Big Self-Storage Facility Rising on Long-Empty Bushwick Block Near Graveyards

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A long-vacant lot in Bushwick that abuts the Evergreens cemetery is empty no more, and a storage facility is rising in its place.

The lot, which occupies an entire block at 1517 Bushwick Avenue in the furthest reaches of Bushwick not far from Broadway Junction, sat empty for decades, old tax photos reveal. Nearby are gas stations and auto repair shops, along with some homes.

The building has topped out and metal siding is going up. It will stand three stories with 68,557 square feet of interior space when complete. The rendering shows a bank of windows and some decorative details such as a screen and paneling, not yet constructed.

Scarano Architect was the applicant of record when we first reported on the plans; last year, the firm was replaced by David Silberman, P.E., according to DOB records.

Robert Scarano, owner of the once-prolific firm that bears his name, is notable for being barred from submitting plans to the DOB since 2010.

The new applicant of record, engineer David Silberman, has some ties to Scarano. Based in Flushing, Silberman was the applicant of record for Scarano’s Bright ‘n Green project at 67 Brighton 1 Lane in Brighton Beach, DOB records show.

brooklyn real estate 1517 bushwick avenue

The site in 2015. Photo by Cate Corcoran

Bushwick, particularly Bushwick Avenue, has been teeming with new construction and renovation in recent years. Shiny new rental apartment buildings, some of them low-income housing, have joined the avenue’s singular mix of wood frame homes, brownstones, former brewers’ and doctors’ mansions, churches, car lots and a Verizon substation.

brooklyn real estate 1517 bushwick avenue

The owner of the land is Knopf Leasing Company. They’re based in Red Bank, N.J., according to property records.

brooklyn real estate 1517 bushwick avenue

The facility is part of a growing trend of self-storage units popping up in commercially zoned areas all over central Brooklyn and beyond, from Atlantic Avenue in Prospect Heights to the Bushwick loft area, Empire Boulevard in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, East Flatbush and out into Canarsie.

While the building rising at 1517 Bushwick Avenue is one of the few (or only) self-storage facilities at this end of Bushwick, quite a few have recently opened at the other end of the neighborhood in the Bushwick loft area, part of which is a protected industrial zone, known as IBZs.

City planners recently proposed requiring a special permit for self-storage in these protected areas to encourage factories and jobs there, the New York Times noted last month.

brooklyn real estate 1517 bushwick avenue

In Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a self-storage facility sprouted up on Empire Boulevard in recent years, as controversy over whether or not to rezone the street to permit residential development has rocked the community and its local board.

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