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New York State Supreme Court Judge Knipel dashed what would appear to be the last hope of a community group fighting the height of Pierhouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Monday, the judge dismissed Save the View Now’s case against the controversial 30-foot-high bulkhead on top of the building — a structure which blocks the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade.

Save The View Now responded with a strongly worded statement: “If we allow this ruling to stand, it means that government entities are free to hide and mislead the public and do whatever they deem in their discretion, with no accountability or recourse to the public. This is simply wrong and unacceptable.” (more…)

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Today Brownstoner received this update from Steven Guterman of Save the View Now concerning the status of the court case it is pursuing against the controversial Pierhouse development in Brooklyn Bridge Park. We have reached out to the developers and Brooklyn Bridge Park for comment, and will update this post if we hear from them.

“We are sure you are eagerly awaiting for Judge Knipel’s decision following our court hearing on August 6, 2015. At that conclusion of the hearing, Judge Knipel stated he came in with the intention to rule from the bench (presumably consistent with his decision denying our motion for a preliminary injunction) but following the hearing, he would need 1-3 weeks before coming to a decision. We left encouraged.

It has now been over five weeks.

While it is impossible to read anything into the extended period of time, we are hopeful that this is a good sign. (more…)


The modular tower known as B2, nestled against Barclays Center at 461 Dean Street in the Pacific Park/Atlantic Yards development, cause of lawsuits and greatly delayed, reached the 17th floor a few weeks ago. Its problem days are behind it, according to the latest communique from a spokesman.

But Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards Report, in a story on City Limits and two on his own blog, has dug up some details of its construction via FOIL that reveal a tortured past indeed — and might give pause to anyone contemplating renting there.

Atlantic Yards Report today published the FOIL documents in full. They reveal problems with leaks in the misaligned modular units far more extreme than previously indicated. (more…)


Residents of the Vendome building at 363 Grand Avenue in Clinton Hill have filed a lawsuit against the city and building owner Azad Ali in an effort to protect a decades-old agreement enabling tenants to purchase their apartments.

Built in 1887, the Vendome is Brooklyn’s oldest multi-family apartment building. Gutted by a fire in 1980, the building was slated for demolition in 1987. The Vendome was landmarked in 1981 — when the Clinton Hill Historic District was established — and community members lobbied to save it.

At the time, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development created a preservation plan for the site, which included keeping the Vendome as an affordable rental building for 15 years, after which tenants would have the ability to buy their units as coops or condos, according to Legal Services NYC — the organization legally representing the Vendome tenants. Tenants claim that the then-landlord signed agreements guaranteeing these terms in exchange for subsidized loans. (more…)

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Construction on 1 Hotel and the Pierhouse condos in Brooklyn Bridge Park is free to proceed and finish up, New York State Supreme Court Judge Knipel decided Wednesday. His written decision, which you can read here (link will download PDF), found that although the structure is blocking part of the view of the Brooklyn Bridge from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade in defiance of a 2005 community agreement, it is not breaking any laws. Also, the suit was brought too late, he said.

The lawsuit turned on the definition of what constitutes a building and whether or not the bulkhead counts. The park’s modified General Plan is silent on the matter, but architectural practice in general typically does not count rooftop structures such as bulkheads as part of the building itself, the judge’s decision said.

Above and below, Pierhouse construction late last month. Click through to see email statements from all the lawsuit parties.

Pierhouse Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photos by Field Condition (more…)


A full public review will be required to change the terms of the General Project Plan and move forward with the construction of affordable housing in two towers on Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, according to the terms of a settlement reached in State Supreme Court Wednesday. Interestingly, the settlement also requires that building mechanicals be included in the building’s maximum height limits — a nod to controversy over construction elsewhere in the park.

More than a dozen community groups and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. both declared victory. “This compromise will ensure the community a full review consistent with law,” said Frank Carone, the attorney for People for Green Space Foundation Inc. in a prepared statement from the group. “I believe truth, fresh air and sunlight will prevail,” said another member of the group, architect Joseph Merz, in the release. (more…)

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Community group Save the View Now this week sued developer Toll Brothers and Brooklyn Bridge Park over the height of the Pierhouse hotel and condos, now under construction in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The group alleges the height of the buildings has illegally violated the park’s own General Project Plan. State Supreme Court Justice Lawrence Knipel issued a temporary restraining order preventing construction on a section of the development south of the Squibb Bridge, the group announced Thursday.

The details are complex, but suffice to say at issue is whether or not the three-building condo and hotel development at 60, 90 and 130 Furman Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park is blocking views of the Brooklyn Bridge in violation of any laws.

Brownstoner broke the story in September that the northernmost part of the development, 1Hotel at 60 Furman Street, has angered preservationists because it is, in fact, blocking a view of the Brooklyn Bridge a 2005 agreement between the park and another community group, the Brooklyn Heights Association, sought to protect.

But — whether or not the height of the three buildings violates any laws is another question — and one this lawsuit seeks to answer. (more…)

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Landlords Joel and Aaron Israel were arrested Thursday on criminal charges for allegedly intentionally destroying apartments they own in Greenpoint and Bushwick and lying to the court about it,  the Times and many other outlets reported yesterday. The brothers have been in the news for about two years after reportedly destroying kitchens, baths, gas lines and hot water heaters of longtime tenants at several buildings in Brooklyn to force them out and increase rents to market rate for newcomers.

The cases have been winding through housing court. Criminal charges in such cases are unusual — but then so are the alleged actions of the accused. (more…)


As the building boom continues, more cases of shoddy new construction are coming to light, some the result of unseasoned, inexperienced developers, according to The New York Times. The story dove into problems at two buildings in particular, 500 4th Avenue (above) and 550 Grand Street.

At the former, a big new condo building, the cement cracked off the facade and balconies developed alarming cracks three years after opening. At the latter, a condo conversion of a 19th century brick building in Williamsburg, the roof leaked, the storm drainage system was not hooked up to the sewer system so the building frequently flooded, and “fire stopping measures” were missing.

The story mentioned two developers who have been named in lawsuits for construction defects in more than one building: Isaac Katan and Shaya Boymelgreen. It also recounted the travails of condo buildings that try to hold developers or sponsors accountable, and said ongoing litigation may make it difficult to sell.

Would you buy in new construction?

Construction Defects Follow a Brooklyn Building Boom [NYT]
Balconies Unsafe, Structural Problems at New Build on 4th Avenue [Brownstoner]
Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

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In a rare decision, a Brooklyn Housing Court judge has barred landlord Joel Israel from his own building and appointed an administrator to repair and manage it. The building at 300 Nassau Avenue in Greenpoint has been in the headlines since the rent-regulated tenants were forced out in December 2013 because the landlord destroyed their apartments, water lines, gas lines, and hot water heaters, according to a press release from the tenants’ laywers. Tenants will return when the building is fixed.

The same landlord also owns 98 Linden Street in Bushwick, where he allegedly destroyed kitchens and baths in two rent-regulated apartments, as we’ve reported previously. He’s also been accused of destroying his building at 324 Central Avenue in Bushwick and other properties in Brooklyn.

Landlords Destroy Their Own Buildings to Push out Rent Regulated Tenants [Brownstoner]
Tenants: Bushwick Landlord Tears out Kitchens, Bathrooms to Get Tenants to Move [Brownstoner]
Photo by Christopher Bride for PropertyShark

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The State Department of Corrections planned to concentrate all parole reporting for Brooklyn at its new offices at 15 2nd Avenue, but now that will not be happening. The department agreed to see only a third of parolees there and to decentralize parole reporting throughout Brooklyn, in exchange for community group Gowanus United dropping its lawsuit against the department, the state and the city, Gowanus United announced yesterday.

The location will serve 2,000 parolees — not 6,000, as was previously planned — for at least two years. The department will also meet regularly with local representatives and provide statistics on the number of parolees assigned to the office, Gowanus United said in a press release we received.

When we attended a planning meeting for Gowanus development in November, local business owners and growth advocates said they were concerned the office would have a negative effect on the area.

Construction on the offices is supposed to wrap this month, and the building will open in April, as we have previously reported. Above, the building in August. It is located between 5th Street and the Gowanus Canal, just behind Whole Foods.

Brooklyn Paper was the first to report on the settlement.

15 2nd Avenue Coverage [Brownstoner]


The condo building at 50 Bridge Street, built in 1894 to house a soap manufacturing company, is wrapping up a $3,500,000, two-and-a-half-year exterior restoration project. The update to the 58-unit luxury building, which went condo in 2004, involved waterproofing and stripping paint off the original brick facade.

“We are thrilled by these significant renovations that have resulted in the restoration of much of our building’s original character,” said the condo’s board in a press release. “The building is a beautiful example of 19th century industrial architecture and we have worked closely with Landmarks throughout this project.” Cowley Engineering and Flag Waterproofing and Restoration did the work.

We presume this fixes all the construction problems that were the subject of a 2007 lawsuit against developer Joshua Guttman. The condo owners received an undisclosed settlement in 2012 from Guttman over construction defects such as a “defective roof and other waterproofing issues,” a press release noted at the time. Click through to see a photo of the building in 2012, before the restoration.

50 Bridge Street Coverage [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo above by 50 Bridge Street; photo below by Sunita Mungol for PropertyShark (more…)