Development

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Start-up group Friends of Brooklyn Bridge Park created this postcard to mock the developer-friendly proposal currently on the table transform the waterfront from the Manhattan Bridge to Atlantic Avenue. We’re filling the gap that organizations like the Heights association and the Conservancy — the organizations we thought we could depend on — are just not doing. They’re not advocating for the park we thought they would, founding member Ken Lowy said. We’ve gone through a lot of the plan, he added, and we’re finding more questions than answers.
Groups Clash Over ‘Park’ [Brooklyn Papers]

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August 13, 2005, Brooklyn Papers — A developer that paid $12 million for four lots next to the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater in Fort Greene plans to build a large-scale luxury condominium complex, a spokeswoman for the developer said. The representative of Manhattan-based The Clarett Group contacted The Brooklyn Papers after the newspaper reported last week that the company had quietly bought up and cleared of tenants the properties next to the performance space on Fulton Street at Ashland Place.

Despite rumors that Clarett would seek to build a hotel on the site, a use allowed under the current commercial zoning, the source said the developer would instead build condominiums there, which they can do as-of-right by including ground-floor commercial space. The site could support a 30-story residential tower. Fort Greene Councilwoman Letitia James, who dealt with Clarett on behalf of some of the evicted tenants who lived and worked in the low-rise buildings at 655 through 671 Fulton St., called the company’s plans underhanded.

Harvey’s Neighbors: Condos [Brooklyn Papers]

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We’re on vacation this week and frankly don’t plan on logging a whole lot of hours in front of the computer. So we were happy to see this ready-to-run post show up in our mailbox yesterday. Anyone else is welcome to submit this week, too. Pictures preferred.

To make a long story short…On a beautiful Park Slope brownstone block, the city owned a house: 384 Bergen, between Fourth and Fifth Avenues. It apparently had been taken for back taxes owed, the city then gave it to a community development group, the 5th Avenue Committee, to renovate for housing. This took many years. Now the renovation is complete, and the building sits empty, collecting garbage. It was developed using typical city housing projects specifications: it appears to have been stripped of details inside, the entry is aluminum sash, corridors have fluorescent 2×2 lighting fixtures, bright yellow high intensity parking lot style fixtures in back. What is the future of this building? Will the future residents have an interest in its context? What will it take to get public agencies to be more sensitive, or at least: first do no harm?

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The Post is reporting this morning that the city is “quietly circulating” a proposal to allow developers to build up to 12 stories along Fourth Avenue between 15th and 24th Streets in the South Slope. (In 2003, the city rezoned the northern end of Fourth Avenue from Warren Street to 15th Street.) The proposal also includes provisions that would simultaneously restrict the size of buildings on residential side streets in the South Slope, Windsor Terracea and Sunset Park in an apparent effort to ease residents’ concerns about “out-of-scale” construction. The city estimates that the rezoning could result in about 300 units of new housing over the next 10 years.
City to Raise Roof on B’kln Housing [NY Post]

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New architecture in Williamsburg just continues to disappoint. Our most recent stroll brought us face-to-face with these two atrocities. The left one is on North 9th between Bedford and Driggs. The right one is on Bedford between North 4th and North 5th Streets. It’s almost as if developers were trying to build ugly buildings…At least they’re consistent!

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According to Brooklyn Papers, The Clarett Group, which has developed four luxury residential towers in Manhattan, has gobbled up three lots next door to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Located at the corner of Fulton and Ashland Place, the properties fall under C6-4 zoning, which would enable the developer to build a 20-story hotel or office tower as of right and possibly as many as 30 stories of residential. No permits have been filed, but neighbors believe the existing buildings will be demolished.
Hotel Harvey [Brooklyn Papers] GMAP

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There’s some chatter in the Wired NY Forum about the Dunham Condominium project at 44 South 6th Street in Williamsburg. Evidently, the fact that the building is right under the Williamsburg Bridge is causing some concern about noise. No way! Undeterred, the developer is slapping sticker prices on the upper floor apartments of between $850 and $1,200 a foot. That’s a good bit more than the flippers in the Gretsch are getting, isn’t it? Something’s not adding up.
The Dunham Condominium [Developers Group] GMAP
Dunham Condos [Wired NY Forum]

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Amazing things happening in Greenpoint. We hear that the top floor unit at the Glass House on Green Street, which is a 1,300 s.f. 2-bedroom apartment with 475 s.f. of terrace, is asking a whopping $1,750,000. Our geography ain’t so hot, but from what we can tell, the location is Northern Greenpoint, far from booming McCarren Park and a lengthy skateboard ride away from the L train. Quite incredible.
The Glass House [Prudential Douglas Elliman] GMAP
The Glass House Condos [Wired NY Forum]

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Continuing last week’s discussion on contextual development and the appropriateness of building restrictions, we dug up the Department of City Plannings Proposal (which was approved back in May) to protect certain sections of Bay Ridge:

[The rezoning] would provide protections against out-of-scale development on Bay Ridge’s unique limestone townhouse blocks and it would triple the number of blocks where only detached homes would be permitted. In other parts of the neighborhood, the proposed zoning is also tailored to the prevailing neighborhood context, allowing opportunities for apartment house construction with ground floor retail on the neighborhood’s main thoroughfares, as well as supporting a continued auto showroom and commercial presence in the neighborhood’s commercial core surrounding 86th Street.

The photos above, from 80th Street and 95th Street, are examples of the kind of non-contextual building that drove the proposal.
Bay Ridge Rezoning [NYC City Planning]