We took a tour around Forest City Ratner’s fascinating modular apartment factory at the Navy Yard yesterday, where reps from FCRC said they’ll begin shipping out the fully constructed units next week. They’ll stack the units to create the first Atlantic Yards residential tower, the 32-story building under construction next to the Barclays Center that is known as B2. When work finishes next year, the 363-unit tower will be the tallest modular building in the world.
Currently, Forest City expects construction to wrap by December 2014 — a faster pace than normal construction, which would take at least another 18 to 20 months. They also estimate that building modular units will be 10 percent cheaper than typical residential construction, but they hope it will become even less expensive and more efficient as they build more developments in the Atlantic Yards project. The tower will be a 50-50 mix of market rate and affordable housing, of which 20 percent will be low-income housing.
Architects SHoP and Forest City Ratner collaborated on the design and building process for the apartments. Each nut and bolt piece of the apartment is installed before it leaves the Navy Yard facility, including the electrical wiring and plumbing, hardwood floors, appliances, and even the towel bars. The hallways and stairwells are being built at the modular factory as well. Rooms in the apartment are often assembled as separate modules, e.g. bathrooms, bedrooms, and living room/kitchen could all be separate pieces. The variety of shapes allows for 25 different layouts.
After the unit is stacked in the building, contractors and electricians will connect each apartment’s utilities to the building’s common lines. The exterior sides of the apartments have the facade already attached (see pictures after the jump), and the facade will be “self-sealing” because the pieces fit together with seals between each unit.
Ever thought about joining your local community board? The community-minded folks over at nonprofit Transportation Alternatives are hosting an information session called Brooklyn Community Board Join-up Thursday evening on how to get involved with your local community board, where you can have an impact on everything from pedestrian and cyclist safety to development and new businesses.
Current community board members will be on hand to share stories of how they changed their neighborhoods, and officials from the City Council and the Borough President’s office will walk participants through the application process. They’ll even have a notary public there to certify applications, which you can download and fill out in advance if you’re really interested in joining up. Above, elected officials speak at a Community Board Six meeting about a proposed homeless shelter in Carroll Gardens last year.
Afterward, Transportation Alternatives’ Brooklyn Activist Committee will discuss their street safety campaigns for 2014. Also, they’ll have free snacks. Anyone who wants to attend can RSVP here on their website. The session will take place Thursday at 7 pm at the Brooklyn YWCA, located at 30 3rd Avenue just north of Atlantic.
The downtown high rise known as 66 Rockwell launched this week, as BuzzBuzzHome was the first to note. The 42-story building has 327 rental apartments, 20 percent of which are affordable. Those are already gone; the market rate units now leasing start at $2,400 for a studio and go up as high as $4,390 for a two-bedroom.
The apartments have bamboo floors, recessed lighting, granite counters in the kitchen, white quartz counters in the bathroom and Kohler sinks. Some units have balconies or washers and dryers.
What do you think of the look and the pricing? Click through to the jump for more.
Get into the Christmas spirit next Monday with the 24th annual Christmas tree lighting at MetroTech Commons. Visitors can expect Santa, Christmas carols, spoken word poetry and an appearance from Brooklyn Nets player Shaun Livingston. The Brooklyn Tech High School Chorus will sing carols, attendees can take pictures in a holiday-themed photo booth and Tony Award-winning poet and playwright Lemon Andersen will perform.
And everyone willing to brave the cold can fortify themselves with hot chocolate and cookies from Luciano’s and Starbucks coffee. Forest City Ratner is hosting the event, which will happen in front of 2 MetroTech Center next Monday, December 2 at 5:30 pm.
Name: Abraham & Straus, now Macy’s Address: 422 Fulton Street Cross Streets: Between Gallatin and Hoyt Streets Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn Year Built: 1929-1930 Architectural Style: Art Deco Architect: Starrett & Van Vlecht Other works by architect: Manhattan — Lord & Taylor, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, American Stock Exchange and Downtown Athletic Club, among others Landmarked: No, but should be
The story: Abraham & Straus was, for many years, and many generations of Brooklynites, THE department store in Brooklyn. There was a lot of competition for the title, as Brooklyn certainly had a nice roster of excellent stores, but A&S, as it became known in the latter part of the 20th century, was the best. Established in 1865 as Wechsler & Abraham, the store grew, moving to its flagship location on Fulton Street in the 1880s. Wechsler was bought out by Isador and Nathan Straus, who owned R. H. Macy’s in Manhattan, in 1893, and the new store, Abraham & Straus, continued to grow, both physically and in sales and customers.
Some might argue that the turn of the 20th century was the golden age of department stores. All of the great stores in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and elsewhere in the country, built fine new emporiums for their businesses during these years, leaving a great legacy of department store architecture in places like Manhattan’s Ladies Mile. But the 1920s was a great watershed building moment for stores as well, even as the Great Depression loomed at the end of the decade. (more…)
John Catsimatidis’ development company Red Apple Group is planning a 15-story rental tower for 180 Myrtle in downtown Brooklyn, according to a plan exam application spotted by Buzz Buzz Home. Dattner Architects will design the building, which will have 213 units and 129 parking spaces. The 156-foot-tall development will have 171,890 square feet of residential space, 10,988 square feet of commercial space and 500 square feet of community space. There will also be a lounge, playroom, roof terrace and exercise room. The supermarket mogul has owned the lot between Fleet and Ashland Place since the early ’80s, along with the two properties on either side of it, 81 Fleet Place and 218 Myrtle Avenue (another large rental building called The Andrea). And Catsimatidis has been planning a large development there since at least 2007, when we reported on plans for a 400-foot-tall building with a million square feet of space.
We found this rendering for a planned residential conversion tacked to the fence at 200 Nassau Street between Gold and Duffield in downtown Brooklyn, where a former Catholic church and community center will become an 84-unit apartment building. Interior demolition has already begun on the existing two-story structure, which used to be home to the Church of the Open Door and the Dr. White Community Center. The four-story conversion will have 84 units and 56,987 square feet of residential space, according to a plan exam application that was disapproved last week. There will also be an outdoor parking lot for 31 cars and storage for 42 bikes. Nataliya Donskoy of ND Architecture and Design P.C. will design the building. The firm filed applications for alteration type 1 permits beginning in April, and the DOB disapproved them November 18. The Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn still appears to own the property, but building applications list Bridge Building LLC as the developer. GMAP
We’ve included a picture of the building site after the jump.
Another downtown Brooklyn building boom will add 21,000 residents to the area in the next three years, reported The New York Times. Twelve buildings will go up with 3,384 units. Prices are going up too, as more amenities come into the area.
And all that development naturally has prices climbing. The median sales price in Downtown Brooklyn rose 12 percent to $594,000 in the third quarter of 2013, up from $530,000 in 2010. Rental rates have grown 24 percent to an average of $3,309 a month, from $2,666 in 2010, according to Streeteasy data cited by the Times.
The arrival of global brands and retailers such as Sephora and H&M is a big change for the area. But although prices are up, new residents think there is still upside potential, said the Times:
But newcomers are still finding value. Sophie Zhang and Mike Shilshtut began apartment hunting in Chelsea at the start of the year but, thwarted by low inventory, turned to Brooklyn. “We thought we liked Williamsburg,” said Ms. Zhang, a project manager. “But we were both put off by the L train, plus the fact that the prices have already appreciated so much the last three years. We didn’t think the neighborhood was a good investment.”
What about you? Would you consider living downtown?
That bank of windows sure is nice, but we’re not loving the finishes in this one-bedroom in the Toy Factory Lofts. The building has cred, though, for being the first new residential project downtown back in 2005 when it was converted. A buyer could make it their own, but is $850 a square foot enticing enough? That’s an ask of $700,000. What’s your opinion?
A lawsuit over payment has supposedly brought construction at City Point in downtown Brooklyn to almost a complete standstill, according to a story in New York Yimby. According to an anonymous source quoted by the publication, 120 workers walked off the site November 11 in connection with the suit. The blog also alleges that City Point’s developer, Albee Development, has failed to pay several contractors involved in the project.
Everything started when Albee replaced its concrete contractor, Casino Development, with another contractor earlier this month. Afterward, Casino filed suit against Albee disputing its payment and alleging that the developer had prevented Casino from removing its equipment, including more than $1,000,000 in steel framework.
City Point spokesperson Tom Montvel-Cohen told us that the workers had not “walked off” at City Point but had left because the contractor was replaced. Albee removed Casino from the project because the contractor did not meet agreed-upon construction milestones, he said. He also said that City Point is not delinquent in paying any of its contractors and that “erection of steel and masonry are proceeding without interruption.”
This is not the first lawsuit City Point has dealt with. In May, a group of unions, politicians and community groups sued the city and the developer over allegedly low wages. The suit was dismissed in October.
Artist management and creative content agency Art Partner is packing up its Soho office and relocating to City Point in January. The company has signed a 15-year lease for a 10,000-square-foot space in Phase 1 of the downtown Brooklyn development. They’ll be joining ground-floor retail tenants Century 21 and Armani Exchange. The 30-person creative agency will be one of the first office tenants to occupy the development’s 30,000 square feet of office space. Phase 2 of the 1,300,o00-square-foot project is still under construction, but when it’s finished, City Point will have 675,000 square feet of retail space and 690 residences. GMAP
Ben Snead’s fish heads sculpture at the corner of Prospect Place and Washington Street in Dumbo was packed up last month, but a new piece of public art has arrived to replace it. Two Trees, which manages the corner, has brought in a tall, white triangular sculpture created by British artist Nick Hornby. The 12-foot-tall sculpture, called “Bird God Drone,” is a robotically carved outline of Michelangelo’s “David.” Also part of the installation is this aerial video of the piece, which is supposed to reveal that David’s silhouette is lying horizontally on the ground. We’ve included a picture after the jump!
And a much more colorful installation has appeared at MetroTech Commons in Downtown Brooklyn. Public Art Fund has installed Katharine Gross’s “Just the Two of Us” (pictured), “a mass of jutting, brightly painted forms that transform the wooded space in the middle of MetroTech Commons into an undulating sculptural landscape,” according to the description. The exhibition also includes a smaller work at the entrance to the Jay Street-MetroTech subway, on the corner of Myrtle and Jay Streets, that “hints at the much larger installation only steps away.”