81 fleet place downtown brooklyn 92014

The brick facade is up and most of the windows are in at 81 Fleet Place, the 15-story development that supermarket mogul John Catsimatidis is building in Downtown Brooklyn. Construction on the 205-unit rental building is supposed to wrap in the first quarter of next year, and leasing is scheduled to begin then as well, as the Brooklyn Eagle noted in a story earlier this month.

Next door at 180 Myrtle, where Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group is developing its third and final rental building on Myrtle between Fleet and Ashland places, construction is just starting. When we stopped by, the lot was being cleaned and excavated. A 15-story tower with 213 units and 129 parking spaces will rise on the plot.

These two buildings join the Andrea at 218 Myrtle, Red Apple’s first rental development on the block. It was finished in 2010. Dattner Architects designed all three, and you can click through to see their master plan for the block and a look behind the fence at 180 Myrtle.

Fleet Place Coverage [Brownstoner]  GMAP
Rendering below by Dattner Architects


420 albee square downtown brooklyn

The latest tower-tastic addition to Downtown Brooklyn’s skyline is a 65-story high rise headed for 420 Albee Square, across the street from the City Point megaproject. Developed by JEMB Realty, the 679-foot-tall development will have 620 units, per new building applications first spotted by New York YIMBY.

YIMBY notes that the building will be one of the tallest in the borough, surpassed only by the 800-foot-tall tower in the works at 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension. SLCE Architects is designing the tower, which will have 480,345 square feet of residential space and 271,203 square feet of retail on the first two floors. JEMBY Realty paid $38,500,000 for the site, currently a parking lot, in March, according to public records

Permits Filed: 65-Story Tower Coming to 420 Albee Square, Downtown Brooklyn [NY YIMBY] GMAP
Image via Google Maps


The last piece of developer Red Apple Group’s big Myrtle Avenue development in Downtown Brooklyn has fallen into place with the filing of an application for a new building permit for 86 Fleet Place.

The last and largest tower will be 346 feet tall with 32 stories, New York YIMBY reported. That will make it just slightly shorter than its next-door neighbor Toren, said YIMBY.

Permits Filed: 32-Story Tower Coming to 86 Fleet Place in Downtown [NYY]
Rendering by Dattner Architects via NYY


The developer of the Ace Hotel at 61 Bond Street in Downtown Brooklyn is requesting a variance from the city to build it. There will be a public hearing tonight at a meeting of Community Board 2′s Land Use Committee to consider the request. This will be the only opportunity the public will have to comment on the matter, according to a letter that went out to neighbors earlier this month (click through to see the letter).

Confusingly, the letter did not state what exactly the developer is seeking the variance for. The rumor is the developer wants to build higher than current zoning permits, and put a bar and pool on the roof, according to a tipster who sent us the letter. The neighbors are worried, our tipster said, adding, “I was excited by Ace developing the site (vs. the typical schlock hotels that tend to get developed in Downtown Brooklyn) and remain hopeful it will be a positive.”

If you want to speak at the meeting, you must call the community board district office at 718-596-5410. The meeting will take place at 6 pm tonight in Room LC400 at the Dibner Building at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering at 5 MetroTech Center.

The hotel will replace a parking lot, above. An application for a new building permit was disapproved in August.

Permits Filed for Brooklyn’s Ace Hotel [Brownstoner]
Photo by Google Maps via NYY

Update: The developer would like to add density (more square feet), not height. Anyone who wishes to testify tonight can do so by signing in before the hearing, CB2 District Manager Robert Perris let us know in a comment below.


brooklyn book fest

The Brooklyn Book Fest is descending on the park behind Borough Hall in Downtown Brooklyn this Sunday, and it’s bringing a full slate of Bookend events throughout the borough every night this week. Literary discussions and events on everything from comic books to parenting will take place from 10 am to 5 pm on Sunday. The slate of speakers includes Zadie Smith, James McBride, Jonathan Lethem, Joyce Carol Oates and Salman Rushdie. Check out the full list of Sunday’s festival events and Bookend events happening throughout the week.

Photo via Brooklyn Book Fest

Downtown Brooklyn from Temple Bar Building

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Downtown Brooklyn is one of my favorite neighborhoods to compare what was with what is. Because it was the center of civic and commercial life in the city, changes in that part of town happened often, sometimes dramatically. But also because of the area’s importance, many of the buildings there are now important landmarks, and still stand. Because of this, we have a wonderful frame of reference when looking at old photographs and postcards. Here’s another example. (more…)

Lane Bryant, SB, PS

By the time Lane Bryant, the maternity and plus-sized women’s clothing chain, reached its 50th year anniversary in 1954, it was on top of the fashion world. Who would have dreamed that maternity and “fat ladies’ clothes” could not only be lucrative, but would be on the cutting edge of fashion? The reasons were simple – good products, and a respect and love for the customer. Lane Bryant made fashionable, stylish clothing of all kinds for their special-sized customers. They didn’t marginalize them to a rack hidden in the back of the store, or design down for them. They made their customers feel that they were just as worthy of a fine shopping and fashion experience as their thinner sisters, and offered products and services that reflected that philosophy.

Downtown Brooklyn saw its first Lane Bryant store in 1922. It was a large four story building constructed for Lane Bryant, with entrances on Hanover Place and Livingston Street, near Flatbush Avenue. By the end of World War II, they had outgrown the space, and in 1950 moved to the former Balch-Price Building on the corner of Fulton and Smith Streets. Lane Bryant herself, now 71 years old, was on hand for the opening ceremonies and the ribbon cutting. (more…)

80-84 Livingston St. NS, PS

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Storefronts/offices with apartments
Address: 80-84 Livingston Street
Cross Streets: Court Street and Boerum Place
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: 1915
Architectural Style: Vaguely neo-Georgian
Architect: Volckening & Holler
Other Buildings by Architect: Station “D” Post Office, 4th Ave and 13th Street, Manhattan; addition to Bethany Deaconess Hospital, Brooklyn
Landmarked: No

The story: Downtown Brooklyn is filled with all sorts of large and important buildings. Sometimes we overlook the smaller, less architecturally impressive buildings that stand cheek to jowl with the masterpieces or the places where BIG THINGS happened. But often, it is here that the real lives of Brooklynites took place; the small businesses, civic organizations, and the apartments of ordinary people.

As it usually happens, I came upon the architects of these buildings while researching another building. I rarely pass up an opportunity to report on a building with a named architect, so I was hoping there would be a story here. In researching these three buildings, which were built as two stories of offices/stores below two stories of apartments, I found my story for today. (more…)

Lane Bryant, 50th anniversary, BE 1954

It’s never been easy being a woman of, shall we say, operatic proportions. Society is not kind, to say the least, and neither was the ready to wear clothing market. Larger sized women have always desired to be fashionable, elegant, and feel good about themselves, just like everyone else. Had it not been for a tiny Lithuanian Jewish lady named Lena Bryant, who knows how long it would have been until someone took notice and did something about it? Since 1904, Lane Bryant, the clothing company she started in her apartment in Harlem, has been providing beautiful and stylish clothing to pregnant women, larger sized women and girls. If you were in one of these categories, you were probably a Lane Bryant customer.

Part One of this story tells of Lena Bryant’s start, and early life. Part Two chronicles the rise of a huge retail and mail order business that branched out to locations in cities across the country, including, of course, Brooklyn. The first Lane Bryant store in Brooklyn was in a building constructed for them, a modern reinforced concrete, L shaped, four story building with entrances on Hanover Place and Livingston Street. The store opened with great fanfare in 1922, and joined Abraham & Straus, Loeser’s, and Fulton Street’s other grand clothing emporiums as shopping destinations for women and girls. (more…)


In an unusual turn of events, Junior’s Cheesecake owner Alan Rosen has decided not to sell the building that houses the iconic Brooklyn restaurant after all. “This is Junior’s identity, is this building,” he told The New York Times. “This is the one where I came on my first dates. Not the one down the street, not the one below 20 stories of condos. This one.”

He turned down an offer of $45,000,000 from a developer that would not have included a space for Junior’s. He also turned down offers of about half that size that would have given Junior’s a permanent home on the ground floor of any new development. (more…)

321 Ashland Pl, BAMFisher, beyondmyken for Wiki 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Former Salvation Army Citadel, now BAM Fisher (Richard B. Fisher Building)
Address: 321 Ashland Place
Cross Streets: Lafayette Avenue and Hanson Place
Neighborhood: Fort Greene
Year Built: 1927-8, New incarnation: 2010-2012
Architectural Style: (Original building) Georgian Revival
Architect: Original building –Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker, New building – H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, Hugh Hardy architect
Other Buildings by Architects: (VH&W)-Manhattan: Salvation Army headquarters and residence, 14th St, Barclay-Vesey Building, Western Union Building, both Tribeca. Brooklyn: Bell Telephone Building, Municipal Building. (Hugh Hardy)- Many theater and cultural facilities, including work on New Amsterdam Theater, Victory Theater, Joyce Theater, Bridgemarket, and other BAM projects
Landmarked: Yes, part of BAM Historic District (1978)

The story: The Salvation Army held its first meeting in America in Philadelphia in 1879, with a chapter in New York City a year later. The organization was founded in England in 1865 by Catherine and William Booth. By 1882, they had also established a chapter in Brooklyn, meeting at the old Lyceum Theater downtown on Washington Street. They met there every Saturday night, and then also began preaching on the steps of City Hall. That was not appreciated by some, and violence often erupted.

In order to maintain some identity and pride, the Army had uniforms made up by a Brooklyn tailor named Schmidt, giving the organization its recognizable look that is still followed today.Eventually, the Salvation Army’s mission of “Soup, Soap, and Salvation” was a familiar and welcomed one, all across Brooklyn, and the organization spread its chapters throughout the borough. Of course, over the years, they had also grown exponentially across the country, and established their national headquarters in Manhattan. (more…)

172 Cadman Plaza E. SSpellen 1

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

(Throwback Thursday: a look at an old piece, rewritten and updated with new info)

Name: Brooklyn War Memorial
Address: 172 Cadman Plaza East
Cross Streets: Cadman Plaza West, Cadman Plaza East, near Orange Street
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: 1952
Architectural Style: Neo-Formalism, perhaps?
Architect: Eggers & Higgins (building), Charles Keck (sculptures and memorial)
Other Buildings by Architect: (Eggers & Higgins) – Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center; Vanderbilt Hall, NYU Law School; Jacob Javits Building, NYC Civic Center; Silliman College, Yale University
Landmarked: No

The story: This huge monument honors Brooklyn’s war dead from World War II, and is a somber reminder of the sacrifices ordinary people have made for our country. Unfortunately, for something as large and important as it is, this is the most lost memorial in Brooklyn. I think it’s because of where they put it, at the back end of Cadman Plaza, a huge chunk of land that doesn’t flow as a park, or as a plaza. (more…)