A slew of Brooklyn pols, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, state assembly members, and city council members gave away 1,000 turkeys to senior centers, churches, community groups and families in Sunset Park, Brownsville and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn today, according to an email we received from the office of New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton.
Photo via office of New York State Senator Jesse Hamilton
Mayor de Blasio yesterday announced $76,800,000 in new funding for development at the Navy Yard, particularly for Building 77, numerous outlets reported. The program expands one started by the Bloomberg administration.
That brings city spending to modernize Building 77 to a total of $140,000,000. The former ammunition depot, pictured above, is the largest building at the complex with 17 stories and 960,000 square feet. Its revamp will bring 3,000 jobs to the area, the administration estimates.
The now-empty Building 77 will be ready in 2016, according to The Brooklyn Eagle. Some tenants have already been lined up, including motorcycle maker FXE Industries and Shiel Medical Laboratories. Brooklyn Grange may build a green roof for it.
Mayor Announces Major Brooklyn Navy Yard Expansion [Eagle]
Building 77 Coverage [Brownstoner]
Photo by Janet Upadhye for DNAinfo
Back in July, we wondered what was in store for the former Unity Democratic Club at 203 Ralph Avenue in Bed Stuy. We hadn’t seen any signs of life there in years. In July, the old sign came down and the landlord appeared to be sprucing up the place for a new tenant, or perhaps to advertise the space for lease.
Well, now we know: The building is actually the one at the center of the dispute between City Council Member Darlene Mealy and her office landlord. To recap in case you have not been following: She is months behind on her rent, and owes $7,500, according to her landlord quoted in the Post. The landlord changed the locks, and she had him arrested. He retaliated by draping three banners on the building’s fire escape proclaiming her to be a deadbeat tenant.
The banners read: “Councilwoman Darlene Mealy is a deadbeat tenant. She owes five months rent for 203 Ralph and refuses to pay. Her monthly rent is $1,250. She offered me $1,000. This is another prime example of one local elected official who has failed me, you and this community.”
The city has allocated $5,200,0000 to upgrade nine Brooklyn parks and public spaces in 2015, a 10 percent increase over this year’s budget, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams announced yesterday. Some of the improvements, reported by The New York Daily News, include:
Brooklyn District 45 City Council Member Jumaane Williams has proposed that community boards review all hotel developments in their areas, even as-of-right projects. Williams chairs the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings.
The purpose of the law is to preserve the character of neighborhoods, Williams told The Real Deal. “This legislation is needed to protect character of neighborhoods across this city, as communities change faster than zoning. Whenever a hotel, with a large number of transient occupants, is built, consideration must be given to its impact on the people living in that neighborhood,” he said.
Current zoning allows developers to build hotels in industrial neighborhoods where residential construction is not permitted. Above, an industrial building at 55 Wythe Street in a protected Williamsburg industrial zone is slated to be replaced by a hotel. Hotels have also been sprouting up in residential areas of Brooklyn, such as Sunset Park. Real estate execs said the proposed legislation would slow construction.
What do you think?
As Gowanus transforms with major developments — from Whole Foods to luxury hotels to Lightstone Group’s 700-unit apartment complex and the EPA’s long-anticipated cleanup of the canal — local politicians are inviting residents to map out a vision for change in the area at a series of public meetings starting Monday, December 9. The blogger behind Pardon Me for Asking, which was the first to report on the upcoming events, said she doubted the public could have much influence over development, though, citing Mayor Elect Bill de Blasio’s longstanding support for the Lightstone project.
At the meeting, called by State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, State Assemblywoman Joan Millman, Council Member Steven Levin and Council Member Brad Lander, the Pratt Center for Community Development will present findings from previous invitation-only meetings. The goals of the series of meetings are to facilitate consensus, influence de Blasio’s thinking on the area, air a variety of viewpoints and, finally, outline a community-based plan for a “safe, vibrant and sustainable Gowanus area,” said Pardon Me For Asking.
The events will “tackle major questions,” said a story in DNAinfo, including “whether residential development should be allowed in the industrial neighborhood, how to protect Gowanus from flooding and how to preserve the area’s thriving manufacturing and artisanal businesses.”
The first meeting will take place at The Children’s School at 512 Carroll Street from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. What do you think should happen in the area?
Rendering by Lightstone Group via DNAinfo
Harlem was long considered the epicenter of black political power in this city, but now Brooklyn, with three newly elected black candidates, has become the new home for much of the city’s black politics, according to the Daily News.
Public advocate elect Letitia James, the first black woman elected to citywide office (above); Ken Thompson, soon to become Brooklyn’s first black district attorney; and Eric Adams, who will become the borough’s first black president, are all natives of central Brooklyn.
City Councilman Brad Lander and seven other Carroll Gardens residents, including developers and architects, testified against the proposed contract with Aguila Inc. to run a homeless shelter in Carroll Gardens at a city hearing this morning. Another 12 submitted written statements, and the Coalition for Carroll Gardens submitted 500 signatures against the contract.
“They felt good about it,” said Coalition for Carroll Gardens chair Steven Miller of those who attended the meeting. He said he expects the city will take about six weeks to review the testimony.
Critics of the proposal have argued that the building at 165 West 9th Street, above, which consists of 10 apartments and one commercial unit, is too small to house 170 homeless men, which would not be allowed under the current certificate of occupancy. Aguila and the Department of Homeless Services have said they would not house any homeless people in violation of city rules or laws.
In January, the owner filed an Alt-1 to change the C of O from J-2 residential to R-1 residential (hotels and dormitories) in January. The permit was approved in March, and is now on hold with a notice to revoke dated today.
Brooklyn’s parks have flourished under Bloomberg’s tenure. “Since Mr. Bloomberg took office in 2002, his administration has set aside some $6 billion for constructing new parks and improving existing ones, compared with roughly $1 billion spent in the previous decade” throughout the city reported The Wall Street Journal. But his innovation — a reliance on private sources of funding for those parks — is controversial. Prospect Park has a conservancy that raises money from the public, but it still receives city money. Brooklyn Bridge Park, on the other hand, became self sustaining this year, with $6 million to $7 million of revenue already coming from the private residential and hotel development One Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 1 and other fees. Future developments, such as planned residential towers, will cover the park’s yearly budget, which will be $16 million by the end of 2017, according to the story. The 85 acres of land covered by the park was a shipping terminal for Port Authority until the 1980s. A 2002 deal between then-Governor George Pataki and Bloomberg used $360 million in state and city funds to create the park. But the decision to set aside park grounds for income generating privately developed residential towers is controversial, with critics contending it’s an inappropriate use of public space. What do you think is the best way to fund green space in Brooklyn?
Head on over to Brownstoner Queens to hear what mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has to say about development, affordable housing, a living wage, and the vanishing middle class in Brooklyn and Queens.