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
Today the city council is set to look at whether or not developers of Downtown residential buildings need to include parking with their new buildings, as currently required by zoning laws, The New York Times reported. Some city officials, developers and public transportation advocates say Downtown already has too much parking! (Is there any such thing?) Council Member Letitia James said she was not convinced it’s a good idea to scrap parking already built, since developers will likely just transform it into more luxury housing rather than, say, community space or affordable housing. Borough President Marty Markowitz’s call for increased bike parking, already covered by this blog, will not be addressed today. What do you think? Is this a giveaway to developers, or would Downtown be better off with less parking in new residential developments?
City Takes up Zoning to Erase Downtown’s Glut of Parking Spaces [NY Times]
Photo by Benzadrine
Now we know what free market rates are going to be like for parking on nights when Barclays is hosting sporting events or concerts. A tipster just sent in this photo of new signage advertising a flat parking fee of $30. At that rate, you can bet drivers are going to spend time combing the surrounding neighborhoods for free street parking. And this is all the way down on Grand and Atlantic. The arena’s still a good 15-minute walk from here!
Here’s an interesting offering from Massey Knakal: they are selling the 35 leftover parking spaces as a bulk sale at Dumbo condo building 205 Water Street. The ask comes in at $1.8 million. As noted last week, there’s only one condo left at 205 Water, and brokers are expecting it will sell this week. Parking in Dumbo is hard enough so there will likely be interest here. Question is if it’ll be much of a payoff at an ask of almost $2 million.
Listing: 205 Water Street Bulk Parking [Massey Knakal] GMAP
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz yesterday called for a rule change that would decrease car parking requirements for market-rate buildings downtown while increasing bicycle parking. At the same time, he also recommended more affordable housing in the area as well as a study to encourage developers to build for seniors.
More Details on Downtown Parking Revisions [Brownstoner]
Parking Minimums May Be Cut Downtown [Brownstoner]
Tenants at 402-406 Albee Square in downtown Brooklyn object to city plans to move them to remote parts of Manhattan and the Bronx to make way for a park and underground parking lot, the Brooklyn Paper reports. Previously, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development promised to relocate them to “comparable housing,” after it acquired the property through eminent domain, said residents and housing activists. One resident said he was offered a new rental in the Tremont area of the Bronx — a 90-minute commute by train. Many residents are asking to be relocated to the Ingersoll and Walt Whitman houses in nearby Fort Greene, where there are reportedly 800 available units. The city allowed the building to fall into ruin over years, claim residents.
Downtown Evictees: City Booting Us From Brooklyn [Brooklyn Paper]
Downtown Tenants Claim Shoddy Treatment by HPD [Brownstoner]
Willoughby Square Park Plans Resuscitated? [Brownstoner] GMAP
Photo by raulistic
File under: Boring. According to recent DOB permits, the 2,500-square-foot lot at 462 Baltic Street (between Bond and Nevins Streets) will become a parking lot. Public records show the lot last sold to a Manhattan development company for $1.2 million in May 2011. The listing boasts a total of 5,000 buildable square feet but the lot isn’t zoned for residential development, so it’s possible that the developer is just warehousing the space until it is. GMAP
Photo via PropertyShark
In a decision sure to disappoint many residents of Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, Park Slope and even Boerum Hill and Clinton Hill, DOT has decreed that residential parking permits are not merited by the increased crowds and traffic that the Barclays Arena will bring; DOT argues that the overall nighttime vacancy rates of 19 percent during the week and 27 percent on the weekends are sufficient to absorb arena visitors who don’t want to spend money on a garage. The agency issued its findings in a study of the parking conditions around both the Barclays Center and Yankeee Stadium, which was also denied permits; 60 percent of visitors to Yankee Stadium come by car, whereas officials are projecting that number to be only 30 percent at Barclays because of the better mass transit options. One of the inherent flaws of the study seems to be that it paints the plight of entire neighborhoods with one brush, treating someone who lives (and parks) at Carlton and Bergen (just a couple of blocks from the arena) the same as someone at, say, Park Place and Underhill. “DOT missed the boat,” Gib Veconi of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council told The New York Post. “The permits aren’t about entitlement or guaranteeing parking for residents. They’re about discouraging people from driving to games.” Council Member Letitia James wasn’t pleased with the decision either, though DOT says it will revisit the issue after the arena opens. To be fair, the city doesn’t currently offer residential parking permits anywhere, so the decision is probably being viewed as a precedent-setter that could open the floodgates for requests from every neighborhood in town. For a more detailed analysis of the news, check out Atlantic Yards Report.
Last night the Department of City Planning came out to Community Board 2′s Land Use Meeting to explain the details of a proposal to reduce the number of off-street parking spaces that developers are required to build in Downtown Brooklyn. There are three main suggestions within the proposal (details of which you can see on the DCP website): reducing the required parking spaces from 40 percent of building units to 20 percent, eliminating parking requirements for affordable housing units, and increasing options for public parking in Downtown Brooklyn. DCP found only 22 percent of Downtown Brooklyn residents actually have cars, noting that at the Avalon only 88 parking spots out of 252 were used on a weekday evening. (Under the proposal, the required spaces would be reduced to 126.) Public parking, on the other hand, is at about 80 percent capacity per day. So here’s what the DCP proposes: “More flexibility to locate required accessory parking off-site, to build small underground public garages in Downtown Brooklyn and to allow accessory parking garages to be available to all residents, workers and visitors in Downtown Brooklyn.”
For the public hearing, many of the big DoBro developers urged not only to cut the parking minimums, but for those changes to be applied retroactively for developments already built. Drew Spitler of the Dermot Company said they have struggled, and spent tons of money, at 29 Flatbush to find space for 135 parking spaces, which are going in the basement, ground level, 2nd, and 3rd floor. Tom Conoscenti of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership said the proposal will “lower costs of development, incentivize affordable housing, and encourage new retail.” Reps from The Hub, Forest City Ratner, 388 Bridge and Two Trees echoed the sentiment. Many said that if the minimums were cut retroactively, current developments could free up space for retail, housing, or creative office space. Public comments on the matter will be accepted by the DCP until August. Then it’s onto the City Planning Commission (with another public hearing) and the City Council (with yet another public hearing).
Downtown Brooklyn Parking Text Amendment [NYC DCP]
Parking Minimums May Be Cut in Downtown Brooklyn [Brownstoner]
Photo via [PDF]
As StreetsBlog noted on Friday, the Department of City Planning has signaled its intention to finally reduce the number of off-street parking spaces that developers are required to build in Downtown Brooklyn. Details are scant at this point with the DCP website only giving a heads-up that a “text amendment to modify the off-street parking regulations of the special Downtown Brooklyn district” is in the offing. StreetsBlog has already weighed in on what bad urban policy the high minimums are and Crain’s has reported on the existing glut of parking spaces in the area. The City Planning Commission was supposed to review the topic at its meeting yesterday afternoon. UPDATE: Crain’s had a follow-up piece later in the day that included this quotation from City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden: “Our goal is to rationalize parking requirements for downtown Brooklyn, recognizing that it has some of the best transit infrastructure and one of [the] lowest rates of auto ownership in New York City.”
DCP Bringing Parking Reform to Downtown Brooklyn [StreetsBlog]
While parking remains a big concern over at Atlantic Yards, the news is considerably better further west on Atlantic Avenue: The Atlantic Avenue BID reports that a hundred or so spaces will be freed up between 4 pm and 7 pm on Atlantic between Smith Street and Third Avenue. For the official notice, check out the DOT website.
About a month ago some residents who live near the under-construction Barclays Center voiced opposition to plans to use stack parking at the arena—which will have a state-mandated 1,100-spot parking lot—but the Post is now reporting that the stacking system may not be in the cards: “A top official for the developer building Brooklyn’s Barclays Center said today it’s her ‘mission’ to reduce hundreds of spaces at a parking garage going up next to the NBA Nets’ future home to avoid using controversial stack-parking spaces there. Jane Marshall, an executive vice president at Forest City Ratner, told community leaders and city officials at Borough Hall yesterday that the company “is doing everything we can to avoid it” and the potential traffic problems such a system could bring.” No pro sports venue in the city uses stack parking, and some residents fear the system will cause traffic pileups and delays, not to mention drivers sorting about for more street parking in order to avoid the garage. FCR says it’s studying non-stack options. In other Atlantic Yards news, today AY Report notes that an FCR executive has confirmed the latest delay in the construction of the non-arena portion of the mega-development: Groundbreaking won’t happen until after the arena opens in September. We’ve lost track at this point of how many times the firm has delayed construction of the non-arena towers that will eventually (probably?) rise at the site.
Deck is Stacked Against Stack-Parking Plan for Barclays Center [NY Post]
Construction Won’t Start Until After Arena Opens [AY Report]
Worries Aired About Stack Parking Next to Arena [Brownstoner]
Rendering via Atlantic Yards Watch
Yesterday Streetsblog reported on the parking-minimum reforms that the city is considering. A lot of them could be put into place in Brooklyn: “Parking minimum reform is moving forward faster than expected, with Downtown Brooklyn taking the lead, and could cover a wide swath of the city. …Rather than issue a sweeping proposal for the entire ‘inner ring’ of neighborhoods around Manhattan’s central business districts, DCP will first issue a proposal for Downtown Brooklyn, said a department spokesperson. …Reforms for other neighborhoods could come out shortly thereafter. DCP told Streetsblog that the broader inner ring study was nearly complete and would cover all of Upper Manhattan, the South Bronx, Queens from Long Island City and Astoria to Corona, and Brooklyn from Greenpoint to Sunset Park and East New York.” Exciting stuff! If there’s one thing we hear time and again from developers, especially in areas particularly well-served by transit like Downtown Brooklyn, it’s that the required parking minimums are an outdated, onerous roadblock to making construction cost-effective.
Reforms to Parking Minimums on the Table for Many Neighborhoods [Streetsblog]
Map generated by Streetsblog, which describes it as follows: “Much of New York City could see parking minimums reduced or eliminated thanks to reforms being pursued by the Department of City Planning. This map shows Streetsblog’s rough approximation of the community districts that could be affected by the changes, in green, as well as the Manhattan core where parking maximums are in place, in yellow.”
Today the New York Post reports that Atlantic Yards critics commissioned renderings showing it’s impossible for Forest City Ratner to fill the 1,100-spot parking lot mandated by the state next to the Barclays Center without using stacked parking. This doesn’t sit well with some in the area: “The concern, neighborhood residents say, is that hydraulic systems and valet service associated with stack parking slow the entry and exit of cars from the lot, potentially creating bumper-to-bumper traffic on surrounding streets and sending antsy drivers to seek the area’s few remaining curbside spaces.” A rep for Forest City says the developer is “conducting an analysis that we hope will allow” the firm to avoid using stack parking. Atlantic Yards Report takes this “analysis” to mean that Forest City is considering using “a modular system that’s never been tested. And that was discussed more than eight months ago, though no formal plans have never been announced.” The surface-lot block is bounded by Carlton, Vanderbilt, Dean and Pacific; the Post notes that it’s “expected to exist at least a decade” because of the delays with the other Atlantic Yards buildings that have also held up plans for a permanent, underground lot. Meanwhile, Atlantic Yards Watch runs the rendering shown above, depicting how the stack parking could look, and contrasts it with another rendering, reproduced on the jump, that shows how the lot might look if it had to comply with New York City design standards for surface lots. The lot doesn’t have to comply with those standards—which would require landscaping and reduce the number of cars the lot could hold to around 500—because it will be considered temporary, rather than permanent, parking.
Barclays Center in Brooklyn Will Create Parking and Traffic Problems [NY Post]
What if the Barclays Center Parking Lot Was Required to Meet NYC Design Standards? [AY Watch]
The Peril of Car Stackers on the Arena Parking Lot [AY Report] (more…)