Seven Residential Mega-Projects Changing the Face of Brooklyn


    Brooklyn has been home to a massive wave of development over the last decade that has transformed the borough. Some of the biggest changes occurred in Dumbo, Downtown, along 4th Avenue, and in Williamsburg, where luxury high rises have replaced industrial and commercial uses.

    More transformation is coming, thanks to some mega-size residential projects that are in the pipeline for the coming decade (and many within the next few years). Some are the size of small towns.

    We rounded up some of the largest ones, projects with close to 700 units or more. Some have been immensely controversial (think Atlantic Yards, now Pacific Park). Most have encountered significant opposition — Lightstone, Greenpoint Landing, City Point.

    Early opposition to the vast Rheingold Brewery development seems to have been headed off, at least for now, by changes made during the public review process that resulted in a successful rezoning. Domino stands out as a project that, because of its unique design, community facilities and affordable housing, has received an unusually warm welcome and even excitement.

    A handful more mega-projects are on the drawing board, but were not included because they haven’t reached the permitting stage.

    Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park

    The controversial project (a rendering of a portion of which is pictured above) — the subject of protests, lawsuits and a feature-length documentary — was proposed over a decade ago. And now it is now well under way.

    A lot has changed. The original designer of the project, celebrated starchitect Frank Ghery, is long gone. The developer, Forest City Ratner, has taken on a Chinese financial partner, Greenland Holdings, and the name has changed from Atlantic Yards to Pacific Park.

    The arena boosted Brooklyn’s profile when it opened in 2012, and construction has finally started on some of the residential towers. Earlier this month, permits were filed for the latest apartment building at 615 Dean Street, a 26 story high-rise with 244 market-rate condos. In May, the last homeowner was evicted from the site via eminent domain.

    When complete the project will be vast. It will stretch from 4th Avenue to Vanderbilt Avenue between Atlantic Avenue and Dean Street. Plans call for 15 buildings with 6,430 units of housing over 6 million square feet — 2,250 units will be affordable.

    The project will have 247,000 square feet of retail space and at least 336,000 square feet of commercial space (and possibly much more). The developer has said it expects the entire project to be complete by 2025.

    Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Coverage [Brownstoner]
    Rendering by SHoP Architects

    Greenpoint Landing

    Greenpoint Landing

    The northwest corner of Greenpoint will be utterly transformed when Greenpoint Landing is complete. The area had been home to mostly low-rise industrial buildings.

    The developer, Park Tower Group, plans to construct 10 towers that will rise 30 to 40 stories on the site for a total of 5,500 apartments. The design here has changed as well — renderings originally showed glass and steel towers, and now the towers and shorter buildings are shown in more contextual brick.

    The 22-acre site will also be home to a park, and the developer plans to build a new, 640-student elementary school. Over 1,400 of the units will be affordable housing.

    Greenpoint Landing Coverage [Brownstoner]
    Rendering by Handel Architects

    Domino Sugar Refinery


    Developer Two Trees, which is credited with the reinvention of Dumbo, is developing the site around the former Domino Sugar Refinery in south Williamsburg. When complete, the project will have four high rises with 2,300 apartments (700 of them will be affordable units) grouped around the landmarked 1880s refinery building. Two Trees is also including 631,000 square feet of office space and four acres of open space primarily along the East River waterfront.

    Domino Sugar Refinery Coverage [Brownstoner]
    Rendering by SHoP Architects

    AvalonBay’s Downtown Brooklyn Towers


    Developer AvalonBay will eventually have two massive rental towers in Downtown Brooklyn. Its first there, Avalon Fort Greene at 343 Gold Street, opened its 631 units to renters in 2009.

    Another, Ava DoBro, at 100 Willoughby Street, just listed its first rental units last month. A third development, Avalon Willoughby Square at 214 Duffield Street, will occupy the upper floors of the same building.

    When complete, it will be Brooklyn tallest building at 575 feet and will have 861 units.

    100 Willoughby Street Coverage [Brownstoner]
    Photo by Cate Corcoran

    Rheingold Brewery


    The rezoned Rheingold Brewery site is a sprawling 6.4-acre parcel of land in Bushwick roughly bordered by Bushwick Avenue, Evergreen Avenue, Melrose Street and Flushing Avenue. The former factory site is slated to eventually become a vast mixed-use development with 10 buildings and 977 apartments, 30 percent of which will be affordable.

    Read Property Group, the primary developer of the Rheingold site, has filed for permits for one of the buildings, at 123 Melrose Street. It will be 80 feet tall and have 385 units. Twenty percent of the units will be affordable.

    Simon Dushinksy’s Rabsky Group filed plans for another building on the site at 10 Montieth Street — a seven story, 393-unit rental building with a 25,000 square foot green roof. It’s one of the most unusual looking buildings planned in Brooklyn, with a design by ODA reminiscent of ancient cliff dwellings.

    Rheingold Brewery Coverage [Brownstoner]
    Image by Read Property Group

    363-365 Bond Street

    363-365 Bond Street

    The two rental buildings that are being developed by Lightstone Group at 363-365 Bond Street in Gowanus will be a mere 12 stories tall — a world of difference from downtown high-rises. But the complex will also be large, with 697 units total across 564,000 square feet (and 140 affordable units).

    The buildings will have parking and bike storage  as well as an outdoor pool and a library. Construction on the first and larger building is well under way. Windows were going in and the brick facade was rising when we visited last month.  The first building is expected to be completed by 2016.

    363-365 Bond Street Coverage [Brownstoner]
    Rendering by Lightstone

    City Point

    City Point

    The massive retail and residential project at 1 Dekalb Avenue, also in Downtown Brooklyn, is mid-construction. The first phase is a 50,000 square foot retail space, still under construction and re-opening soon.

    Phase two, under construction now, includes a 650,000 square foot mall and will be home to Century 21 and other retailers. The residential portion will have 690 apartments, and 125 of them will be affordable.

    Phase three is still in the planning stages but will be a large residential tower, with perhaps 500 rental apartments. When complete by 2020, City Point will have residential, retail and office space totaling about 1.8 million square feet.

    Brownstoner City Point Coverage [Brownstoner]
    Rendering by CookFox


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