NEW YORK, June 13 /PRNewswire/ — The revitalization of Brooklyn took a local turn as a Brooklyn businessman broke new ground on a major development project in Brownsville. Gilbert Rivera, founder of Park Avenue Building and Roofing Supplies, LLC and AM&G Waterproofing LLC launched construction Friday on an $11 million, 132,000 sq. ft. facility which will bring 50 new jobs to the community. The facility will serve as the headquarters for the two family-owned businesses, with a large retail home center for the community.

The new facility on Atlantic Avenue and Saratoga Avenue, will include supply yards for building materials, offices, a state-of-the-art store, and parking. The project is being funded by Banco Popular. The City has also supported the project, with IDA (NYC Industrial Development Agency) providing sales and real estate tax benefits worth $5.8 million over 25 years.

Local Businessman Breaks Ground on Atlantic Ave [PRNewswire] GMAP


Blogger Transfer gives us a visual progress report on the State Street townhouses and promises more to come.

Judging from the promotional renderings of the facades, the fourteen new homes will work very well in context. We have to say that these places are really starting to grow on us. (See, we’re not completely close-minded traditionalists around here!) Off the top of our head, they are the best example of new construction going on right now in Brooklyn. We’d be interested in hearing other nominations for that title, though.

Booms on State Street [Transfer]
Homepage [14 Townhouses]
Inside the State Street Townhouses [Brownstoner]
State Street Townhouses Underway [Brownstoner]


In the collective post mortem that’s going on over the defeat of the West Side stadium, much is being made of how well in contrast Ratner navigated the treacherous waters of politics and money get his Nets project to the point where it now looks like a done deal. The Times notes, among other things, Ratner’s effort to engage local officials and community leaders, especially those with an early pre-disposition against the project. The pivotal point, it now seems, was the agreement that Ratner cut with Acorn to guarantee more minority contracting, job training and community use of the arena. When Acorn’s director Bertha Lewis gave both Mayor Bloomberg and Bruce Ratner big smackers on the lips at Borough Hall last month, it was all over. Although, according to Curbed, some would disagree.
Arena in Brooklyn Is Still a Go [NY Times]
Sealed With a Kiss [Brooklyn Papers, photos by Tom Callan]
Uproar from the Anti-Ratner Table [Curbed]


Kevin over at Forgotten NY, who typically goes out of his way to avoid the kind of sensationalism we traffic in here at Brownstoner, finally loses his cool and serves up a well-deserved kick in the ass to the “hateful, despicable” developers who are destroying Astoria as they have much of historic Queens already:

Developers are tearing down perfectly good one-family homes built in an era, the 1860s and prior, when craft and style were still treasured, and replacing them with blond-bricked junk. Flushing’s gone. It died in the 50s and 60s, when its Victorian-era housing stock was razed in favor of block after block of multi-unit apartment housing. And now, Astoria Village is going.

Astoria Under Seige [Forgotten NY]


The Daily News is reporting today that Bruce Ratner is preparing to offer those tenants living on the site of his future sports complex a deal that will be difficult to pass up:

Ratner will offer all displaced tenants new apartments in one of his soaring Frank Gehry-designed towers for the same rent they now pay. Ratner also will pay for tenants to move to a new apartment nearby and subsidize their rent until they move back…He now owns 60 of the 97 rental apartments on the site along with more than 90% of the condos and coops. Ratner is negotiating with tenants in 22 apartments of the 60 he owns; 25 of the 60 are empty. Residents not interested in moving into the new high-rise complex will be offered cash. A Ratner spokesman declined to say how much.

Ratner Sweetens the Deal [NY Daily News]


The $118 million, 280,000-square-foot Steiner Studios won’t be finished until next winter, but it’s already been attracting serious star power like Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, Will Ferrell and Mel Brooks. And now Spike Lee will be returning to his old neighborhood to direct “Inside Man” with Denzel Washington, Clive Owen and Jodie Foster. We’re all for this revitalization, especially since this type of creative industry is in “context” (there’s that word again) with many of the area’s longer-term residents. As far as the impact on real estate, we are particularly interested to see how the blocks between the Navy Yard and Park Avenue (where the BQE runs over) evolve. It’s mostly old commercial buildings currently used for storage/warehouse space, but certainly some of these places would spiff up nicely for loft living. There have been a couple horrible, cheapo slap jobs that have sprung up on the southern side of Park Avenue, something we hope we won’t see more of. What do other people think about the impact that a vibrant Navy Yard would have on the area?
Lights, Camera, Brooklyn! [NY Times]


After what appears to be a very crafty bait-and-switch maneuver by Cara Development, Dumbo is on its way to getting its own special 33-story eyesore in the form of the J Condo. After getting a site-specific zoning change approved for the property at 100 Jay Street back in 2002 based upon plans for an 18-story project, the developer was able to pull the switcheroo as-of-right. Cara calls the 407,000-square-foot project an “easily recognizable icon [on] the Brooklyn Skyline.” We call it bullshit. So much for contextual development. GMAP
Dumbo’s Tallest Building [Brooklyn Papers]
J Condominium [Hudson Companies]


With a few minutes to kill while having some graffiti buffed out of the side of our car on Saturday, we took a stroll around the area that may or may not be the future home of the Nets. Only half a block away from the car wash, we noticed that this new building was approaching completion. We were a little surprised to see it on what is otherwise a fairly unresidential block on Vanderbilt between Atlantic and Fulton, so we snapped a photo. Unfortunately, it looks to be yet another addition to Brooklyn’s bland building boom. Granted, the site’s proximity to the commercial thoroughfare of Atlantic Avenue does not make it a likely candidate for anything too expensive, but we can’t shake this nagging feeling that developers could be doing a lot more within the same budgetary constraints. GMAP