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The zoning review that Community Board 9 asked City Planning to conduct of parts of Prospect Lefferts Gardens and Crown Heights is going forward after a failed attempt to rescind it at a community board meeting last month. The zoning review covers half of District 9, including Flatbush Avenue, pictured above, where a 23-story development is rising as-of-right, and Empire Boulevard, some blocks of which are currently zoned only for commercial and not residential, Laura Imperiale, first vice chair of Community Board 9, told us.

At issue is limiting high-rise development to preserve the character and affordability of the neighborhood. A number of community groups, including PPEN, have called for limits on high-rise development in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. Community group MTOPP opposes both high-rise development and any rezoning of Empire Boulevard.

The board conducted several meetings with community groups and had a community listening session in March, consolidated the comments, created a resolution requesting a study, and sent in the request to City Planning in March. After that, there was one meeting of the community board and City Planning. Now the board is waiting for City Planning to conduct the study, said Imperiale. The board would have liked a broader study of the entire district, but the city said it did not have the resources, and “we only get so many bites at the apple for this,” she said.

The resolution, which has been posted on CB9′s website, asked for zoning to preserve the “existing character of the neighborhood,” specifically to “prevent/limit of context i.e. high-rise development in the R7-1 zoned areas of the district.” It also asked for “opportunities for affordable housing development” to “protect residents from displacement” and “identify areas for inclusionary zoning.” It requested increased density along transit and commercial corridors, and specifically asked that Empire Boulevard be rezoned to permit residential development — “allow contextual mixed-use developments along commercial corridors, including Empire Boulevard.”

MTOPP disrupted last month’s community board meeting and passed a resolution calling for the zoning study request to be rescinded, but then it turned out the resolution had not been passed after all. They also sued the board to get a copy of the board’s bylaws, which are also now posted on the board’s website.  

The zoning study is not on the agenda of the next board meeting, but Imperiale said she expects MTOPP to bring it up anyway. 

She also expects City Planning will hold community forums about District 9 zoning in the coming year, she said. Any events will be posted on the Community Board 9 website in advance.

Chaos at Community Board 9 Meeting on Empire Boulevard Rezoning Tuesday [Brownstoner]

33 Lincoln Road3

Construction is moving along at the eight-story, 87 unit apartment building at 33 Lincoln Road in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. The site is a long L-shaped lot that abuts the B/Q/S tracks and faces both Lincoln Road and Flatbush Avenue. The image above is from the Flatbush side of the development where foundation work is under way.

The building is being developed by Anderson Associates and had faced delays because of issues with obtaining financing through the city Housing Development Corporation’s New Opportunities Program. Now it is being funded by private investment. However 20 percent of the units will still be set aside for those making a maximum of 60 percent of the area median income.

Construction should be complete by April of 2015. Construction is expected to wrap in fall 2015, according to the sign on the construction fence. Click through for a rendering and more images.

New Round of Permits Issued for PLG Affordable Build [Brownstoner]
PLG Affordable Build is Waiting for Funding [Brownstoner]
Work in Progress on Lincoln Road in Prospect Lefferts Gardens [Curbed] GMAP (more…)

After years of legal and financial woes, New York City’s last public bath building, completed in 1910, has been snapped up at auction by developer Greystone for $7,600,000, DNAinfo reported. Landmarked in 1982, the building at 227 4th Avenue has in recent years been used as a private arts, events and community space known as the Lyceum.

Greystone told DNAinfo it would not comment on its plans for the building until the close of the sale in 60 days. There are windows all around so apartments would be possible, but the entire space is only 12,200 square feet inside. The building’s FAR would allow a total of 33,060 square feet on the site, but its landmark status is likely to prevent any additions. The developer could carve out 10 or so luxury condos, but unless Landmarks allows a modern addition on the roof, our guess is it will become a mall, office space, or a big box store.

A lien for $5.05 million led to the foreclosure sale, Here’s Park Slope reported earlier this week.

The photo of the building partly shrouded in netting in 2012, above, does not show the Renaissance Revival building’s elaborate terra cotta detail, which includes dolphins, urns of flowing water, and images of Triton, the father of the sea-god Poseidon. It was designed by architect Raymond F. Almirall.

What would you like to see in this space?

Developer Buys Landmarked Brooklyn Lyceum for $7.6M at Foreclosure Auction [DNA] GMAP
Brooklyn Lyceum in Foreclosure, Being Auctioned Today [Here's Park Slope]
Lyceum Coverage [Brownstoner]

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Did anyone catch this essay in The New York Daily News, called “Goodbye, My Bed Stuy”? The writer, a black man who grew up in Bed Stuy and is a journalism professor at Brooklyn College, laments the growing number of whites moving into Bed Stuy and the rising rents, which are pricing out longtime black renters in the neighborhood.

He mentions that Bed Stuy is mostly townhouses, which means most units aren’t rent regulated. He also says part of the problem is investors who are purchasing homes “as bundles.” We haven’t heard of that, but we think he is referring to investors buying townhouses in the area to rent out. (Incidentally, a building he mentions as an example of landlord harassment is in Crown Heights, not Bed Stuy.)

What do you think of the essay?

2 Strong Place1

The last and biggest of the three neo-traditional townhouses at Strong Place and Kane Street has just hit the market and the price will set a record for Cobble Hill if the developer can get it: $7,500,000.

The high price of No. 2 Strong Place may reflect that the property is not just one house, but two: There is an 800-square-foot carriage house in the back with parking on the lower level and a studio apartment with kitchenette above.

All three townhouses are in a landmarked area and were designed by CWB Architects with Landmark’s approval. The exteriors were modeled on the neighborhood’s historic row houses but the interiors are modern. The developer is Brennan Realty, which is also marketing them. The townhouses were briefly on the market pre-construction in early 2013. No. 2A entered contract in January this year when it was asking $4,475,000. No. 4 was listed earlier this month. 

The townhouse at No. 2 Strong Place is about 4,000 square feet over five levels. The garden level has the kitchen and dining area that looks out through double height windows onto the garden. The parlor level has two living rooms and a wet bar. The master bath and second bedroom are on the next floor up, and two more bedrooms are above. The top level can be used as a home office or study, according to the listing.

To put the price in perspective, the current Cobble Hill record holder is 305 Degraw Street, the 6,000-square-foot carriage house with a modern renovation and green wall that recently closed for $7,000,000. A double-width Greek Revival mansion at 491 Henry Street sold for $6,750,000 in 2013, and a beautifully renovated and grand Italianate at 233 Warren Street on a double lot with a carriage house went for $6,050,000 in 2012.

Click through to see a new rendering of the kitchen as well as other renderings that came out in August. Do you think they’ll get their ask?

2 Strong Place [Brennan Realty]
Strong Place Townhouses Coverage
[Brownstoner] GMAP

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Developers are keeping the new construction townhouses coming in Brooklyn. The latest to hit the market is 4 Wythe Lane, one of six single-family townhouses under construction at South 4th Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg. Two other houses in the complex, No. 5 and No. 6, already have contracts out, according to BuzzBuzzHome, which was the first to report on the listing. There are no listings up except for No. 4, although renderings and floor plans have gone up on the development’s website. Halstead is handling the sales.

Developed by KUB Capital on a former scrap metal site and designed by KUB Design and SZ Projects, the townhouses will have a modern look. The four-story house at No. 4 will have a total of 3,775 square feet with four bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths. It is 16 feet wide, and there is a 25-foot deep garden. It’s asking $3,995,000.

That’s a significantly bigger number than the last Williamsburg townhouses to hit the market. The 12 Williamsburg Social Townhouses on North 3rd between Berry and Bedford started at $2,380,000 when they debuted in 2013.

We doubt construction is very far along yet, since demo of the old G&C Salvage Corp. scrap metal facility at 55-59 South 4th Street was scheduled to start in August. The site abuts “Site E” of the Domino Sugar development, until recently a temporary public park, which will be the first under construction.

Click through for renderings. A floor plan can be viewed here. What do you think of the design and price?

4 Wythe Lane Listing [Halstead]
Wythe Lane Townhouses [Official]
The Townhouses of Wythe Lane Alight in Williamsburg [BBH]

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651 New York Avenue3

Rebar is rising on the site of this 40-unit development at 651 New York Avenue in East Flatbush by developer Eli Karp of Hello Living. After years of developing luxury condos in Prospect Heights and Crown Heights, this project, which the developer is calling Hello New York, is one of five on the other side of Eastern Parkway in Prospect Lefferts Gardens and East Flatbush.

Each unit will have a private elevator opening directly into the apartment and a large terrace. The building will have a gym and there will be 20 parking spaces for the 40 units. Click through for a rendering from the construction fence and a shot of the site.

Hello Living Ventures out to New York Avenue [Brownstoner] GMAP
(more…)

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Pratt student and Brownstoner reader Matthew Petric has mapped all the buildings profiled in Brownstoner’s Building of the Day series over the years and has very kindly shared with us the link. His tongue-in-cheek title: “Brooklyn, one (thousand) building(s) at a time.”

The map can be clicked, searched by address and, most interestingly, viewed by date (or a range of dates) of construction.

Thank you, Matt, for making our architectural history columns more accessible and showing them from a new angle. The map was created for Pratt class Spatial Thinking, Data, and Design.

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Dixon is finishing up construction and started leasing another group of properties in Brooklyn, most of them in Bed Stuy and Bushwick. We toured three of them, all in Bed Stuy, and found Dixon is getting faster and better at renovation.

Most of the renovations will be completed in less than a year. Some of the properties had severe water damage, requiring extensive work ranging from gut renovation to replacing some or all structural components such as joists and beams. Dixon is using contractors with experience restoring townhouses in Brooklyn and Harlem, such as All Renovation. Dixon managers oversee each site. An in-house designer creates a unique plan for every house and specs and sources all components, finishes and appliances before construction starts, which speeds things along.

We were impressed with the creative and appropriate use of finishes in each townhouse. In a narrow Romanesque Revival townhouse at 513 MacDonough (pictured after the jump) that had been covered with faux panelling and laminate flooring over the years — all of that was ripped out — an oak plank veneer (a new product engineered to withstand moisture) was used to impressive effect on a kitchen island and on a wall in a bathroom.

The quality of the bathrooms, kitchens, closets and other features was already high, but now is even better in the properties we saw. Dixon townhouses now typically have en-suite bathrooms for every bedroom and extensive closet and pantry systems with built-in shelves. One house even had two laundry rooms. They all have landscaped yards and often decks with huge, custom made floor to ceiling windows that open like doors. Two of the houses we saw this time had Aga Legacy stoves, which retail for around $6,000. An extremely luxurious all-marble bathroom at 14 Monroe spanned the width of the house in front and had both a clawfoot tub and shower.

Dixon has also done work to preserve the historic exteriors of the houses, such as redoing the limestone and brownstone facades and ironwork. At 14 Monroe, pictured below, the original 19th century ironwork was missing, and Dixon reproduced it using a mold from a neighbor, who had already restored his own. (more…)

608 Franklin Avenue

ODA Architecture has designed a boxy, glassy building – with multi-paned windows somewhat reminiscent of an old factory building — to replace the brewery at 608 Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights.  New York YIMBY was the first to publish the rendering.

The specifics of the plans have changed slightly: The building, which will be quite large and take up much of the block between Bergen Street and Dean Street, will rise to eight stories and have a total of 130,00 square feet. There will be 120 rental units — studios, one and two bedroom units. Twenty percent of the units will be income-restricted, according to NYY. The mixed-use building will have 19,000 square feet of retail space.

The development will replace three rundown, low-rise structures on the Dean Street side of the property, not the 19th century brick brewery building on Bergen (as we’ve previously mentioned). The corner lot also has 141 feet of frontage on Franklin Avenue.

While the design reminds us of buildings in the Ladies’ Mile area in Manhattan rather than Crown Heights, it strikes us as a far cry above the majority of new construction. What do you think of it?

Revealed: ODA’s 608 Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights [NYY]
Eight Story Mixed-Use Building to Replace Part of Crown Heights Brewery [Brownstoner] GMAP
Rendering: ODA Architecture via NY YIMBY

626 Flatbush Avenue1

Construction has been moving quickly at 626 Flatbush Avenue since a judge lifted a temporary restraining order in June. About 12 stories have risen so far at the building, which will be 23 stories when complete.

The as-of-right development by Hudson Companies will have 254 rental units — 51 of them, or about 20 percent, will be affordable. The project will have 250,000 square feet of space, including about 4,000 square feet of retail. The project is expected to be completed in early 2016. Click through to see a rendering.

626 Flatbush Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP
Rendering by Marvel Architects
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Slate Property Group plans to build a 19-story tower with 157 apartments at the very prominent corner of Flatbush and Fulton in Downtown Brooklyn, according to a new building application filed yesterday. The photo above shows the triangular shape of the lot, now occupied by a partly empty one two-story commercial building. (Five Guys has replaced Sleepy’s.)

The new building will have a total of 160,000 square feet of space, including more than 123,000 square feet for apartments. Twenty percent of the apartments will be affordable, and the building will most likely be a rental, according to New York YIMBY, which first spotted the new-building application.

That leaves 20,000 square feet for retail. Goldstein Hill & West Architects are the architects of record on the permit. In December 2012, an LLC associated with Capstone Equities bought the property from Kansas Fried Chicken for $14,250,000, according to public records.

We think a tall mixed-use building at this location, the entrance to the Fulton Mall, makes a ton of sense. We hope it will be an attractive one.

Permits Filed: 19-Story Building at 1 Flatbush Avenue [NYY]
Photo by Scott Bintner for PropertyShark