The Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved developer Shelly Listokin’s plans to rebuild the back facade and add two glass floors to the top of the landmarked building at 200 Water Street, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported. Aufgang Architects designed the new plans for the former Watchtower building, which received approval from the LPC on Tuesday.
As we reported in September, Listokin’s Urban Realty Partners plans to create 15 apartments in the building and convert it to condos. The Brillo Manufacturing Co. “daylight factory” and warehouse was built in 1950 and designed by Sydney Goldstone. Using an LLC, Listokin bought the Water Street building along with neighboring lots 173 and 177 Front Street for $30,600,000 in March.
At 177 Front Street, Aufgang has already filed a plan exam (which was disapproved) for a 12-story apartment, 105-unit building with ground floor commercial space. That property is outside of the historic district and won’t require landmarks approval.
The Highcap Group is marketing a 47,000-square-foot building at 25 Jay Street in Dumbo and asking $34,500,000, according to a press release. The five-story, mixed-use building at the corner of Jay and John Streets has 29 apartments and five ground-floor commercial spaces. One of the ground-floor tenants is the coffee shop and roasters Brooklyn Roasting Company. The property comes with approved plans for a 15,000-square-foot rooftop addition that could fit 15 more apartments. And the building has 150 feet of frontage on John Street and is right near the waterfront. It appears that the current owners, an LLC with a Greenpoint address, purchased the building for an undisclosed amount in 1999, according to PropertyShark.
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.”
What may be the only bookstore devoted entirely to poetry in Brooklyn — or possibly in all of New York City — officially opened in Dumbo Saturday. Berl’s Poetry Shop at 126a Front Street specializes in “handmade contemporary pamphlets and chapbooks, often in hand-sewn, letterpressed small editions representing a vanguard at the intersection of literature, art and design,” co-owners and poets Jared White and Farrah Field told us in an email.
Most bookstores have limited space to devote to poetry, but Berl’s hopes to reverse that dynamic, they said. There will be a shelf of poetry for children and events such as poetry readings, interviews, film screenings and poetry trivia nights. The shop will also display and sell visual art relating to text and books or created by poets. The space was previously a gallery, and has a steel floor that was installed for a Bauhaus-themed party in the early ’90s.
Berl’s got its start as a pop-up shop at the Brooklyn Flea. GMAP
City officials broke ground today on the St. Ann’s Warehouse redevelopment of the Tobacco Warehouse on the Dumbo waterfront. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, outgoing Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and City Council Member Stephen Levin all spoke, along with State Senator Daniel Squadron, Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer and St. Ann’s Warehouse Artistic Director Susan Feldman and its executive director Andrew Hamingson.
The $27,000,000 project will revamp the 150-year-old building at 26 New Dock Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park into a 25,000-square-foot performing arts center and community hub. Marvel Architects are designing the 18,000 square-foot building, which will have a flexible performance space, offices, waterside lobby, and a separate 1,000-square-foot multi-use community space for local artists, education and community groups. The 7,600-square-foot triangle space in the warehouse will become an open air courtyard “imagined as a walled birch tree grove,” which will be landscaped and open to the public. Construction is scheduled to wrap in 2015.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses have already unloaded a huge number of properties in Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights — 17, to be exact — but believe it or not, there are still 16 properties left to sell. The Brooklyn Eagle has compiled an exhaustive list:
*Five buildings on the waterfront: 25, 30, 50 and 58 Columbia Heights and 55 Furman Street. No. 25 is pictured above, along with a glimpse of No. 50.
*A vacant lot at 67 Furman Street.
*A vacant lot at 1 York Street
*Another vacant lot at 85 Jay Street
*A massive cluster of buildings at 97, 107, 119 and 124 Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights.
*Also in the Heights, turreted 21 Clark Street, a once-time hotel.
*Two small buildings at 80 and 86 Willow Street.
*Another hotel, at 90 Sands Street, which Kushner and RFR are already in contract to buy, although the Witnesses plan to remain there until 2017.
Real estate execs told the paper the market for Brooklyn property is “super hot” and they expect competition to be “huge” for the properties. A Witnesses exec gave no timetable for the sales.
Real estate developer Jared Kushner, RFR Realty and LIVWRK Holdings closed Tuesday on five huge Witnesses buildings in Dumbo, and the Wall Street Journal ran a story saying the redevelopment of the properties will transform the Dumbo neighborhood. Kushner said they intend to convert the buildings, once mostly a printing plant for the Witnesses, into a “hub for technology companies.”
The $375,000,000 parcel is 1.2 million square feet, and can offer “bigger and pricier spaces aimed at more mature companies than most in the neighborhood,” said the story. The addresses are 117 Adams Street, 77 Sands Street, 175 Pearl Street, 55 Prospect Street and 81 Prospect Street. The WSJ thinks Dumbo, already the most expensive residential section of Brooklyn and a busy hive of creative firms such as architects and tech startups, will become “a high-profile office destination that competes with neighborhoods like Flatiron and Chelsea.”
Rents are expected to be in the mid-$50s per square foot. That’s about double the going rate for Dumbo now, but still less than Manhattan. The buyers plan to spend about $100 million renovating the buildings. Any conversion of the properties to residential use would require approval from the City Council. The renovation will include parking for as many as 5,000 bikes, outdoor roof space, and 150,000 square feet of retail space for mostly Brooklyn-based companies, said the story. The group also hopes to add pedestrian plazas. LIVWRK Holdings is a new real estate firm started by former Two Trees executive Asher Abehsera.
Developers Urban Realty Partners have big plans for the warehouse and two empty lots they bought from the Jehevoh’s Witnesses for $30,600,000 in April. They filed a zoning review in August, which was disapproved days later, to convert the landmarked warehouse — a 1950 “daylight factory building” designed by Sydney Goldstone — into a condo building with 15 units. They have also asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission for permission to build a rooftop addition, rear yard addition and alter the facade.
Next door at the empty lot at 177 Front Street, they hope to build a 12-story apartment building with 105 units and commercial space on the first floor. The application was filed yesterday, so no decision has been reached. At 173 Front Street, no applications have been filed thus far. The architect on both projects is Aufgang + Subotovsky Architecture and Planning.
Meanwhile, some tall scaffolding and orange netting — more than a story high — have appeared on the roof of 200 Water Street, above. It’s most likely a temporary scaffold for routine maintenance of the building’s water tower.
Preservation advocates at the New York Landmarks Conservancy have suggested Studio V Architecture dial down its proposed design for the adaptation of the landmarked Empires Stores warehouses in Dumbo, according to a few graphs buried at the end of a long New York Times piece today about the project.
Conservancy President Peg Breen praised the plan for restoring the facade, but said the two-story rooftop addition was too big and that a proposed glass arcade — the centerpiece of Studio V’s plan to knit together the buildings and create modern usable space — cuts too many holes in the buildings’ schist walls.
A few other details of the project, which is being developed by Midtown Equities, emerged: The architects want to preserve as many remnants as possible of the building’s past as a hub for the sugar and coffee trades in the 19th century, including iron hoisting wheels, chutes for coffee bags, iron shutters, star-shaped tie-rod anchors, and what remains of painted advertising signs. “We don’t want to take away the aging,” said Studio V’s Jay Valgora. “We want to restore the patina.”
Brooklyn Bridge Park installed a flood protection system around Jane’s Carousel on the Dumbo waterfront at 10 am this morning. During Hurricane Sandy, the 90-year-old carousel was submerged in water but survived with only minimal water damage. Owners Jane and David Walentas (founder of Two Trees), who bought the carousel at auction in 1984 and restored it to its original condition, donated the new flood protection system, which is called an AquaFence. The portable flood barrier, visible above ringing the carousel near ground level, can be folded flat and stored nearby when it’s not needed, so it won’t cover the carousel’s beautiful facade on regular, sunny days.
Furniture retailer West Elm plans to move out of its space at three Two Trees-owned locations and into Midtown Equities‘ planned redevelopment of the 150-year-old Empire Stores warehouses along the Dumbo waterfront, according to Crain’s. The company signed a 20-year deal yesterday for 150,000 square feet of space in the new development. It will move its headquarters, retail store, and the West Elm Market and coffee shop to Empire Stores. It also wants to create an outdoor coffee shop serving La Colombe coffee.
Midtown Equities is developing the landmarked warehouses at 55 Water Street into retail and office space as well as a public park on the rooftop. Construction of the 327,000-square-foot complex is scheduled to begin in early 2014 and will finish in the fall of 2015.
Empire Stores developer Midtown Equities has chosen Studio V Architecture to design the adaptive reuse of the seven historic mid-19th-century warehouses on the Dumbo waterfront, the design firm announced yesterday. Their renderings, which were originally published anonymously by Brooklyn Bridge Park as part of its competition, are above and after the jump. The plan includes a marketplace with Brooklyn food purveyors and restaurants, a cultural museum about Brooklyn, offices for creative firms and digital startups, and public park on the rooftop. A new angled glass courtyard and arcade will pass through the existing masonry structures, which the firm will restore. A glass addition with gardens and terraces will be visible on top, with a green roof.
“Along with the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire Stores are the most iconic structures on the Brooklyn waterfront,” said principal and founder Jay Valgora in a prepared statement. “Our design combines historic rehabilitation with contemporary forms and materials to create an innovative new architecture for the waterfront.” The firm’s recent projects include the redesign of Macy’s Herald Square building. Click through to the jump to see more. What do you think of the design?