Editor’s Note: Hi I’m Barbara, new Editor here at Brownstoner. This is my first post. We’ll be sharing the rest of our new lineup soon.
Yesterday’s Make It In Brooklyn Innovation Summit started with a bang. And a few surprise blasts from a full marching band. But the real show was seeing real estate bigs David and Jed Walentas of Two Trees and Bruce Ratner and Maryanne Gilmartin of Forest City Ratner share the stage in chummy conversation.
During the Q&A, we asked Ratner how he felt about having Hillary Clinton as a tenant at 1 Pierrepont Plaza, a building he built way back in 1987. His answer: “I was honored. I was sort of surprised. I’m delighted. No matter what my politics are.” (more…)
Commenter Pig Three has started an interesting discussion in the Forum about a supposed new NYPD policy to give drug dealers over 40 a free pass.
A New York Post story about the policy doesn’t say a word about the Mayor, but Pig Three blames the administration. Replies in the Forum evaluate de Blasio’s record on everything from universal pre-K to Vision Zero. Here’s the question:
Earlier this month residents in seven Brooklyn city council districts had the opportunity to vote on whether or not to fund a large number of projects using money allocated by the city to each district. The process, known as participatory budgeting, is designed to give citizens more of a voice in how city funds are spent. And now council members representing three of those Brooklyn districts have announced the results of the vote.
In District 39, which runs from the Columbia Street Waterfront, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens through to Park Slope, Kensington and Windsor Terrace, eight projects were funded, including $150,000 for greening Union Street and 9th Street, $250,00 for building a story telling garden at the Park Slope Library (pictured above) and $200,000 for draining a chronically muddy path in Prospect Park. A full list of projects approved by voters in district 39 can be accessed here.
Mayor de Blasio will propose building a new subway line running under Utica Avenue in a speech today about sustainability, according a report in Capital New York. The avenue, currently served by the B46 bus, is “one of the densest areas in the city not directly served by the subway,” said a draft of the speech quoted by Capital New York.
The B46 bus currently runs along Utica from Marine Park up through East Flatbush and then through east Bed Stuy on Malcolm X Boulevard to Williamsburg near Marcy Avenue and Broadway. A story in the Daily News said it’s all posturing and will never happen.
Brooklyn City Council members Brad Lander and Stephen Levin have joined with the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and one other City Council member in sponsoring a bill that would speed the landmark review process. The process would move online with a public database showing all actions taken by the Landmark Preservation Commission and the ability to submit applications for landmarks online, according to a story in The Real Deal.
The bill would also require the LPC to respond more quickly, with a 90-day limit for feedback on applications for individual landmarks and 180 days for proposed historic districts. “Unresolved” cases would have to be jettisoned after five years. (more…)
Former US Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has chosen Brooklyn as home base for her campaign for the presidency. Although she has yet to announce her official candidacy, her team just leased two full floors at 1 Pierrepont Plaza in Brooklyn Heights.
The move, which was first reported by Politico, follows months of speculation about where Clinton would base her campaign.
Her new neighbors include the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York and a branch of Morgan Stanley. Forest City Ratner is the landlord.
Brooklyn preservationists and Brownstoner readers were among the activists who turned out to protest the Mayor’s plan to wipe out existing height caps in Brooklyn’s historic row-house neighborhoods. (more…)
Mayor de Blasio’s housing plan won’t bring affordable units to low-income areas but it will destroy the character of the most expensive neighborhoods in Brooklyn, said housing experts — including real estate execs — in a Wall Street Journal article yesterday. Here are the deets:
*In low-income areas such as East New York, no one is building market-rate housing now and no one will build market-rate housing in the future, even if the mayor succeeds with his plan to upzone the area to allow bigger and taller buildings, because the math just doesn’t pencil out.
*Meanwhile, the mayor’s plan would work beautifully in higher-income areas such as Park Slope and Williamsburg — except that Bloomberg-mandated “contextual zoning” height caps make it impossible.
Mayor de Blasio is pushing to wipe out those hard-won height caps with a “text amendment” to the building zoning code (as we mentioned in yesterday’s article about the zoning controversy in Prospect Lefferts Gardens). If he succeeds, new buildings and additions 15 to 30 percent higher than what is allowed now will quickly sprout throughout Brooklyn’s most expensive and tony areas and beyond, from Cobble Hill, Park Slope, Williamsburg, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Bed Stuy, Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens — anywhere land is expensive and prices and rents support luxury development. (more…)
After a year of drama and disruption, last night’s Community Board 9 meeting was relatively sane and productive, but the highly anticipated vote on the controversial letter to City Planning to request a zoning study of Prospect Lefferts Gardens did not happen. Here is what did happen:
*The letter was sent back to the land-use committee for a vote because the previous vote turned out to be invalid. People were voting who weren’t actually members of the committee, and the vote was taken after the meeting had already been adjourned, which is against the rules. We were expecting a presentation on the land-use committee’s recommendation, but perhaps because the matter was sent back to committee for a vote, there was none.
*Acting chair Laura Imperiale and MTOPP leader and activist Alicia Boyd agreed on something: Now there is a new threat to the existing character of the neighborhood — and all neighborhoods in Brooklyn and New York City. A “text amendment” to the building code, buried in Mayor de Blasio’s “Zoning for Quality and Affordability” plan, would effectively wipe out hard-won height limits in “contextual zoning neighborhoods,” allowing new development 20 to 30 percent higher across the board. The board has two weeks to comment.
Also, City Planning plans to meet on the topic today at 4 pm at Spector Hall at 22 Reade Street in Manhattan. A community rally is scheduled to take place before the meeting, at 3 pm at City Hall.
*MTOPP has asked the D.A. to investigate Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams (more…)
For the fourth year in a row, City Council Member Brad Lander is organizing info sessions and voting for participatory budgeting. Lander has committed $1,500,000 from the city budget to make five public works projects a reality, and residents of the 39th District will decide how the money will be spent.
There are 13 proposals on the ballot, including an art installation for the 4th Avenue-9th Street subway station (pictured above), a storytelling garden at the Park Slope Library, new technology for local arts nonprofits, an A/C for the cafeteria at P.S. 124 in Park Slope, and street greening projects in Windsor Terrace and Gowanus. (more…)
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is looking into the outcry over the height of the Pierhouse hotel, aka 1Hotel, at 60 Furman Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park. (The building, as we were the first to report, has a 30-foot bulkhead on the roof that violates a 2005 community agreement on height and is blocking part of the view of the Brooklyn Bridge that agreement sought to protect. Just to clarify, the building is not blocking the special legally protected Brooklyn Heights Scenic View.) Earlier this month he sent a letter to Brooklyn Bridge Park President Regina Myer requesting more information about some technical points related to the height of the building.
“We are pleased that after extensive review, the Borough President’s office has joined with our other local elected officials in questioning why the Pierhouse has been allowed to grow well beyond the height limits originally agreed to with the public,” Save The View Now founder Steven Guterman told us in an email. “At this time we want Mayor de Blasio to take corrective action so the iconic views of the Brooklyn Bridge are restored.”
Adams and three other local elected officials have seats on the park board. So does Mayor de Blasio. In fact, he has the controlling vote with 13 seats, Guterman said.
One other interesting development: Save The View Now says that the building is actually 144 feet tall at its tallest point (including all bulkheads, etc.), not 130, and certainly not the circa-100 feet of the old Cold Storage Warehouse that used to occupy the site.
Above, 90 Furman and 60 Furman under construction in late January. (The hotel is the portion of the development closest to the bridge.) Please click through to read the letter.
We have reached out to a Brooklyn Bridge Park spokesperson for comment, and will update here when we hear back.
The Democratic National Convention will be in Philly. DNC organizers said they decided against Brooklyn for logistical reasons, including travel between midtown hotels and Barclays and securing the residential area around the arena, numerous outlets reported.
As soon as the decision was announced yesterday, some small business owners near the Barclays area said they were disappointed. Just a few weeks earlier a group of the same had organized to oppose the convention, saying it would mean a loss in business for them.