Social service agency Brooklyn Community Services has struck a deal with developer Louis V. Greco Jr. to redevelop its downtown Brooklyn headquarters. The plan will add seven stories to the existing seven-story building while preserving its historic facade, according to a press release sent out by the firms and New York City Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen Thursday.

BCS will retain its offices in the form of a condo, and Greco will own the rest, including 106 apartments, some of which will be affordable. How much Greco is paying to buy the property was not revealed, and nothing has hit public records yet. BCS said it will use the proceeds to “serve its broader mission throughout Brooklyn.”

Some aspects of the plan had already leaked out in the form of Building Department filings and a rendering, above, which New York YIMBY published last month. The Wall Street Journal also wrote about the deal Thursday.

YIMBY didn’t like the PTAC units, but on the whole we think the addition looks pretty decent, and won’t be all that noticeable from the street anyway. (Click through to see a photo of the building in 2007.) What do you think of it?

Rendering from Heights Advisors via NYY; photo below by Scott Bintner for PropertyShark


city point phase 2 downtown brooklyn 12015

Construction of City Point’s Phase 2 appears to be chugging along, with the tallest residential tower reaching 30 stories out of a planned 43. Workers have installed facade and windows on several of the lower floors and part of the retail base.

By the time construction wraps, Phase 2 will include a five-story, 650,000-square-foot mall and 690 apartments, 125 of which will be affordable. The smaller of the two Cook Fox-designed towers will reach 19 stories and is being developed by BFC Partners. Brodsky Organization is developing the 30-story tower.

The first part of the megaproject at 1 Dekalb Avenue opened in 2012 with Century 21 and Armani Exchange as anchor tenants. The all-residential Phase 3 portion is supposed to wrap by 2020, The New York Observer said in September.

A few more photos after the jump.

City Point Coverage [Brownstoner]


100 willoughby street downtown brooklyn far away 12015

Windows have gone in on the first several floors of Avalon Willoughby West, the 57-story tower rising at 100 Willoughby Street. The monolithic apartment building will surpass 388 Bridge Street as Brooklyn’s tallest high rise and bring 861 apartments to Downtown Brooklyn. It’s also sprouted very quickly, hitting about 35 stories so far. Eventually, the SLCE-designed tower will reach 595 feet. But it won’t remain the borough’s tallest tower for long. JDS and SHoP are planning a 775-foot tower at 345 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension (across from next to Junior’s), and a 674-foot tower is in the works next to City Point at 420 Albee Square, as YIMBY noted in the fall.

Click through for more photos.


388 bridge street penthouse 12015

Seven months after launching sales, the 53-story tower at 388 Bridge Street has sold half its 144 condos and leased 95 percent of its 234 rentals. Only 67 condos are left, and move-ins and closings are well under way, according to PR people for the development.

The remaining condos at Brooklyn’s tallest high-rise range from $650,000 to $1,600,000, and asking prices for the fancy “Penthouse Collection” start at $1,742,000 and go up to $5,999,000. Condos are selling for close to $1,600 a square foot.

Designed by SLCE and developed by the Stahl Organization, the building features 8,000 square feet of amenity space and has a two-story Manhattan Athletic Club at its base.

388 Bridge Street [Official]
388 Bridge Street Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Halstead Property Development Marketing

Vandergaw Carriage, Composite

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Long before the Dime Savings Bank, long before City Point, the Albee Square Mall that preceded that, and the Albee Theater that preceded the mall, and on back into the 1850s, when this area was more like a small town than a big city, a man named John Vandergaw had a thriving establishment on this site. He made carriages and coaches, a much needed product for a growing city of Brooklyn.

Today’s “Past” photograph dates from a bit after 1850, and is one of the oldest photographs I’ve featured here. It is part of a series of postcards assembled by the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper. Their postcards, which were mostly a collection of photographs taken for news stories, were packaged in sets, and sold through the paper and by retailers in the early 20th century. The collection is quite eclectic, with photographs of schools, churches, banks, important civic buildings, a few mansions of the rich, and several older photos, like this one, that they discovered in their archives. (more…)

Wash Hull, Julia Hull,composite

Architect Washington Hull had a lot of successes in his personal and professional life. He also had some profound failures. He was a Brooklyn boy, with a lot of talent as well as a healthy ego and a rather pugilistic personality. All of those factors resulted in a life that was certainly interesting, as well as news fodder for an eager press. He helped design and build the largest one-family home in New York City. His mansion for copper tycoon William A. Clark was an enormous castle designed for a man whose own ego, not to mention wealth, knew few boundaries.

This fantastic and rather overdone palace of 120 rooms is no longer standing, but it’s still in the memory of New Yorkers. Clark was the father of eccentric heiress Huguette Clark, who downsized from the family pile to 42 rooms over three apartments on 5th Avenue at 72nd Street. She led a strange and troubled life, and was the topic of a best-selling book called “Empty Mansions”, by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Jr.

Washington Hull’s own life read like a novel sometimes. Aside from the mixed blessing of building a home for one of the Gilded Age’s most powerful and picky men, Hull also won a prestigious contest to design Brooklyn’s new Municipal Building in 1902. But just as he was about to begin to build, the contract was snatched out of his hands by the new, incoming Brooklyn Borough President Martin Littleton. He declared the Hull’s contest design and city contract null and void, and the architect who dreamed of designing a Brooklyn civic building for the ages saw his dream dashed on the rocks of political one-upmanship. (more…)

affordable housing meeting flyer

If you missed the fall sessions on applying for new affordable housing in Downtown Brooklyn, a group of community organizations are hosting another forum next month, where they’ll explain how to navigate the housing department’s lottery process for affordable apartments. Staff from the Mutual Housing Association of New York will offer advice on filling out applications on NYC Housing Connect. They’ll walk through the income requirements for each new development, as well as the documents applicants need to give to the city’s Housing and Preservation Department (HPD). The seminar will take place on February 5 at 6:30 pm in Bethany United Methodist Church, located at 1208 St. Johns Place between Albany and Troy avenues in Crown Heights.


A glassy 30-story tower will fill yet another lot on Flatbush Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, next to City Point. 6sqft dug up renderings for 141 Willoughby Street, a 240,000-square-foot project with ground-floor retail and “student housing, commercial or residential space above,” according to developer Savanna Partners.

Savanna can build up to 120,000 square feet under current zoning, but they’re seeking a special variance to double the size of the building. Bounded by Flatbush Avenue Extension, Gold and Willoughby streets, the wedge-shaped property is home to the Institute of Design and Construction, a technical college specializing in construction and engineering.

The developer paid $28,000,000 for the three-story building last year. Click though for more renderings.

Revealed: 141 Willoughby, 30-Story Mixed-Use Tower to Replace Site Once Slated for Eminent Domain Takeover [6sqft] GMAP

Renderings via Savanna Partners; aerial rendering below via City Realty


Wash Hull, Parfitt Design, BE, 1910

In 1903, a young Brooklyn architect named Washington Hull won a competition to design the new Municipal Building for the borough of Brooklyn. His design was deemed the best, with competition from the Parfitt Brothers, William Tubby and other important Brooklyn architects. The Borough President at the time, J. Edward Swanstrom, made the announcement at the end of November, 1903. Unfortunately, he had not been returned to office by the voters, and a month and a half later, Swanstrom was gone, and new Borough President Martin Littleton took over.

Littleton had great ambition, and a larger ego, and he immediately put out the notice that he would be reviewing everything that his predecessor had put into effect, and he would be making changes if things didn’t meet his exacting standards. One of those projects was the new Municipal Building. Three months after taking office, Littleton made the announcement that he didn’t like Hull’s design, and he wanted to void the prize and Hull’s signed contract and have a do-over.

Littleton held a press conference where he announced that he was going to get a better design. He owed it to the people of Brooklyn, he said. The story of this competition can be found in Part Two of this story. Needless to say, this did not go over well with Washington Hull, who was left holding a lucrative contract that wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on. (more…)

299-301 Livingston Street

The wrecking ball is coming for two small storefronts on Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn, where a developer is planning a 17-story apartment tower. The two buildings at 299-301 Livingston are four stories each, with retail on the ground floor and apartments above. Demolition applications were filed earlier this month.

After they’ve been knocked down, construction will begin on a 37-unit, 38,000-square-foot residential development. It will have 29 parking spaces spread between the cellar and the ground floor, according to Schedule A filings.

The architect of record is Stephen B. Jacobs Group, and permits list the developer as Izzy Neiman. Plans were first filed in August and disapproved in November. In August, New York YIMBY wrote about the project and said it probably will include 20 percent affordable housing, based on the planned square footage of the building. GMAP

Photo by Google Maps

dime savings clock

Owner JPMorgan Chase has decided to put one of its prime bank branches up for sale: The historic Dime Savings Bank at 9 DeKalb Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn. The 1908 Classical building looks like a Roman temple and sits next to Junior’s in a major development spot in Brooklyn that is currently seeing tons of high-rise construction.

The building is landmarked, so it will not be torn down or altered for development. No asking price has been named, but real estate insiders speculated it could fetch $100,000,000 or more, mostly for its valuable air rights, Crain’s reported.

Chase will move to 490 Fulton Street. The building would make a great event space, or possibly Apple might be interested in opening a store there, sources speculated to Crain’s. Massey Knakal is marketing the listing.

A planned tower at 340 Flatbush Avenue Extension could use the landmark’s 285,000 square feet of development rights to build an even bigger tower. The 100,000-square-feet bank has a gold dome on top; inside is a rotunda with giant marble columns, offices on the second floor, and an underground floor with vaults and a firing range. It was a Building of the Day in 2012.

Dime Savings Bank in DoBro Could Become $100 Million-Plus Buy [Crain's]

Wash Hull, Muni Building, Arch and Design, 1903

In 1903, a young architect born and raised in Brooklyn won the most important architectural competition of the new century. Against all odds, this relative newcomer beat out well-known and experienced architects like the Parfitt Brothers, William Tubby and Rudolfe L. Daus, and was awarded the commission to design the Borough of Brooklyn’s new Municipal Building. Washington Hull was the talk of the town.

You can catch up on Mr. Hull’s upbringing and early history in Part One of this story. He was still establishing his solo career after working as a draughtsman and head of that department for McKim, Mead & White. He left that firm along with two co-workers, and they started their own office as Lord, Hewlett & Hull.

They seemed to be golden, winning a couple of good commissions, including a Reading Room building for Grace Episcopal Church in Brooklyn Heights and a precinct house in Kensington. They also came in second in a competition to design the Philadelphia Museum of Art. And then they landed the big one: the multi-million dollar mansion for Senator William Clark on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan; a building that was to be the largest, most expensive house in New York City. (more…)