A prototype for emergency housing is going up in Downtown Brooklyn, right next to the Office of Emergency Management. Designed by Dumbo’s Garrison Architects for manufacturer American Manufactured Systems and Services of Vienna, Va., it’s a three-story, three-unit building with two three-bedroom apartments over one one-bedroom, handicapped accessible apartment, The New York Post reported. What makes the housing suitable for emergency situations is how quickly it can be built. Each unit is 40 feet long and comes preassembled. A contractor clips the units together and hooks up the utilities. They even have balconies and photovoltaic panels on the roof to generate electricity. The design meets all city codes, and the concept could eventually be used for permanent high-density housing of no more than four stories, said the architect.
Crisis Housing Advances [NY Post]
Rendering via NY Post
Not long after Downtown Brooklyn parents started pushing for a neighborhood elementary school, the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School announced it will open a new elementary school in District 13. According to the press release, “In September, this first BPCS elementary division will open to kindergarteners in its permanent space — the upper three floors of 80 Willoughby Street, alongside St. Joseph High School for girls.” The charter school will grow a grade each year and will accomodate 300 students at full capacity. The admission is done by lottery; prospective kindergarten families can fill out an application here before June 3rd. And the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School will announce information session dates about the new school at its website.
Photo via PropertyShark
We took a stroll down the Fulton Street Mall the other day and there is a whole lot of commercial activity in the works. Pictured above, American Eagle signage up at the old Jimmy Jazz space between Bridge and Lawrence streets. It looks like it’ll open really soon. A Claire’s is under construction at 523 Fulton Street, between Duffield Street and Albee Square. It will open by July. The new Duane Reade is now open at 559 Fulton Street. A new, huge Foot Locker is under construction on the corner of Fulton and Gallatin Street. And we hear the old Sprint store on the corner of Jay and Fulton is becoming a Buffalo Boss wings restaurant, scheduled to open this summer. Click through for lots of pictures! (more…)
This afternoon at MetroTech Plaza, faculty, students, and firms from NYU-Poly and its business incubators will demonstrate their research in 40 interactive, family-friendly exhibits. Visitors can check out various kinds of robots, apps, fiber-optic sensors, energy-harvesting building materials, wireless monitors for epileptic seizures, what’s in the Gowanus Canal and augmented reality. The engineering school is based at MetroTech, and its first annual Research Expo is free and will be open from 1 to 5 pm today.
Photo via NYU Poly
If new(ish) condos in Downtown Brooklyn are your thing, this two-bedroom pad on the 25th floor of the Oro is definitely worth a look. The views through the wall of windows in the living room are great and the floors look much nicer than you usually see in new construction. On top of that, both bedrooms are decent-sized and there are two bathrooms to boot. Asking price for the 1,092-square-foot apartment is $970,000. Historically that would be a high valuation for this part of town but in this market historical pricing doesn’t seem to matter much.
306 Gold Street, #25D [Town Residential] GMAP P*Shark
Unfortunately our columnist’s computer problems are continuing today so we are republishing a Walkabout from a few years ago.
Photo: First AME Zion Church, McDonough at Tompkins. Bedford Stuyvesant. Home of this congregation since 1947.
Sidney L. Painter was a well-known Negro band leader in turn of the 20th century Brooklyn. He hailed from the Wichita, Kansas area, but when he died in February of 1905; his funeral took place at the First African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church on Fleet Street, in downtown Brooklyn. Brooklyn’s had several large African-American communities, as Brooklyn has always had African-American residents, and at this time, one of the largest communities was centered in the area of downtown Brooklyn near Fleet and Concord Streets, near Hudson and Myrtle Avenues, in the area now occupied by Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and the northern part of MetroTech. The black community there had a long history of religious participation, and several of modern day Brooklyn’s largest black churches got their start in this community.
The First AME Zion Church on Fleet Street had originally been built as the Fleet Street Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1849. It was a large two story wooden structure with a gabled roof, but no steeple. Inside, it had a large open downstairs room that was used for Sunday school classes and church events, and upstairs was the church sanctuary, with two aisles, and three rows of benches. In order to get upstairs, people had to go up one of two stairways on the left and right of a hallway. These stairs were narrow, and about halfway up, turned on themselves, before continuing upstairs. The church had been sold to the black congregation about twenty years before, and was one of the more important houses of worship in this downtown black community. A celebrity like Sidney Painter would bring out a large crowd for his funeral. Unfortunately, death would be there to claim more than Mr. Painter that day. (more…)
All summer long, there will be sports, movies, music, and other free events at the MetroTech Commons, Forest City Ratner Companies announced yesterday. It’s part of a new summer festival called Summer@MetroTech that kicks off May 17 with a rooftop film. Other events include a Bastille Day celebration, lunchtime sports broadcasts, a science festival, and live music at noon and in the evenings. BAM’s R&B Festival, the BEAT Festival and Rooftop Films are part of the lineup. For a full calendar, go here.
Photo by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
A group of unions, community groups and local politicians has sued New York City officials and City Point developers over wages at the construction site, The New York Daily News reported. The suit asks for a halt to construction and a study of the “impact of construction workers’ low wages on on the economy in nearby neighborhoods,” said the story. Mayor Bloomberg, Acadia Realty Trust, city housing agencies, and other real estate firms were among those being sued. The filing alleges workers are paid $15 per hour with no benefits. State Assemblyman Walter Mosley and City Councilwoman Letitia James were part of the lawsuit, said the story. The city owns the land and leases it to City Point. The story said City Point developers declined comment.
Coalition Sues City and Developers to Halt City Point Construction [NY Daily News]
Photo by New York Daily News
A tipster living in Downtown Brooklyn noticed that work is under way at 75 Schermerhorn Street, the large parking lot that sold in a foreclosure auction for $11 million last summer. So what’s to come? If DOB permits are any indication, it’s just going to be another parking lot! The DOB approved this building application earlier this month for “general construction to an existing parking lot. New accessory attendant’s booth. Install car lifts as per plans filed herewith.” Edison Properties, which owns the lot, develops residential, office and storage space, and it seems bizarre that they’d spend all that money to keep a parking lot. Perhaps they’re biding their time until development plans come through. In other news about this lot, Community Board Two’s land-use committee just approved an application for the parking company here to grow English ivy on the chain link fence on the perimeter of the lot. According to CB2, the planted area will encroach 18 inches on the sidewalk.
75 Schermerhorn Lot Sells for $11 Million [Brownstoner]
Huge DoBro Lot Under Foreclosure Pressure [Brownstoner] GMAP P*Shark
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Former Gage & Tollner Restaurant
Address: 372 Fulton Street
Cross Streets: Smith Street and Red Hook Lane
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: 1875
Architectural Style: Italianate, storefront is Neo-Grec
Landmarked: Yes, doubly. Building individual landmark (1974), dining room landmarked (1975)
The story: As Brooklyn spread out away from the Heights and the harbors, the area we now call Downtown Brooklyn began to be developed. At first, it was residential, with the oldest houses surrounding the old Duffield farm, now centered at Duffield Street. Many homes and churches were established in the area taken up now by MetroTech. By the 1870s, brownstone houses began to be built on Fulton Street, taking advantage of the proximity to City Hall, as well as the business life on Court and Montague Street.
At the same time, the Brooklyn Bridge was in the planning stages, so that by the time 372 Fulton Street was built, as a private home, businesses and homes were already being displaced by the access roads and workspace for the bridge. These businesses began relocating on Fulton St. In the space of only a few years, this house found itself surrounded by theaters, stores, and other retail businesses. Soon, entire blocks were taken up by huge department stores, the elevated train connecting the bridge to the rest of Brooklyn ran down the middle of the street, and this area’s days as a residential neighborhood were over. (more…)
Tech firms have traditionally flocked to Dumbo and, more recently, the Navy Yard, but now they are embracing Downtown too, reported The New York Post. In the past eight months, 11 tech firms have set up shop Downtown, including four at MetroTech, said the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Six more have signed leases at 325 Gold Street and 33 Flatbush Avenue. Homer, which makes apps for babies, and MakerBot, the 3-D printing company, are among those who recently made the move. Tech firms are more willing to consider Downtown because Dumbo and the Navy Yard are full, with long waiting lists. It doesn’t hurt that the area has good transit options, too.
Technically, Brooklyn’s Booming [NY Post]
Photo by Eugene Gannon
Albee Square is getting a farmers market! Run by Bensidoun, a French company that runs markets in Paris, Chicago and New York, it’ll debut this Saturday and then run weekly on Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm. The market will feature around 15 vendors selling food, produce, and handmade goods. Here are the vendors lined up so far, according to the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership:
Highlights include Dutchess County’s Migliorelli Farm, selling locally grown produce; Tierra Farm, selling dried fruits and nuts; Fort Greene’s Le Petit Bakery, selling breads and baked goods; and Robibero Family Vineyards, selling Hudson Valley wine. Other vendors signed up for the first season include Amelia’s Florist, Original Delancey Street Peanut Company, Meredith’s Bread, Anthis Greek Food, Yona’s Gourmet Delights, High Mountain Foods, Vesco Food, Café Mavi Express, and Provence en Boite.
At the end of November, the market will take on a holiday theme. For opening day this Saturday, chef Tanya Tracy will hold a demonstration on making gourmet dips and spreads and two Brooklyn artists will be performing throughout the day.
Albee Square Farmers Market Starts Saturday [DBP]
Photo by Kelly Hafermann Photography
The beams are going up for the Hampton Inn planned on the corner of Tillary Street and Flatbush Avenue Extension in Downtown Brooklyn. Construction’s been moving here since December. The 13-story, 116-room build will look like this. Construction should wrap one year from now.
A Hampton Inn Planned for Downtown Brooklyn [Brownstoner]
Work Starting up at Flatbush Extension Hotel [Brownstoner]
Permits Approved for 14-Story Hotel on Tillary [Brownstoner]
New Developer Plans Hotel at 125 Flatbush Avenue Extension [Brownstoner]
Pepper and Potter Goin’ Down; Hotel Plans Sunk? [Brownstoner]
Pepper and Potter Prepped For Demo [Brownstoner] DOB
Stimulus Boost for Downtown Brooklyn Hotel [Brownstoner]
From Cars to Mini-Fridges on Tillary [Brownstoner] GMAP
Although rumors go back to 2011, it’s been official news since early 2012 that T.J.Maxx was going to be setting up shop on the two lower floors of 505 Fulton Street, the 300,000-square-foot mixed-use building in Downtown Brooklyn. Owned by United American Land, the developer with multiple holdings on the Fulton Mall as well as the Municipal Building, the historic building will have more than 200,000 square feet of luxury residential space on the upper floors. When we passed by on Tuesday afternoon, it was apparent that work on the T.J.Maxx space was going full-bore, with windows out and portions of the lower facade temporarily removed for repair. The landmarked Romanesque Revival structure is also known as the Offerman Building. For some history on the building, click here. For a closeup of the current construction work, see below.
A T.J.Maxx Will Open on the Fulton Mall [Brownstoner]
505 Fulton Street Looking for Upscale Tenants [Brownstoner]
Development Watch: 505 Fulton Street [Brownstoner] GMAP
505 Fulton’s Transformation to Residential Begins [Brownstoner]
Mark Bittman will speak on “The Future of Food” in Downtown Brooklyn Tuesday. The $20 admission will benefit the Brooklyn Food Coalition, which describes itself as a “grassroots organization dedicated to the vision of a just and sustainable food system in Brooklyn.” The event is co-sponsored by Long Island University’s Public Health Program. Bittman is a New York Times cooking and food policy columnist. His latest book is “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6 PM To Lose Weight and Restore Your Health…For Good.” The event takes place at 6 pm April 30 at Long Island University at the Schwartz Athletic Center at 1 University Plaza. For more details or to buy tickets, go here.
Furniture retailer Raymour & Flanigan is open on the Fulton Mall. The store opened about a month ago, said a spokesman for the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. The 490 Fulton Street location is the company’s third outpost in Brooklyn. Other retailers on the street include Express, Brooklyn Industries and Armani Exchange.
NYT: National Retailers Flock to Fulton Mall [Brownstoner] GMAP
Today we bring you the first of a monthly photo series documenting the huge, multi-year construction project under way at City Point. When completed, the mixed-use development will include more than 1.8 million square feet of retail, entertainment, food, office and residential space on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street. The first phase of the project, located at 1 DeKalb Avenue, opened this fall with an A/X Armani Exchange store. Construction on Phase Two started last year and should wrap in the fall of 2015. (No timeline has been set yet for Phase Three.) Phase Two consists of a 670,000-square-foot retail center — it will be Brooklyn’s largest — under two residential towers. Together the two towers will have 690 units, 125 of which will be affordable apartments. Right now workers are digging down two levels below grade to pour the foundation on the 90,000 square foot site. They are moving from south to north, and as excavation is completed on one part, concrete work follows. That’s the back side of Phase One of the project at the far end of the work site, above. Below, workers install rebar to reinforce the foundation.
Photos by Rick Sechrest for City Point (more…)
A look at Brooklyn, then and now.
The blocks surrounding Brooklyn Borough Hall have changed so much in the last hundred plus years that if it weren’t for Borough Hall itself, once Brooklyn City Hall, one would barely know where one was. The surrounding streets make up our Civic Center, with municipal and commercial buildings that are designed to facilitate the operations of a modern city: courthouses, record keeping, law offices, educational and other municipal headquarters, and schools. A hundred years ago, the block across Fulton Street from Borough Hall looked totally different. There’s not a building there now that stood back then.
Today we have the two Brooklyn Law School buildings and Municipal Hall facing Borough Hall. Those buildings replaced a Hall of Records, the Kings County Courthouse, a much smaller Municipal Building and a small park, called City Hall Park, which filled up the corner of Court and Fulton Streets. Around the corner from the park, on Court Street, stood a row of small buildings, stretching along Court, to Livingston Street. And on the corner of Livingston, taking up whatever space on that block not filled by the backs of the courthouse and the Hall of Records, was the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute.
Lots more below…
The days are numbered for the 1920s office building at 210 Livingston Street, on the corner of Smith Street in Downtown Brooklyn. The Department of Buildings just approved an application to demolish the 11-story building, which was the former home of the City’s Human Resources Administration, which moved to 470 Vanderbilt Avenue. The building was put on the market back in 2011, and marketed as a possible residential or dorm conversion, office space, a hotel, or for demolition. (As one commenter said back then: “Amazing that demo is even listed as an option — only a fool would consider such. This building is perfect for residential conversion — puts to shame all those glassy new towers.”) According to public records, the building never sold. Perhaps the current owner thinks it’ll sell quicker as an empty lot? Or perhaps there are plans for a new building, although nothing’s listed yet with the Department of Buildings. According to PropertyShark, this lot has a FAR of 10, and it’s currently built up to a FAR of 7.45. It is a shame to see a perfectly good, and certainly charming, building like this go.
210 Livingston for Sale [Brownstoner]
The owner of the Princess Hotel on Schermerhorn Street, which has a well-documented history as a drug and prostitute haven, sold the building for $4.975 million. A tipster tells us that the buyer is the developer behind the very successful 223 Pacific Street condos in Cobble Hill, which is also reflected in public records. What we do not know yet is what will happen to this four-story building. We assume it’ll be a teardown, but DOB records aren’t giving any indication of what’s to go up in its place. Now if only the owner will get rid of the Lefferts Hotel, his Clinton Hill outpost, which is just as notorious. GMAP