HPD says it has five “class A” units, not three. For the last 20 years, it was owned by the Episcopal church and has a certificate of occupancy for 10 Franciscan friars of the Society of St. Francis in the Episcopalian church.

Click through to see a drawing of the altered building and a photo of the building taken in 2012.

Photo below by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark
(more…)

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Landmarks praised BKSK Architects for its “contextual” design for a mixed-use building to replace a gas station at 112 Atlantic Avenue in Cobble Hill, but asked the architects to scale down the windows, particularly on the side of the building on Henry Street, and reduce the bulkhead on the roof. Only one attendee at the meeting Tuesday spoke in favor of the building as it was, and the Cobble Heights Association and others spoke against it, New York YIMBY and The Brooklyn Eagle reported.

The building’s “large, industrial-looking windows…might be more appropriate in Red Hook,” said Barbara Zay of the Historic Districts Council, according to YIMBY. Click through to YIMBY to see the full presentation.

As you may recall, Community Board 6 rejected the proposal last month.

Apartment Design for Atlantic Avenue Gas Station Site Needs a Tuneup, Landmarks Decides [Eagle]
Landmarks Commission Not Ready to Approve New Building at 112 Atlantic Avenue [NYY]
112 Atlantic Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]
Rendering by BKSK Architects via NYY

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Mayor de Blasio yesterday announced $76,800,000 in new funding for development at the Navy Yard, particularly for Building 77, numerous outlets reported. The program expands one started by the Bloomberg administration.

That brings city spending to modernize Building 77 to a total of $140,000,000. The former ammunition depot, pictured above, is the largest building at the complex with 17 stories and 960,000 square feet. Its revamp will bring 3,000 jobs to the area, the administration estimates.

The now-empty Building 77 will be ready in 2016, according to The Brooklyn Eagle. Some tenants have already been lined up, including motorcycle maker FXE Industries and Shiel Medical Laboratories. Brooklyn Grange may build a green roof for it.

Mayor Announces Major Brooklyn Navy Yard Expansion [Eagle]
Building 77 Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Janet Upadhye for DNAinfo

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The first renovated rentals have hit the market at the seven-story Rocket Factory Lofts in Williamsburg, which sold three months ago to Meadow Partners for $52,000,000, Curbed reported. (This is the Scarano-designed conversion that was at one time owned by murdered Brooklyn landlord Menachem Stark and his partner Sam Perlmutter.)

The upgraded units at 100 South 4th Street have new bathrooms, new kitchens with stainless steel appliances, “open loft” layouts, maple floors and 14-foot ceilings. Seven units have been listed so far, ranging from studios to two-bedrooms and priced from $3,495 to $4,650. The 75-unit building will also have a new roof deck and a renovated lobby.

Click through for more interiors. What do you think of the design?

100 South 4th Street [Aptsandlofts.com] GMAP
Revamped Rocket Factory Lofts Seek Renters in Williamsburg [Curbed]
New Owner Buys Former Menachem Stark Rentals, Plans Upgrades [Brownstoner]
Photos by Aptsandlofts.com

(more…)

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Forest City Ratner and Skanska are discussing a buyout deal and have already set a price, although other terms are still under negotiation, according to a letter Skanska sent to the judge overseeing the former partners’ lawsuits over the stalled modular B2 tower. In fact, a closing date was set for Monday, Atlantic Yards Report reported. There has been no announcement from either party, so perhaps the closing has not yet taken place.

Forest City would buy out Skanska, freeing up Forest City to restart construction on the stalled tower. A buyout deal could include compensation for cost overruns the two have been fighting about in court and put the lawsuits to rest.

Forest City Seems Ready to Buy out Skanska’s Interest in Closed Modular Factory; Deal Could Close Tomorrow [AYR]
Skanska Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Field Condition

Update: We have just received a statement from Skanska. It says: “Today FCRC Modular LLC and Skanska Modular LLC announced that FCRC Modular LLC will purchase the ownership interest of Skanska Modular LLC in their jointly owned modular factory business in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, FC+Skanska Modular LLC, for an undisclosed amount. The agreement, achieved through mediation with Roger J. Peters, Esq., marks the end of the companies’ partnership at the modular factory and makes FCRC Modular the sole owner and manager of the modular business. Litigation between the companies over the B2 Project will continue and is not impacted by this agreement.”

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The Times has published the first full rendering and pricing for The Boerum condo-hotel headed for 265 State Street. Asks will start at $825,000 and go as high as $4,250,000 for condos ranging in size from a 765-square-foot one-bedroom to a 2,800-square-foot five-bedroom.

Developer and designer Flank aims to fit into the brownstone neighborhood with prewar-style interior floor plans, according to the Times story. We can get behind that. The exterior looks nice too. Making the brick divisions appear to weave over and under each other is a nice touch. What do you think of it?

A New Brooklyn Condo With a Prewar Aesthetic [NYT]
Boerum House and Home Shuts as Condo-Hotel Preps to Launch Sales [Brownstoner]
Rendering by Flank