630-flushing-pfizer-112114

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]

3rd-street-gowanus-112114

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…)

551-waverly-avenue-110614

Madison Realty Capital has filed permits for the building that will replace the commercial bakery at 551 Waverly Avenue in Clinton Hill. Our suspicions that it would be apartments is correct: It will be five stories with 122 rentals — and 20 percent of them will be affordable, New York YIMBY reported.

HTO Architect is the designer. The building, whose official address will be 555 Waverly, will have 122,000 square feet of space, including 7,700 square feet for retail. What do you think of the plans?

Permits Filed: 555 Waverly Avenue in Clinton Hill [NYY] GMAP
Clinton Hill Factory Near Hot Bird Trades for $23.5 Million, Apartments Possible [Brownstoner]
Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

1102 atlantic avenue solar panels crown heights 112014

The Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center is transforming a former auto parts warehouse at 1102 Atlantic Avenue in Crown Heights into space for light manufacturing. Yesterday, we spotted workers installing solar panels on the roof of the two-story brick industrial building between Franklin and Classon Avenues.

The renovation will cost an estimated $14,500,000 and provide space for 14 small and mid-size manufacturing businesses, according to GMDC. When work finishes, the building will have a new elevator, new windows, repointed brick, upgraded electrical, gas and plumbing, and a new roof with a 50-kilowatt solar array.

The organization bought the warehouse two years ago for $4,000,000, as we reported at the time. The nonprofit developer is leasing space in the building and expects tenants to start moving in around January or February, according to a spokesperson.

GMDC Buys Crown Heights Warehouse for Expansion [Brownstoner] GMAP

630-flushing-avenue-111014

Pratt will celebrate the official opening of its design incubator in the Pfizer Building in Bed Stuy with an invitation-only event Tuesday evening, a spokesperson told us. Located at 630 Flushing Avenue on the seventh floor of the former pharmaceutical factory, The Brooklyn Fashion and Design Accelerator (BF+DA) has room for 30 startups and now houses 17 venture and research fellows, according to its website. Move-ins started some time ago, and Pratt held a ribbon cutting when it announced the center about a year ago.

The center is focused on fashion design and has a small sewing factory capable of producing one to 100 units of an item. There are also laser cutting machines, digital printers for textiles, and knitting machines, all of which are handy for quickly making samples and prototypes. There are also design and testing labs for new dyes, finishes and digital creation. A showroom and event space can be used for work, a lecture hall, performances or a fashion runway, according to the center’s website. 

Pfizer Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP

newtown creek wastewater plant park

The city is building a methane gas recycling facility on land it promised for a park 10 years ago, according to community group The Newtown Creek Monitoring Committee. The group supports the facility but is demanding the city move it elsewhere, Brooklyn Paper reported.

“It does not look like we are going to get any of the open space they promised us,” at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant at 329 Greenpoint Avenue, pictured above, a member told the paper.

The Department of Environmental Protection said they put the gas facility, which includes “an 18-wheeler-sized mechanism” to produce energy from sewage and compost, as close to the plant as possible. The site between North Henry and Humboldt Streets will be a fenced off construction site till 2016. 

Activists: Newtown Creek Gas Plant Squashes Park Promise [BK Paper]
Photo by Google Maps

76 north 4th williamsburg lewis steel 1 82014

We are sad to report the amazing and unusual interiors planned for the Steelworks Loft conversion at 76 North 4th Street in Williamsburg will not be happening after all. Now that the building has changed owners and is a rental rather than condos, AvroKo is no longer designing the interiors, which originally had kitchen cabinetry resembling iceboxes, beams salvaged from the site, and other reminders of the building’s past as a steel factory in the 1930s.

new teaser page for the building shows a few tiny thumbnails with less expensive finishes that are more typical of rentals in the area, such as a kitchen with dark wood cabinetry and white subway tile.

Leasing starts this fall, according to developer Cayuga Capital — and fall is almost here. (more…)

brooklyn-expo-center-79-franklin-081414

The Brooklyn Expo Center, a convention center at 79 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, was looking close to done when we dropped by Tuesday. It will open September 13 and 14 with the Brooklyn Antiques and Book Fair, according to The Brooklyn Paper. The owner is controversial developer Joshua Guttman, whose Greenpoint Terminal Market and four other properties have burned in suspicious fires, although he has never been implicated, said the paper. (more…)

domino-080814

Two Trees is busy saving industrial and architectural artifacts from the various Domino buildings and will use them to create a High Line-style “Artifact Walk” and permanent exhibition at the development. Two Trees has tapped Landscape architecture firm and High Line designer James Corner Field Operations to create the park grounds for the Domino development, The New York Daily News reported. (more…)

160-van-brunt-street-080114

An old ship-engine repair building in Red Hook will be renovated and turned into store and office space for “creative office and retail tenants,” The New York Observer reported. LIVWRK, the real estate investment and development firm that is also a partner with Kushner Companies and RFR Realty in transforming the Watchtower printing plant buildings into office space for creative and tech companies in Dumbo, bought the building Tuesday for $21,500,000. (more…)

brooklyn-army-terminal-072814

The push to redevelop Sunset Park’s waterfront industrial spaces into a thriving manufacturing center for artisanal goods along the lines of the Navy Yard continues. The de Blasio administration has pledged to invest $100,000,000 into making over 500,000 square feet of the city-owned Brooklyn Army Terminal, pictured above, The Wall Street Journal reported. (more…)