Expect construction soon at 81 Fleet Place, right off Myrtle Avenue, the second build of billionaire John Catsimatidis’ four promised buildings on Myrtle between Ashland Place and Flatbush Avenue. The Department of Buildings just issued a new building permit for a fifteen-story mixed-use building. When a rendering surfaced last fall, the DOB had disapproved the first round of building plans. This 205-unit build will hold ground-floor retail space and studio, one- and two-bedroom units. There will also be a landscaped terrace on the third floor. Construction is expected to last until next year.
A Rendering for Catsimatidis’ Fleet Place Build [Brownstoner]
Catsimatidis Doubling Down on Myrtle [Brownstoner] GMAP
New York University’s new Center for Urban Science and Progress officially opened Thursday at 1 MetroTech Center on the 19th Floor, reported The New York Daily News. The high-tech school will have graduate programs in engineering, planning and design. Research will focus on how to improve living conditions in big, crowded cities, from energy efficiency to better planning and infrastructure. “That research is expected to be crucial in the coming decades when most of the world’s population migrates to cities,” said the Daily News. The facility includes 26,000 square feet of office space and two visualization labs. The center will spin off hundreds of new companies and create thousands of new jobs, said Mayor Bloomberg at Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. There are already more than 500 tech companies in the downtown area, he added. NYU plans to remodel a building at 370 Jay Street into a permanent campus for the school, pictured in the rendering above. The goal is to move the school there by 2017.
High-Tech NYU “Genius” School Opens in Downtown Brooklyn [NY Daily News]
Rendering via NYU Local
The Department of Buildings issued three more demolition permits for the massive Willoughby West rental development planned for Willoughby Street between Duffield and Bridge streets. One’s for the large four-story building at 214 Duffield Street, on the corner of Willoughby. You can see what that building used to look like after the jump. Another demo permit is for the three-story building at 373 Bridge Street, and the last for a one-story building at 98 Willoughby Street. The row of townhouses along Bridge Street are long gone (see the photo after the jump) as well as another grouping of townhouses along Willoughby (pictured above). It won’t be long before this lot is totally empty. Demolition permits started coming through early this year after the developer spent years picking up all these properties. A 57-story, 861-unit rental tower will go up on this corner.
Demo Permits Filed for Willoughby West Development [Brownstoner]
Avalon Completes Its Puzzle in Downtown Brooklyn [Brownstoner]
Demo Soon for Row on Willoughby Street [Brownstoner]
Avalon Adds Another Piece to the Puzzle [Brownstoner] (more…)
The unusually large development site at 300 Livingston Street downtown, currently being used for parking and retail, has been sold to developer TF Cornerstone for about $75 million, Crain’s reported. Under current zoning, the developer could build a residential tower of up to 600,000 square feet on the spot. “The deal is one of several development parcels to trade hands in recent months, as builders have become eager to get in the ground again with residential projects to meet rising demand and prices,” noted the story. Current tenants include Subway, IHOP, Papa John’s and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. What would you like to see in this location?
Developer Pays $75M for Downtown Brooklyn site [Crain's]
Huge Downtown Site up for Grabs [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo by Massey Knakal
A tipster let us know there’s suddenly lots of activity at 174-180 Nassau Street downtown. The 19th-century Mayfair Ship Suppliers building was boarded up and sat there for a long time, then was demolished very quickly. Now a large work crew is at the site every day. And there is a new rendering available for the building under construction from owners and developers Pink Stone Capital, apparently replacing the previous Karl Fischer design. (The property changed hands in February 2012 for $11,289,725.) The building is supposed to be finished next year with 125 rental apartments over 115,000 square feet. Click through to the jump to see the new look. What do you think of it? (more…)
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: Row houses
Address: 291-299 State Street
Cross Streets: Smith and Hoyt Streets
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: 1871
Architectural Style: Italianate
Architect: Michael Murray (builder/architect)
Landmarked: Yes, individual landmarks (1973), National Register of Historic Places (1980)
The story: These houses are interesting and important for a number of reasons. In 1973, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the twenty-three 19th century houses that stand on both sides of State Street, between Smith and Hoyt Streets. Although they are informally called the “State Street Houses,” in a rare move, this block was not declared an historic district, but each of the houses was issued a separate designation report, and each, technically, is an individual landmark. Today’s BOTD’s are the only five houses that appear on the north side of the street.
Originally, there were nine more houses here on the right, and probably another fourteen or so, going towards Smith Street. This stretch of State Street, progressing down towards Flatbush, was considered part of the development of Boerum Hill, which started in the 1840s, as Brooklyn expanded out from the riverfront and the Heights. Like much of Brooklyn, this started out as farmland, land that belonged to Dutch families whose names now sound like an atlas of Brooklyn street names. The south side of State Street was part of the Jacob Van Brunt farm, willed to his daughter Jane, who was married to Samuel T. Gerritsen. State Street was originally called Gerritsen Street. In 1833, Charles Hoyt and Russell Nevins bought the Gerritsen farm, and began developing it. (more…)
Unions and community groups are demanding Bloomberg stop construction at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn and study the impact of low wages there, The New York Daily News reported. They allege that construction workers are being paid $15 an hour instead of higher union wages, up to $47 an hour. A Bloomberg spokeswoman said City Point is “a linchpin for revitalization in downtown Brooklyn” and has had a positive impact on jobs here. The project has created more than 180 construction jobs, some union and some not, and of those employees, “82 percent were minorities and 41 percent were local residents, more than doubling target goals,” she said. The City owns the site and “has provided more than $20 million in taxpayer-funded bonds” for its development, said the story. Councilman Steve Levin said he supports the call for a stop-work order and competitive wages, according to the Daily News.
Coalition Calls for Halt to City Point Project [NY Daily News]
The massive redevelopment under way in the BAM Cultural District in Fort Greene is drawing comparisons to Lincoln Center in the ’90s, reports The Real Deal. It’s all part of rapid change in downtown and nearby areas, including Barclays Center, that will transform the borough in the next few years. Since a rezoning in 2004, New York City has spent more than $100 million in the BAM Cultural District, the story said. “People will look back at this and say it’s a truly remarkable renaissance,” said developer Douglas Steiner, who is building a 720-unit rental tower at Flatbush Avenue and Schermerhorn Street known as the Hub. New residential buildings and businesses began to spring up following the 2004 rezoning. Demand for housing is outpacing availability, and rents have increased, reaching an average of $3,254 for a one-bedroom in January, according to real estate firm MNS. Retail is also in demand, with commercial rents doubling or tripling since 2004. Meanwhile, the City is encouraging cultural spaces and programming. Within the next four years, the area will boast about 40 arts and cultural organizations, the story said. “We like to think of this as a cultural district that caters to everyone — not just the New York elite,” said Tucker Reed, president of the nonprofit Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
The BAM Cultural District: The Next Lincoln Center? [TRD]
There’s nothing particularly sexy or architecturally compelling about this new listing at 53 Boerum Place, but the two-bedroom condo is generously and well laid out and in a great central location at the cross roads of Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Downtown Brooklyn. The 971-square-foot pad traded for $630,000 back in 2010 and is now asking $849,000, the exact same price as a similarly sized listing two floors above. Which do you think is a better deal?
53 Boerum Place #6F [Corcoran] GMAP P*Shark
This week construction workers are putting the final touches on CUNY’s Voorhees Hall, at 186 Jay Street. This wraps a massive, one-year exterior transformation of the building. The exterior reno is part of a larger $30 million dollar upgrade that includes classroom enhancements, a new lobby and other building improvements. The look matches the initial renderings pretty faithfully and is a huge improvement over the building’s previous incarnation. Check out a before picture after the jump…
Checking in at Voorhees Hall’s Glassy Reno [Brownstoner]
Voorhees Hall Getting Glassy [Brownstoner]
Exterior Transformation Under Way at CUNY Building [Brownstoner] (more…)
The Brooklyn Heights group Citizens Defending Libraries was out gathering signatures for a petition and holding meetings over the weekend in an effort to stop the sale of the Cadman Plaza branch of the Brooklyn library, reported the Brooklyn Heights Blog. So far the group has gathered 8,300 of the 10,000 signatures that are its goal. Councilwoman Letitia James and a representative of State Sen. Velmanette Montgomery have both attended the group’s meetings. Citizens Defending Libraries organizer Carolyn McIntyre wrote, “News is surfing about more libraries being closed and sold off. We need to make NYPL and BPL accountable and let them know the libraries need to stay public, for all people…It is deeply troubling that our public library systems are on the front line of every budget fight. Libraries are the lifeblood of our communities and are an increasingly rare public space.”
A tipster forwarded along the news that the Celeste Diner on Tillary Street has closed after 25 years in business. He said, “I’m guessing the Concord Village Board think they can now get way more for the suddenly primo tourist-trap location than the diner people were willing to pay to renew their lease.” The restaurant occupied the ground-floor retail space of the co-op building on the corner of Adams and Tillary streets. A sign on the window of Celeste reads, “Thanks for 25 years Brooklyn, Concord Village has other plans!!” so our tipster may be right. GMAP
In just a few years, Brooklyn’s downtown will look like a different place, with lots more tall towers and housing — with about one fifth of it affordable, reported Crain’s New York.
In the next two to three years alone, 14 new residential properties with a combined 4,746 units will be completed, according to a study by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. About half of these projects are already rising, while the other half are currently in the development process. When they are completed, the area’s population will rise from a little more than 13,000 to well over 25,000. The boom began with a rezoning in 2004, which paved the way for new office and commercial towers along Flatbush Avenue and the surrounding blocks. Since then, 29 buildings with nearly 5,300 units have sprung up.
The story noted that under Bloomberg, the city has rezoned more than one-third of New York City’s landmass. Critics have charged housing for low- and middle-income families should be mandatory in all new developments, “but the administration prefers a market-driven approach that uses government incentives and tax breaks to promote the private development of affordable housing,” said the story. Projects currently in the pipeline will bring the number of affordable units Downtown to more than 1,400 affordable units, according to the study. Some of the notable developments yet to come include several mixed-use buildings with space for arts and cultural activities and events. “Before there were lingering questions about the area’s attractiveness after work and on weekends, but the successful opening of Barclays Center, the growing array of first-rate cultural institutions and more interesting retail options have driven up demand,” said David Lombino, director of special projects for Two Trees, the developer that rebuilt Dumbo, is remaking the Domino complex and also putting up BAM South, a 32-story tower with arts space. “More people want to live in downtown Brooklyn because it’s a diverse and vibrant New York neighborhood and the market is responding to that.” Do you like the changes in store for Downtown? What kind of development would you like to see?
A Wave of Development Looms in Downtown Brooklyn [Crain's]
A Downtown Brooklyn resident started the website Downtown Brooklyn School Solutions to ask for a new public elementary school in response to the neighborhood rezoning and building boom. There are already more than 100 families behind the request and a petition’s up as well. As the website points out, “Nearly 15,000 people have moved to Downtown Brooklyn in the last 10 years and that number could double in the next five to 10 years thanks to the rezoning of the neighborhood and resulting residential building boom.” It does seem hard to ignore the huge amount of high-rise towers now under construction — 29 Flatbush, 388 Bridge, Willoughby West, and City Point, not to mention the residential plans for the Ashland/Fulton Triangle in the BAM Cultural District. The map above outlines all the new development for the area since 2005 (black building are built, blue are in development, and orange are announced). Here’s the DoBro School Solution’s take on the neighborhood development boom. And there is no public elementary school in Downtown Brooklyn, nor does the city have plans to build one. Elementary kids in Downtown are zoned into P.S. 287 near the Navy Yard, P.S. 8 in North Brooklyn Heights, P.S. 261 in Boerum Hill, and P.S. 38 in Gowanus. Some of the new developments planned for the BAM cultural district are zoned for P.S. 20 in Clinton Hill. The group of parents plan to meet with reps from public, private and charter schools and seek the support of local pols. If you’re interested in getting involved or joining the group to push for a local elementary school, go here.
Khim’s Millenium Market is now open on the ground floor of the Brooklyner condo building in Downtown Brooklyn. It’s a mini-chain with grocery stores mostly in Williamsburg and Bushwick. The grocers announced they’d open up in Downtown Brooklyn this December. Who got to check the place out over the weekend?
Khim’s Market Opening in February at the Brooklyner [Brownstoner] GMAP
According to a Community Board Two bulletin, a new public art project is planned for the Willoughby Plaza this summer. The permanent Downtown Brooklyn plaza space, a total of 14,000 square feet, opened this January. The artwork, titled “There Is No Us Without U,” was designed by veterans. It will be installed in display cases around the plaza. If you’d like to learn more about the work, a DOT representative will present the plans to Community Board Two at its next general meeting, Wednesday, March 13, at 6 pm at St. Francis College.
Hill Country Barbeque is opening a 11,000-square-foot restaurant in Downtown Brooklyn at 345 Adams Street, according to the New York Times. Potbelly and Panera Bread have already opened in the building, which was renovated after Muss Development purchased the first two floors of the building from the city. Hill Country, which already has two Manhattan locations, serves Texas barbecue, fried chicken and pies. The joint is also known for its live country music. It should open in the late fall. Also coming to 345 Adams, according to a press release by Muss Develpment, is Bright Horizons Family Solutions. The full-service child care and education center will open a 15,000-square-foot center. They specialize in infant and toddler care. GMAP
Brooklyn, one building at a time.
Name: The Robert Livingston Apartments
Address: 77 Livingston Street
Cross Streets: Court and Boerum Street
Neighborhood: Downtown Brooklyn
Year Built: 1964
Architectural Style: Modernist
Architect: Philip Birnbaum
Other Work by Architect: Over 300 buildings, including Hotel Parker Meridian, The Galleria, One Lincoln Plaza, Trump Plaza, all in Manhattan. Metropolitan Industrial Bank, Forest Hills, Queens.
The story: Here on the Building of the Day, we strive to bring you information on all kinds of buildings that go to make up the architectural fabric of Brooklyn. Over the weekend, I was one of fifteen or so people who attended a walking tour of Downtown Brooklyn’s Skyscraper Historic District and environs, a tour sponsored by the Historic Districts Council. Our tour guide was Francis Morrone, the eminent author and authority on New York City’s architecture. He lives here in Brooklyn, and is especially well versed in our architectural diversity, and is the author of “An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn,” a book I reference so often, I’ve had to tape it back together.
Francis had just told us about 75 Livingston, the beautiful Neo-Gothic Chamber of Commerce Building, and our tour was headed down to the former Board of Ed building, when we stopped in front of the Robert Livingston, and Francis pointed to it. Everyone laughed. THIS place? Worthy of a stop and chat? Well, yes, and you know what? It too, like the much more beautiful and interesting buildings around it, also had a tale to tell. (more…)
Two vacant, mixed-use buildings on the Fulton Street Mall have sold for $12,750,000 in an all-cash deal, and could potentially be torn down to make way for a new development of about 90,000 square feet, broker Highcap Group announced. The sellers of 565 and 569 Fulton Street were Daniel Barhak and Ezra Nasser; the buyer asked to remain anonymous. The two properties are zoned for residential, offices or hotel. The price works out to approximately $142 per buildable square foot, according to Highcap. Citing a revitalized retail scene in the downtown area, Highcap broker Josh Goldflam said: “There has been a surge of activity in this immediate area as far as acquisitions of older and aging property stock, which will pave the way for new condominium and rental buildings, and attract a higher grade of retail and residential tenancy to the area. There are already many national and regional retailers in the immediate vicinity, but we will begin to see more high-end retailers start to look towards Downtown Brooklyn instead of opening up a second Manhattan location. That will drive the typical Manhattan condo buyers who are being priced out of their neighborhoods to start looking for better values and views by crossing over the bridge.”
Construction workers have appeared at the empty lot on Fleet Street and Myrtle Avenue, where the second rental building in line for the area after the Andrea is slated to go up. The owner, billionaire John Catsimatidis, filed plans with the DOB for a 15-story building with 160,000 square feet of residential space and 13,000 square feet of commercial space this summer. Renderings emerged in the fall. The tipster who sent in the above photo provides this update as well: “A month or two ago the cars and trucks normally parked there were moved out and construction fencing went up at Fleet and Myrtle. Then not much until a week or two ago when equipment showed up and started creating a large pile of dirt and debris, which this week is being scooped into dump trunks and hauled away.”
A Rendering for Catsimatidis’ Fleet Place Build [Brownstoner]
Catsimatidis Doubling Down on Myrtle [Brownstoner] GMAP