View Full Version : Williamsburg and Greenpoint Redevelopment Plan

October 12th, 2003, 03:22 PM
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

Burden of leadership


Sunday, October 12th, 2003

The skeptics didn't think anyone could do it - never mind a blue blood from Manhattan.

No way could Amanda Burden, the wealthy daughter of Standard Oil heir Stanley Mortimer, cross the East River to Brooklyn and successfully push a redevelopment plan in Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

They could not have been more wrong.

Burden, chairwoman of the city's planning commission, is leading a bid to rezone the industrial waterfront neighborhoods to catch up with the residential conversion of the area's aging manufacturing buildings, many of which are illegally occupied by artists and hipsters.

In the process, the quintessential New York socialite has turned many hard-boiled community activists into admirers.

"She has considered this her project from the day she took over," said Julie Lawrence, a member of the local community board rezoning task force. "She's a real doer, and when she commits herself, she puts her whole heart into it."

Burden - appointed nearly two years ago by Mayor Bloomberg to the planning commission's top post - has earned kudos for taking on a project that had been ignored for years.

She pushed through decade-old plans drawn up by the two communities and has fought against building a power plant on the East River. And Burden also convinced big and small business owners that a residential overhaul will preserve existing manufacturing districts.

Burden is now in the midst of a year-long process to push through her fine-tuned zoning plan. It calls for building 7,000 apartments in low-rise buildings inside a 170-block area, and the construction of a series of 15- to 35-story residential buildings along the waterfront.

The controversial high-rises will be constructed by developers, who will pay to convert the waterfront into a park.

"It's a lasting legacy for people to really value," Burden said. "It's a chance ... to reclaim the waterfront."

It also is a chance to create affordable housing and new parkland, she said.

Those are two issues that have Burden's admirers worried that their classic immigrant neighborhoods - now topped only by church steeples - will soon resemble Battery Park City.

Open space debate

"Is there a way to make this work for development without these tall buildings?" asked Joe Vance, who wants the waterfront turned into a park. "We need to make sure we're getting enough open space, and right now it's not really enough."

Burden blanched at the suggestion that a 2-mile stretch of park along the now-inaccessible waterfront isn't enough.

"Forty-nine acres, oh my God!" she exclaimed. "That is fantastic new acres of new parkland which we hope we get!"

A debate also is raging over affordable housing, and many say they don't believe the city has done enough in the plan to ensure vulnerable tenants won't be forced out by new construction and a hot real estate market.

While city officials insist affordable housing will not be neglected, Christine Holowacz, who lives in Greenpoint and is a member of the task force, said the amount provided in the plan is insufficient.

"The [city's] programs ... show 20% affordable housing," she said. "That is not high enough. We're talking 40%."

It's too early to know if Burden will keep her favored status - but these Brooklynites have begun to recognize this city planner as a tough mediator.

"This is New York City, nobody gives their best offer first," said Vance.

TLOZ Link5
October 12th, 2003, 05:51 PM
Williamsburg and Greenpoint rezoned into a veritable Gold Coast? Let's hope that this doesn't get pushed onto the back burner!

October 12th, 2003, 05:55 PM

If the taller buildings are spaced out a bit, I don't see the problem...

October 13th, 2003, 07:15 PM
Change, my friend, for these people is the problem.

I hope in all this affordable housing talk, there's enough for MIDDLE class and artists in there. I don't want to see all low-income housing.

October 16th, 2003, 08:46 AM
Greenpoint-Williamsburg Land Use and Waterfront Plan (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/greenpointwill/greenoverview.html)

August 1st, 2004, 08:27 AM
August 1, 2004


On the Waterfront in Brooklyn

One of Mayor Bloomberg's great obsessions is promoting more housing, and one of the most intriguing projects he is championing is the rewriting of zoning codes on the city's waterfront areas to allow more residential construction. Some of his projects in Manhattan have gotten caught up in larger issues like downtown redevelopment or the ill-advised stadium on the West Side. But the situation in Brooklyn seems more promising. The mayor's plan is a smart one that deserves support, as long as what gets built includes a large number of housing units for low- and middle-income residents.

Everybody understands the need. The city gained about a half million residents in the last decade but only 85,000 new houses and apartments. Studies show that almost half of renters pay more than 30 percent of their income for shelter, putting them above the maximum that is generally considered affordable. About one-fourth pay more than half their income. City workers like firefighters and police officers, who are required to live in the city, can't find housing that they can afford on city salaries as working class neighborhoods are swallowed, block by block, by more affluent residents.

It's a familiar situation, and right now it is threatening longtime residents of neighborhoods like Greenpoint and Williamsburg in North Brooklyn, which have for generations been home to working families - Polish, Italian and more recently Hispanic. The area has also become a destination for artists, and professionals in search of more space than they could afford across the river. It's the right target for more housing development, especially since it has a long waterfront that is currently underused, with empty warehouses and factories, including the Domino sugar plant, that are legacies of an industrial past.

The city's development plan involves rezoning the waterfront to allow for the construction of high-rise apartments on a new esplanade. Forty-nine acres in the area would become much-needed parks. The mixed-use, low-rise flavor of inland blocks would be retained. The vision seems great, but the city needs to make sure it isn't limited to wealthy newcomers. At least 20 percent of the units ought to be reserved for low- or moderate-income families.

One solution, proposed by Councilman David Yassky, would give development rights only to builders who commit to including moderately priced units. Developers might be inspired to build more and the city would gain without having to pay extra subsidies that could further strain the budget. Mr. Yassky's idea could work, and could be applied to other areas marked for similar rezoning, including projects in Long Island City and Jamaica in Queens and Hunts Point and Port Morris in the Bronx. The city is considering a less ambitious version of the proposal, and the administration and Mr. Yassky may eventually have to compromise on how many lower-priced units would be required.

Mayor Bloomberg's focus on housing is commendable, and he has already put together the most ambitious city plan in two decades, which aims ultimately to build or rehabilitate 65,000 units within financial reach of working class families. So far, work is under way on 10,000 of those, half of them new, the city says. But the city government, strapped for cash and limited in its ability to borrow money, can only do so much. The need far outstrips the government's resources, particularly given the sunset of the Mitchell-Lama program, which used to keep a ceiling on housing costs for thousands in the city. The waterfront projects offer a real opportunity to enlist the crucial help of private builders, so that in New York the term affordable housing doesn't become an oxymoron.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 3rd, 2004, 02:49 AM
Cops aren't required to live in the city...
Nor FDNY...

November 30th, 2004, 08:42 PM
An ongoing WTB vision for Greenpoint:

kostabi world tower • brooklyn, new york

Architect: Eli Attia

Client: Mark Kostabi

Kostabi World Tower
by Mark Kostabi

I intend to construct a monumental building devoted entirely to art, a mixed-use structure comprising art studios, galleries, museums, apartments, printing workshops, sculpture foundries, schools, offices for creative firms, hotels, libraries, bookstores, theaters, and restaurants: a self-sufficient vertical art city.

It will also be the world's tallest building.

The structure has been designed by world-renowned architect Eli Attia and will emerge from a park designed by San Diego-based environmental artists Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison.

The most indispensable element of the project is the height, which will confirm the importance of art to the entire world. At the moment, New York is the cultural capital of the world. But this pre-eminence does not rest here by divine right. It will continue only through innovation and through new opportunity. While Soho still enjoys vitality through the abundance of its galleries and studios, economic conditions have forced an increasing number of artists and art-related activities to disperse. In one building I will create a prime location for working, producing, learning, living, visiting, shopping and simply enjoying.

Eli Attia has developed plans for a majestic spire tapering from a 4.64 acre footprint and rising towards an unprecedented 2,000 foot height. The building will be a highly versatile structural cage equivalent to 160 stories. The tower will taper upward from the ground at an accelerating rate providing a wide range of floor sizes: from 202,000 square feet at the base to 10,000 square feet at the top. The total floor area will be over two million square feet.

Current plans call for the building to rise from a 30 acre site in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Mindful of the ecological significance of constructing the world's tallest building, I have engaged artists Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison to create the park from which the skyscraper will rise. The Harrisons, known internationally for environmental recon-struction, have a particular interest in the relationship of the site to the East River. On it they intend to establish an eco-system, "part wetland and brook, part forest and meadow that reflects the eco-system once present and the probable eco-system that will emerge as global warming takes place."

There was a time when the creation of a tall building was a celebrated public event. People were excited - they gathered to observe the progress of construction. The pride and imagination of New Yorkers have been captured in the past by their tallest buildings: the Singer Tower (1906), the Metropolitan Life Tower (1908); the Woolworth Building (1913), the Chrysler Building (1929), and the Empire State Building (1931). The Kostabi World Tower will revive this tradition of greatness.

This building will be finished in the Twentieth Century and will reassert the glory of its predecessors - but it will open and lead into the Twenty-First Century with its inspiring design and state-of-the-art structural engineering. Thus it will reflect something of both centuries for a single purpose - the support and recognition of art as a significant part of our human existence.

In the words of Louis H. Sullivan (who designed some of the most prominent and enduring buildings in America), it "must be tall, every inch of it tall. The force and power of altitude must be in it, the glory and pride of exaltation must be in it. It must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exaltation that from bottom to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line."

November 30th, 2004, 08:49 PM
Ongoing? I thought it was dead, actually never serious.

November 30th, 2004, 08:53 PM
Ongoing? I thought it was dead, actually never serious.

I wrote vision, not proposal. Visions are by their very nature ongoing.

November 30th, 2004, 09:19 PM
Oh, ok. I e-mailed Kostabi to find out what happened.

December 26th, 2004, 11:39 PM
December 27, 2004

In New York's Housing Quest, a Vision for a Versatile Brooklyn Waterfront


Williamsburg and Greenpoint have had a renaissance in recent years, but some sections near the waterfront have not kept pace.

Schaefer Landing, now under construction along Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, will have luxury condominiums along with less expensive units.

Looking to address a critical shortage of housing for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, city officials are planning to let developers put up larger buildings along the long-neglected north Brooklyn waterfront in return for setting aside up to a quarter of the apartments as lower-cost units.

The concept, called inclusionary zoning, will face a crucial test as part of a plan that seeks to develop up to 10,300 units, most of them in one of the city's few sweeping tracts of underutilized land, two miles of the East River waterfront in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The coastline is currently dotted with chunks of concrete, hulking factory shells and storage lots, but its stunning views of Manhattan and proximity to trendy residential areas have made it a prized trophy for developers.

Under an enormous rezoning plan, now under public review, more than 350 acres would be turned into a lively mix of light industry, commerce and housing in low and midsize buildings, with residential towers, an aquatics center, parks and a landscaped public esplanade overlooking the river.

In recent rezoning efforts, the Bloomberg administration has come under intense pressure to include lower-cost housing in areas where it allows new development, and community groups have accused it of lagging on this front. To spur the construction of such housing, city officials have now embraced the idea of offering developers permission to build more units than would normally be allowed under zoning regulations if they set aside 15 to 25 percent of the housing for people of limited income.

The city has flirted with inclusionary zoning in the past, creating a narrow incentive program in the late 1980's for the highest-density neighborhoods in Manhattan, but officials in the Bloomberg administration dismissed that program as ineffective because it yielded only 600 or so lower-cost apartments. More effective, they say, is a program that offers subsidies to developers of rental apartment complexes that set aside 20 percent of the units for tenants with limited incomes. But because developers have recently shunned rental projects, that program appears to be yielding diminishing returns.

Now, as housing officials try to meet Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's goal of creating roughly 13,000 new housing units each year, city officials are promoting inclusionary zoning as a new and potentially powerful tool to ensure that some of those units go to low- and moderate-income families. The city has already included a similar incentive program in its rezoning proposal for the Far West Side of Manhattan, now before the City Council, and plans to apply the concept to the redevelopment of parts of Chelsea.

But the proposal for north Brooklyn is in some ways the most ambitious, and it could have sweeping consequences.

"It's not like there's been a huge amount of development outside of Manhattan," said Shaun Donovan, commissioner of the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Noting the demand for market-rate housing even in once-depressed areas like the South Bronx and Brownsville, Brooklyn, he said, "It's time for us to look at our policies and think differently. And Greenpoint-Williamsburg is a perfect example."

New York is far from alone in using inclusionary zoning programs to increase development of lower-cost housing. Hundreds of cities, including Boston, San Francisco and San Diego, have adopted such programs, and many others, including Los Angeles, are debating their merits. But the city's plan would be among the most aggressive in the nation, yielding a higher percentage of apartments whose cost would be permanently lower than market rate, officials say.

Still, some community leaders and housing advocates are skeptical that the plan will succeed because it would be voluntary for developers, and suggest that the city should be going even further.

"It's a good second step in that it recognizes that we need to use the rezoning to guarantee that some of the housing will be affordable," said Brad Lander, director of the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development and a co-author of a study on inclusionary zoning. "The concern is that it won't do enough of what it's intended to do."

What the overall zoning plan is intended to do is create a new community, practically from whole cloth, on the crumbling edge of the East River while preserving and amplifying the diverse mix of commerce, industry and residences that has made the area increasingly attractive to developers and others, city planning officials said.

"This is an opportunity to reclaim this waterfront for parks, open space and provide badly needed housing, including affordable housing," said Amanda M. Burden, chairwoman of the City Planning Commission, whose staff studied the area for 18 months and worked with community leaders in developing the rezoning proposal.

"It's just amazing - it's been derelict for decades, totally cut off from the community," she continued. She added that the plan would provide public access to a new waterfront promenade, which would be built by the developers of the new residences.

Indeed, the proposal, which comes as the city is working to revive its neglected waterfronts, is one in a long line of ideas for revitalizing the former manufacturing hub.

Over the years, property owners have tried to develop everything from housing complexes and big-box stores to waste transfer stations and power plants, but many were stymied by economic downturns or community opposition. At one point, city officials even suggested that the pornography displaced from Times Square relocate to marginal neighborhoods like Greenpoint, said Kenneth K. Fisher, who represented the area in the City Council in the 1990's.

To planners looking at zoning maps, he added, the area appeared perfect for all manner of unpleasant uses because it was zoned for heavy manufacturing, and therefore supposedly devoid of people.

But on the ground, things were very different, with homes and industry coexisting for a century. So even as manufacturing and waterfront activity declined throughout the city, some light industry, like custom furnishings, specialty food production or musical equipment manufacturing, thrived. And in the past 15 years, the neighborhoods have enjoyed a residential and commercial renaissance as people were drawn to the area in part for its ethnic mix and its proximity to Manhattan.

The zoning proposal would permanently legalize many of the lofts in old manufacturing buildings that have been claimed as housing, would limit height levels for new construction in low- and mid-rise residential areas, and would preserve manufacturing in some industrial areas on the East River, along Bushwick Inlet and along Newtown Creek. The proposal would also surround low-density residential areas with mixed-use zones allowing for both residences and the kinds of creative industries that have helped rekindle the vitality of the area.

But the most striking changes would occur at the waterfront, with 150- to 350-foot residential towers creating a varied skyline over a promenade interspersed with several new parks, one of them marked for swimming and beach volleyball competitions in the city's Olympic bid. And it is there that the city is planning to use the rezoning in largely new and untested ways: the elaborate low-cost housing program and the requirement that developers create the public esplanade at their own expense.

It is the first time that the city has made building public waterfront access a condition of development on such a large scale, Ms. Burden said. "It imposes a lot of costs on the development, but we think it's absolutely essential," she said.

Under the current proposal for north Brooklyn, developers on the waterfront would be able to build about 18 percent more square footage in exchange for setting aside 15 to 25 percent of the dwellings for people with limited incomes. Depending on the dimensions of the project, that would translate into roughly 8 to 10 extra stories, and potentially hundreds of apartments. Developers would be free to choose from a range of income limits, providing apartments only for low-income residents or for a mix of low- and moderate-income residents.

The program would also give developers a choice in how to meet the affordability requirements, either by building low-cost dwellings within their market-rate complexes, or putting them in different locations. They could opt instead to preserve existing lower-cost housing in the area by buying a building and maintaining the monthly charges. A similar, less ambitious program has been proposed for the inland areas, where there would be lower height limits.

City officials estimate that the rezoning will yield up to 10,300 new apartments overall, with 1,600 to 2,500 being affordable to low- and moderate-income residents. Of those, officials expect 900 to 1,500 to result from the waterfront developments, 500 to 750 from publicly owned sites and 185 from new inland construction.

The inclusionary proposal is unusual in several ways. It differs from the city's old program and the one proposed for the Far West Side of Manhattan in that developers who take advantage of it would also be eligible for other subsidy programs. And, in a departure from many other programs across the country, the lower-cost apartments would remain that way permanently.

Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said that some of his members have said they would take advantage of the program. Part of its attractiveness, he said, is that the city would allow developers to take advantage of other subsidies in addition to getting the right to build more apartments.

But some critics say that such "double dipping" will leave less money available for inexpensive housing elsewhere in the city.

They also say that the base height proposed by the city under the new zoning is already so high that the bonus formula does not necessarily guarantee a developer a more attractive package. Imposing a mandatory or more restrictive program might lower the value of the land, these critics contend, but since many of the current property owners paid so little for it, the rezoning, which would automatically increase the value of the land by increasing the size of what could be built on it, would still give them an astronomical profit.

As the proposal - which the community board voted against and which is currently before Borough President Marty Markowitz - goes through the city's elaborate public review process, several of the details may change, city officials said. The City Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on it in March before it goes to the City Council for final approval.

"We've got a big housing shortage in New York, period," said Mr. Donovan, the commissioner of housing preservation and development. "There's been a lot of concern about density, and I understand that," he continued, adding that the new housing policy had helped build support for the rezoning.

"What we've done, I think, through this policy is to say to the community, 'You want affordable housing, you now have a stake in density, too,' " he added. "The higher we're able to go to a reasonable level, the more affordable housing you're going to get."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

December 26th, 2004, 11:51 PM
"What we've done, I think, through this policy is to say to the community, 'You want affordable housing, you now have a stake in density, too,' " he added. "The higher we're able to go to a reasonable level, the more affordable housing you're going to get."

Lets hope! ::Crosses fingers::

December 26th, 2004, 11:53 PM
If the community board voted against this how much of a chance does it have to approval? Not much?

December 27th, 2004, 01:55 AM
CBs are typically "suggestions" so who knows.

This has to get passed, it's a no-brainer.

I did think that we were talking 20K units for some reason. Am I just way off, or has the density been lowered quite a bit?

December 27th, 2004, 06:47 AM


January 15th, 2005, 01:19 AM
January 15, 2005

Brooklyn Rezoning Plan Assailed


Marty Markowitz, the Brooklyn borough president, said yesterday that he opposed an enormous rezoning proposal for Greenpoint and Williamsburg because it did not guarantee enough inexpensive housing, open space or economic stability for people already living in the area.

Although the City Planning Commission and the City Council have the ultimate say in the plan moving forward, Mr. Markowitz's concerns are likely to influence the final rezoning, which is aimed at creating a new neighborhood on the crumbling North Brooklyn waterfront.

"Many members of the community feel that the administration has developed a proposal for this asset-in-waiting that best serves the constituency of Manhattan," Mr. Markowitz said in a statement announcing his recommendations, part of the city's public review process. "This project must serve all Brooklynites, especially the current residents of Williamsburg and Greenpoint."

Officials in Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's administration have proposed a voluntary incentive program that they say would encourage developers to set aside 15 to 25 percent of the housing built as a result of the rezoning for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers.

But Mr. Markowitz called for a different combination of subsidies and incentives to guarantee that 30 percent of the new dwellings would be affordable to residents of limited incomes.

Amanda M. Burden, chairwoman of the City Planning Commission, suggested that the Bloomberg administration was open to fine-tuning the details of the plan, which she said would generate thousands of apartments and jobs while opening the waterfront to the public and adding 50 acres of open space to the area.

She said city officials were "confident that in the coming months we will address any outstanding concerns, including those of the borough president."

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

January 18th, 2005, 03:02 PM
I hope they do something to get this project the green light.

January 18th, 2005, 03:09 PM
I hope they do something to get this project the green light.

It will, but not likely before height limit reductions and close to unreasonable amounts of affordable housing requirements. Maybe even 5 or so more acres of parkland to boot.

January 19th, 2005, 03:45 PM
You make it sound as if affordable housing and parkland is a bad thing.

January 19th, 2005, 04:09 PM
I think more parkland is a good thing. If you make the surroundings more pleasant, people will be willing to pay more for the non-affordable units, and that probably means nicer projects.

March 3rd, 2005, 09:38 PM

Rendering by Morello Art-Design

March 3rd, 2005, 10:27 PM
I like it!

April 5th, 2005, 11:39 AM
April 5, 2005

Council Threatens to Block Plan to Rezone in Brooklyn

By DIANE CARDWELL (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=DIANE CARDWELL&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=DIANE CARDWELL&inline=nyt-per)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/c.gifity Council members threatened yesterday to scuttle an ambitious proposal to rezone an enormous swath of northwest Brooklyn unless Bloomberg administration officials rewrite the plan to include more low-cost housing.

The administration's proposal for the 175 blocks in Greenpoint and Williamsburg would transform a crumbling, disused manufacturing area into a new neighborhood, with residential towers soaring over a public waterfront esplanade and a 28-acre park roughly twice the size of Carl Schurz Park on the Upper East Side. But Council officials warned that they might try to block it.

"I think that this plan needs not just a tuneup or an oil change," said Councilman David Yassky at a hearing of the City Council's Zoning and Franchises Subcommittee. "I think we have to trade this in for a new model and get a rezoning that works for the neighborhood and is not simply designed to allow the builders to build with maximum profitability."

If city officials do not agree to significant changes in the plan, he continued, "I will be asking you, my colleagues, to join me in rejecting it and starting over."

City officials have emphasized that the proposal had been carefully drawn - "block by block," in the words of the city's planning commission chairwoman, Amanda M. Burden - to preserve the vibrant, mixed-use nature of the neighborhood while spurring the production of much-needed housing.

City officials say the new zoning would legalize loft conversions, preserve manufacturing in some areas, create mixed-use zones to allow light manufacturing to coexist with residences, and set height limits for new residential construction in some areas. At the same time, the zoning would allow developers to build larger buildings if they set aside up to a quarter of the apartments as low-cost units, half of them for residents of the community.

But although there is widespread agreement that the area's zoning is out of date, the plan has come under fire from several quarters.

Members of a coalition of neighborhood groups, who packed the steps of City Hall during the Council hearing, argued that the waterfront buildings, which could exceed 30 stories, were out of scale with the existing community and that the 49 acres of new open space in the proposal was insufficient to meet the growing needs of the area.

In addition, critics argue, the waterfront esplanade could take decades to be completed, and public access to it could be limited because it is to be built and maintained by private developers as a condition of building. And finally, industrial advocates say, the proposed mixed-use zones, which do not require that manufacturing be maintained, will lead to a loss of jobs because owners can get higher rents or sales prices for residential property.

Still, the most intense debate has centered on the housing component, in part because the proposal imagines the creation of an entire new neighborhood of high-rise apartment buildings in a traditionally working-class, low-rise area that is now one of the most sought-after in the city. Critics, who include residents and housing advocates, complain that the city's plan does not guarantee that any so-called affordable apartments will be built and that people who are already living in the area will be displaced. The community groups, whose plan has the support of several elected officials, have called for a guarantee that 40 percent of the new housing will be for low- and moderate-income residents.

City officials counter that their plan, which allows developers to take advantage of subsidy programs and other incentives, is aggressive enough to ensure development of moderate- and low-income housing even if market conditions change. "Private development is always a voluntary act," Housing Commissioner Shaun Donovan told the committee. "Whether you look at any program - a mandatory program, a voluntary program - it always depends on the incentives being correct for a developer to choose to develop."

Indeed, Bloomberg administration officials and supporters of the proposal argue that nothing good will come out of the rezoning if developers are unwilling to build. In addition to transforming polluted, underused land into living and recreation space, they say, developing the waterfront would block the proliferation of noxious neighbors like waste transfer stations and power plants.

Administration officials and Council leaders signaled that the plan was likely to change before the Council vote in early May.

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

From the New York Daily News (http://www.nydailynews.com/)

Affordable housing push
Tuesday, April 5th, 2005

If northern Brooklyn residents don't want thousands of luxury apartments in their neighborhood, they might end up with less desirable industrial plants, a top city official warned yesterday.

"The alternative is to allow power plants and waste stations to develop there," said City Planning Commission Chairwoman Amanda Burden, as a public hearing began into the controversial plan to build 10,000 apartment units on the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront.

"I think the [City Council] knows this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create parks and open spaces," Burden said.

City Councilman David Yassky (D-Brooklyn) told the Daily News he has the votes to defeat the project unless more affordable housing is included.

"If the plan is not improved, it will be defeated," Yassky warned. "I'm confident there will be a clear majority of Council members who will vote against this plan if it doesn't have a genuine affordable-housing component."

Hundreds of Williamsburg-Greenpoint residents jammed the Council hearing room at City Hall yesterday to voice their opposition to the project.

Chaos erupted on the steps of City Hall when about 200 people were not allowed inside for the hearing.

Opponents of the city's plan want guarantees that between 30% and 40% of the new housing will be set aside for lower-income residents - more than the 23% city officials project the current plan will create.

The Council is the last hurdle in a seven-month review process to approve the rezoning that would entice developers to build thousands of new apartments on 175 square blocks.

"This is not what democracy is all about," said civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel, as he stood outside.

"I think it stinks," added Siri Wilson, a member of a grass-roots group called the Williamsburg Warriors.

"They should find a bigger room. There were a lot of people who were thinking they could speak here, but were turned away," Wilson said.

If voted down by the Council's Land Use Committee, the project would still likely go before the full Council for a vote - but the Council generally follows the recommendations of its committees.

Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Shaun Donovan warned that resistance to the plan could result in no development. "The risk we take is we get no affordable housing at all," Donovan said. "The city added 700,000 people in the last decade. We must find places for these people to live." "If the Bloomberg administration can't get the rezoning done right," Yassky replied, "we'll wait until the next mayor to get it done right."

April 5th, 2005, 11:43 AM
Indeed, bring on the garbage processing plants.

April 26th, 2005, 03:17 PM
http://images.clickability.com/partners/3038/mainLogo.gif (http://www.wnyc.org/)

Rezoning Williamsburg

by Andrea Bernstein

NEW YORK, NY, April 26, 2005 — Next week, a city council committee will decide whether to rezone the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Under the Bloomberg Administration plan, 175 blocks would be freed up for new uses, there would be 9000 new apartments, and new parks.

But residents and elected officials from the area say the plan gives too much away to developers who’ve recently snapped up large plots of land in the area. WNYC’s Andrea Bernstein reports.

REPORTER: On the Williamsburg waterfront right now, here are razor wire coils around abandoned factories. Rusted chain link fences surround litter-strewn plots of dirt. Fifty five gallon drums stand like sentinels in a long-disused battlefield on the East River.

WINTERS: Where we are standing this exact site would be the site of the beach volleyball competition.

REPORTER: Andrew Winters is an urban planner who works for NYC 2012. For him, looking at disused neighborhoods is part archeology, part computer graphics. One hundred years ago, he says, New Yorkers fled from the waterfront, a roiling brew of disease and effluent from the factories that drew their livelihood from the river. But now, he says, that waterfront provides a magnificent view, a commodity to be mined for New York’s future prosperity. In the late 1990’s he says, NYC 2012 planners began thinking about where to locate Olympic venues.

WINTERS: We were looking for areas that we thought were underused and that had opportunity to be developed as recreational facilities because you really need a lot of space for recreational facilities.

REPORTER: Under their plan, in addition to beach volleyball, this new park would host swimming and diving. NYC 2012 thought a park here would spur a neighborhood transformation.

WINTERS: I don’t think we were the only ones look at this site in that way. It’s almost an obvious site, but I think we were one of the first ones to be very public about saying this is an area we could invest in from a public point of view and really get that private reaction .

REPORTER: But there were others thinking about it. Residents of Williamsburg and Greenpoint were long distressed by this stretch of abandoned industrial buildings and warehouses blocking off the East River. Vincent V. Abate, Chairman of Community Board One is an 87-year resident. He says the community has long fought to maintain its character and deserves to reap the benefits of a re-opened waterfront.

ABATE: When the BQE tore through our community we got together and rebuilt our two and three family homes around it and survived. When the waste transfer stations deemed up their capital we fought back and won.

REPORTER: Over in the halls of government, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden also had her eye on the East River waterfront.

BURDEN: This proposal has been carefully crafted on a block by block basis.

REPORTER: Under the direction of Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, who is also the head of NYC 2012, she came up with a plan, presented a recent city council hearing.

BURDEN: Today, we are at a crossroads, a once in a lifetime opportunity to reclaim over 100 acres of neglected and deteriorating waterfront.

REPORTER: When the Bloomberg Administration first presented a plan on Greenpoint and Williamsburg, it included no provisions for affordable housing. Now, the proposal aims for twenty three percent. Even so, every elected official who represents the area is rejecting the current plan. Here’s Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez at the hearings.

VELAZQUEZ: This city cannot, Mr. Chairman, cannot afford to have an economy solely dependent on the development of new high end residential development.

REPORTER: The Bloomberg plan would allow for the construction of luxury high rises along two miles of waterfront. But this is a low-rise neighborhood, Velazquez and the others say, and the city should only allow developers to build high IF they guarantee more affordable units. City Housing Commissioner Sean Donovan says the Bloomberg Administration has concluded you can only push developers so far.

DONOVAN: The balance we have to strike is always to make sure we get the development in the first place. If we lower the base density and increase the requirements on developers as a result of that, the risk that we take is that we get no development at all and if we get no development we get no affordable housing no development of the esplanade.

REPORTER: Over on the Brooklyn waterfront, City Councilmember David Yassky praises the Mayor for some of his efforts to create affordable housing. But when it comes to Williamsburg zoning, he says, the Administration has it wrong.

YASSKY: I think there is zero chance of developers walking away from this waterfront. Look at this view! This is the best view in New York City, maybe in the whole world. You’ve got the entire Manhattan skyline right in front of you.

REPORTER: There are other things Yassky doesn’t like. He says the planned 28-acre park here is far too small, especially for a dense neighborhood that has few parks – and will grow even denser. And he doesn’t like the idea of allowing the developers to own the esplanade that will run along two miles of shoreline – an esplanade he says they’ll be able to close off to the public at dusk.

YASSKY: When a city rezones a piece of waterfront property we’re increasing the value of that property literally ten times something that’s worth a million dollars is worth ten million dollars the instant its rezoned so rather than give that value away to the developers I think the public should benefit from that too.

REPORTER: Land values are indeed skyrocketing here. Trangas President Adam Victor has a claim on one of the pieces of property that would be rezoned. He wants to build an underground power plant there, a plan opposed by the community and the Bloomberg administration. In the late 1990’s, he says, that land cost four million dollars.

VICTOR: Land speculation has gone crazy in Greenpoint because of the talks of this rezoning. Land that was worth 10 million is now worth 200 million. Our property is worth a minimum of 50 million now.

REPORTER: Real estate experts and land records confirm that. In the last five years or so, five groups of developers have snapped up large tracts on the Williamsburg waterfront. One of those developers, George Klein, has an option for a large tract where he wants to build luxury high rise housing.

REPORTER: Klein, who is a major donor to the Republican party and NYC 2012, has met at least three times with Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff to discuss the rezoning, including one as early as February 2002 just after Doctoroff became Deputy Mayor.

REPORTER: Klein wants to make sure the property he has optioned is rezoned for high-rising housing, and not, say, a park. He has also sought assurances that a sludge line that empties adjacent to his property would be moved. That could cost water ratepayers upwards of $100 million. These kinds of discussions are largely out of the public view. Councilmember Yassky says Klein’s actions are typical for real estate developers.

Yassky: I knew nothing about real estate or development till I had this job. A big part of the real estate industry in New York is buying land or buying buildings, then pressuring the government to increase the value of that property and then taking advantage of that increase of value.

REPORTER: Klein declined an interview for this story. Doctoroff’s spokeswoman says he met personally with all the developers about the rezoning. The spokeswoman provided a list of a few dozen groups, from affordable housing advocates to architects to environmentalists, that administration members had met with. But there was no response to a question about whether Doctoroff himself had met with anyone other than developers about the rezoning.

REPORTER: The city council is in negotiations with the Bloomberg administration. The land use committee will have a chance to vote the plan up or down in early May. For WNYC, I’m Andrea Bernstein.

»More on the City's plan for the waterfront (http://www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/dcp/html/greenpointwill/greenwateraccess2.html)

May 3rd, 2005, 01:08 PM
Excerpt from Gothamist (http://www.gothamist.com/archives/2005/05/03/elana_levin_community_organizer_williamsburg_warri or.php#more) interview:

Elana Levin, Community Organizer & Williamsburg Warrior


Elana Levin, 25, has a passion for organizing -- organizing people to empower their lives through collective action against powerful, often impersonal, interests. By day she works as a union labor organizer. But just about every moment of this energetic, creative and politically engaged individual’s spare time in 2005 – nights, weekends, lunch breaks even -- has been spent on other NYC issues. For over a year she has been spending an ever increasing amount of time as a Williamsburg Warrior (http://www.williamsburgwarriors.org/)" opposing the Bloomberg Administration’s rezoning plans for Williamsburg / Greenpoint. The plan, opponents believe, threatens to eradicate skilled jobs, reduce quality of life, and force life long residents from the very neighborhoods they have nurtured and built for much if not all of their lives.

Gothamist recently spoke with Elana to discuss efforts by a broad partnership of arts and activism groups -- The Creative Industries Coalition (http://www.communityplan.org/) -- against the Bloomberg Plan and for an alternative plan the local community itself has proposed.

You’re involved with efforts to fight the City’s rezoning plans in Williamsburg / Greenpoint. Why are you opposing the plan?
It’s incorrect to say we are opposed to the City’s plan. We ARE the city. It is the Mayor’s plan that is opposed to the city! The mayor’s cronies are on a rampage to turn radical, unique, magical New York into a luxury bedroom community of chain stores and conformity.

Ten years ago this community asked the Department of City Planning to rezone our formerly industrial waterfront. Community members, with the help of urban planning experts, drew up a plan for what would make for a livable and workable Brooklyn. The plan was visionary but economically sound. So what did the Mayor do? He threw it in the trash. The administration refuses to acknowledge our right to decide what happens to the place we live. It is undemocratic and it’s just plain shortsighted urban planning.

At the heart of it is a question of values. The people here value their neighbors, diversity and the long-term sustainability of the local economy. The developers value quick profit and will vampirically suck the life out of NYC, turning it into a bedroom community and playground for the super rich.

Could you give us an overview of what some of the central points of contention are with the Bloomberg plan?
These are the main issues as set out by the North Brooklyn Alliance (http://www.northbrooklynalliance.org/) (an omnibus group of 40+ community organizations ranging from Neighbors Against Garbage (http://www.billburg.com/framesets/nag.html) to the local Catholic diocese):

</p> </p>


No guaranteed affordable housing -- incentives are not guarantees -- and no anti-harassment protections for current residents. Can you say landlords gone wild?!
No net increase in public park space -- the city says we are supposed to have a living room’s worth of parkland per person, but in the Bloomberg plan each Williamsburg resident gets a bathtub plus toilet’s worth of space.
Functionally privatizing the waterfront by making it a front yard to the luxury condos. The developers will put up riverside walkways from each building to the water. This encourages restricting access to the waterfront to daylight hours.
Twenty-two high-rise luxury residential towers will be built, some as tall as 40-stories high. That’s higher than the Williamsburg Bridge and not at all compatible with the low-rise and low-density makeup of the existing neighborhoods. These will be a wall of tall buildings dividing the community.
The population of the district will increase by 25% (40,000 new higher-income residents) without adequate infrastructure, like, say, reopening the firehouse Bloomberg closed. Their transportation plan amounts to widening the stairwell at the Bedford Avenue L train by 3 feet. I mean I already almost fall into the train tracks from overcrowding during my commute! Private water taxis will be made available to waterfront residents.
It puts around 4,000 skilled industrial jobs at risk (furniture making, set construction etc.) plus more creative economy jobs when artists get forced out.
You claim 4000 local jobs will be eradicated in the affected neighborhoods? How was this figure arrived at?
Over 4,000 jobs in more than 250 companies that will be put at risk by the rezoning. You see the land would be rezoned &quot;MX&quot; meaning Mixed Use. That sounds great but developers can charge much more per square foot of residential space than they can per square foot of industrial space. The leases of these businesses won’t be renewed by their landlords. That way, landlords can price gouge apartment tenants and kick the manufacturers out.

This number of jobs was agreed on by the industrial retention advocates, namely Neighbors Against Garbage’s tireless 2004 door-to-door survey over the past eight months of over 80 companies on the Northside and New York Industrial Retention Network, NAG, and GMDC's outreach activities in Greenpoint and Williamsburg

How does that figure square with estimates that the plan will bring 40,000 + people into the neighborhoods in question? Wouldn’t common sense dictate that such an increase in population density would bring in additional demand for goods and services that would more than make up for losses in the industrial sector?
It’s a question of the quality of jobs. The jobs we have now are good paying, skilled jobs doing art handling, lighting fabrication, metal work etc. These jobs would be replaced by low paying &quot;service industry&quot; jobs, which in this case means Starbucks. The chain stores that would invade are not an adequate replacement for skilled trades jobs and creative jobs.

New York used to be a city where things were made. Its slowly becoming a place where people live, work on Wall Street and buy Gap t-shirts. That’s bad because it increases the gap between rich and poor. The poor work at the Starbucks and the rich work in real estate but what happens to the middle class when the manufacturing jobs leave? What happens to the creative class? The world-renowned galleries here would close under Bloomberg’s plan. There goes our local tourism and there goes one more of the things that make New York, New York.

The local community has proposed an alternative plan. Could you tell us how this plan proposes to redress some of the perceived injustices of the City’s plan?
A leading urban planning group, the Municipal Arts Society shows that our plan is economically viable. The Community Plan:

Guarantees 40% affordable housing on the waterfront (not off site so the area becomes racially segregated). It is defined as housing affordable to the average income of long-time neighborhood residents, around $27,000 a year.
Significantly increases parks and open spaces (so we won’t have one of the highest asthma rates in the country anymore) .
Creates public access and waterfront promenade, developed comprehensively (it’s the people’s waterfront after all).
Imposes height restrictions and maintains the neighborhood character that makes Williamsburg so desirable to live in and do commerce in in the first place.
Preserves a mixed-use neighborhood and creates appropriate job development
Protects thousands of jobs in small business (and keeping the height down is part of that)

Our plan is a holistic plan. You can’t afford even &quot;affordable housing&quot; without a job. The restaurants and boutiques here, business that rely on our area’s charm would loose their draw if the neighborhood looked like Battery Park City. The parks are necessary for public health. We need all of our community’s concerns addressed or else the pieces fall apart. This past Saturday you helped organize a &quot;Paula Revere&quot; rally, featuring a colonial clad woman on a galloping horse crying out &quot;The Developers are Coming! The Developers are coming!&quot; Do you see such street theater as an effective political tactic?
Street theater works in two ways. First is, you produce your own news. A big, confusing, abstract issue like the Williamsburg one is hard to handle as a story. Street theater turns a whole mess of information into an event and turns it into a spectacle too cool looking for people to ignore.

Secondly, street theater also gets people to participate who wouldn’t have been involved otherwise. How many arts collectives knew what Inclusionary Zoning was before the Williamsburg Warriors started dressing up like 70’s cult flick &quot;The Warriors&quot; and spreading the word? Now if you walk down Bedford and ask if people know about the invasion of the skyscrapers most everyone answers &quot;yes&quot;.

I’ve been having a Paul Revere year. Now is the time to call the Minutemen and Minutewomen of NYC and the whole world to action against their aggressors. I believe in street theater. I’m one of the founders of a political street theater group called Greene Dragon (http://www.greenedragon.org/). We did our own Paula Revere’s Ride to warn NYC that &quot;the Republican’s are coming! The Republican’s are coming!&quot; during the GOP invasion of NYC (i.e. the Republican National Convention).

Ever think about the Boston Tea Party as America’s first great act of street theater? Guys dressed up as Indians dumping tea off a ship. They knew that the importers would just import more tea, that wasn’t the point. The point was rousing people to action.

Has it been difficult to mobilize the community to get involved in the fight against the plan?
It’s complicated. The Latino population has long been mobilized; they have kickass groups like Mobilization Against Displacement, El Puente and Save Our Southside (they even booted City Planning off the podium at a hearing! BADASS!)

The people who’ve been fighting this fight for over 10 years are tired. Rightfully so. They’ve been doing civil disobedience to get our firehouse reopened, the People’s Firehouse Engine 212 has been in and out of action since the 1970’s… People get burned out. I think the injection of new blood that the Creative Industries Coalition provides is essential to the continuing struggle. I think it showed people that they weren’t alone in caring about their community and that young people could pick up the torch of their groundbreaking work.

The challenge with young people is that many don’t know what a Community Board is let alone who their Councilman is. So the issue becomes mostly about education and empowerment Once you explain that -- like Beka from Not An Alternative says, &quot;what’s happening here in Williamsburg is like the negative effects of globalism but on a local scale&quot; -- those kids get it.

For the less overtly political people we say &quot;Williamsburg rocks, lets make sure it stays that way&quot; and Eve and Siri of the Warriors have done an astounding job mobilizing the &quot;party kids&quot; that way. Then you have to explain to people that the things they do can make a difference. People are so disempowered by the political system, but on the local level, where so many of us share the same progressive values… if we all work together we can achieve things.

What other methods are you employing in your battle?
We combine street tactics like costumed rallies with inside bargaining and lobbying. You need to do the rabble rousing in order to get the meetings and you need to get the meetings in order to influence the policy.

Most importantly, we helped to mobilize over 200 people to come to the City Council hearing on April 4th. We made all the local news outlets. There were so many people that they wouldn’t let us all in! We held a rally out front and community members gave over 8 hours of testimony. It was the most diverse crew ever -- the Latino Community, the Polish-American Community, the bohemian community all there, together! For so many, especially the hipsters this was their first time ever at the City Council let alone they first time they testified before the council. That is an important experience for anyone and very empowering.

I’ve also been registering voters to vote in the Democratic primary. Its not that I love the Democrats; its that being a registered Democrat is the only way you can vote in NYC. See, we have a close primary system where you must be in a political party to vote in the primary election. Whoever wins the Democratic Primary in NYC wins the general election (the mayor’s race being the exception). So many young people let their understandable contempt for the party establishment keep them from doing the main thing they can do to change that establishment -- vote!

Democracy for NYC, Howard Dean’s group (http://www.dfnyc.org/) does great education and outreach work on this issue.

From a practical standpoint, what will need to happen for the Community to achieve its desired goals?
The City Council Sub-committee on Zoning and Franchises voted yesterday. There are 4 members on the sub-committee, including Tony Avella (chair of the sub-committee, though he just got removed for political reasons), David Yassky (our local council-person), and Gifford Miller (the chair of the overall city council). In sub-committee, they will review and make changes to the 9 sections of the Bloomberg plan. Check www.northbrooklynalliance.org (http://www.northbrooklynalliance.org/) and www.communityplan.org (http://www.communityplan.org/) for updates.

Then the Committee on Land Use alters the plan. The Chair of the committee is Melinda Katz. It will move through this stage quickly but here is where the changes we demand should be made.

Then, the overall City Council votes on the city plan. There are 51 members from all 5 boroughs, and the chair is Speaker Gifford Miller.

We want the committees to change the Bloomberg plan radically enough that it resembles the Community Plan. If adequate changes are made then zoning will pass and there will be dancing in the streets. If they don’t make adequate changes then we will push the City Council to have a &quot;no&quot; vote. If it gets a &quot;no&quot; vote the plan gets scrapped and we get to start anew.

The next time around, the Dept. of City Planning should actually read our Community Plan before acting unilaterally. The waterfront is only going to get developed once. We need to take the time to get it right the first time or else we are stuck with it.

May 3, 2005

City Is Backing Makeover for Decaying Brooklyn Waterfront

By DIANE CARDWELL (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=DIANE%20CARDWELL&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=DIANE%20CARDWELL&inline=nyt-per)

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/c.gifity officials agreed yesterday to let developers turn the decaying north Brooklyn waterfront, with its relics of Brooklyn's industrial past, into a neighborhood of residential towers with a parklike esplanade along the East River.

The plan, which rivals the ambition and scope of the creation of Battery Park City, would rezone a 175-block area of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, two neighborhoods that have surged in popularity because of their proximity to Manhattan but whose development has been curtailed because much of the area is now restricted to industrial use.

The area has become perhaps the most emblematic of Brooklyn's resurgence over the last few decades, as young people seeking an alternative to Manhattan have flocked to its once desolate streets, remaking Williamsburg into a hub of nightlife, art galleries and restaurants just one subway stop away from Manhattan.

That has propelled the local housing market, and led to intense pressure to develop acres of abandoned or underutilized properties near the East River that boast stunning views of Manhattan.

The rezoning, which was approved unanimously by a key City Council committee, would transform the long-crumbling waterfront into a residential neighborhood complete with 40-story luxury apartment buildings, shops and manicured recreation areas. As envisioned by city planners, the rezoning would help realize decades-long efforts to capitalize on one of New York's most ignored assets, its miles of neglected waterfront, while also protecting a neighborhood that has long been considered a repository for unpopular projects like power plants, waste transfer stations and porn shops.

&quot;This rezoning will ensure that the reuse of this priceless but long derelict waterfront will be for the purposes of housing and recreation and not for such inappropriate uses as waste transfer stations and power plants,&quot; Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg told reporters at a late afternoon news conference.

The plan, which is expected to be approved by the full City Council next week, imposes some novel requirements for developers seeking to build the housing. In order to build to the maximum height of roughly 30 or 40 stories, they must keep at least 20 percent of the homes affordable to low- and middle-income New Yorkers, making it among the most ambitious such programs in the nation, city officials say. And the developers must build the waterfront esplanade, which will eventually be turned over for management to the city's Parks Department.

The rezoning in north Brooklyn is coming together as the city moves aggressively to spruce up its aging waterfronts, many of which have been in decline for more than a generation as New York's ports lost their prominence. Earlier this year, the city approved the rezoning of a huge swath of the Far West Side of Manhattan for office space and housing and has finally begun putting in place a plan to support a mix of uses, including a cruise ship terminal, on the Red Hook waterfront in Brooklyn.

But the north Brooklyn plan, whose final version came after intense negotiations between the City Council and Bloomberg administration officials, could yield one of the most extreme transformations of a neighborhood in decades. Inland from the water, the plan seeks to preserve the low-rise scale of the areas, where four- and six-story apartment buildings predominate, as well as the mix of light industry and residences.

To that end, the plan will designate a 22-block area near the Bushwick Inlet, just beyond the East River waterfront, as an Industrial Business Zone, which brings with it special protections and benefits for businesses operating or moving there, and create a $4 million fund to preserve manufacturing jobs in the neighborhood.

The plan also creates 54 acres of parkland, including a 28-acre park with an Olympic-quality aquatic center on the river. The waterfront, though, will see the most striking change, and is the scene of the city's broadest test of inclusionary zoning, which allows developers to build larger buildings in exchange for setting aside some of the apartments as lower-cost units.

To take advantage of this bonus, developers on the waterfront must put aside 20 to 25 percent of their apartments for low- to moderate-income New Yorkers. In the city's calculations, for a family of four, low income is defined as earning up to $50,250 per year, and moderate income is defined as $50,250 to $78,000.

In exchange, they will be allowed to put up larger buildings, capped at roughly 30 or 40 stories depending on the location, and they will be eligible for a 25-year tax exemption. Those developers are also eligible for certain grants for the public esplanades they build.

Those who do not include affordable apartments in their developments would be ineligible for the tax exemption. The size of their buildings would also be smaller, limited to roughly 23 or 33 stories, officials said. In the inland areas, there is also an inclusionary program, but it is smaller in scale.

Council members involved in the negotiations said that their modifications to the administration's plan will result in the construction of more affordable homes overall, about 33 percent of the more than 10,500 apartments anticipated from the rezoning.

In addition, Mr. Bloomberg said, the five major developers who own 70 percent of the property within the rezoning area reached an agreement with the city's main building service union to pay union-scale wages.

&quot;In 10 years, I can't imagine what Williamsburg-Greenpoint is going to look like,&quot; said Councilwoman Melinda Katz, Democrat of Queens, who as chairwoman of the Land Use Committee led negotiations with Bloomberg administration officials.

City Councilman David Yassky, Democrat of Brooklyn, who represents much of the area, echoed that sentiment. &quot;This is truly a transformative plan for New York City's waterfront,&quot; he said. Many residents and community advocates, though, have been opposed to the changes envisioned by the city, and some had lobbied for a guarantee that 40 percent of the new housing would be directed to lower-income residents. But several housing advocates watching the voting at City Hall praised city officials for including more lower-cost housing and open space in the plan.

&quot;The communities off Williamsburg and Greenpoint win,&quot; said Brad Lander, director of the Pratt Institute Center for Community and Environmental Development, &quot;because today there is a guarantee of new and permanently affordable housing, instead of a virtual guarantee that new development would price residents out of their homes.&quot;

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

May 3rd, 2005, 02:09 PM
Why are there two related threads about almost the same subject? It gets kind of confusing to post and follow a story about this development.


May 3rd, 2005, 02:56 PM
I agree - I keep posting in the wrong thread... is it possible to combine them?

September 11th, 2005, 02:25 PM
http://www.douglastondevelopment.com/projects/current/img/williamsburg-1.jpghttp://www.douglastondevelopment.com/projects/current/img/williamsburg-2.jpgThe Edge

Williamsburg, NY

North 5th to North 7th Street, from Kent Avenue to the East River

Over one million square feet to be developed on the Williamsburg Brooklyn waterfront in a mix of mid-rise buildings and high-rise towers. Known as “The Edge,” the project includes Brownfield remediation, master planning, waterfront permitting and construction. 1,000 residential units will be built over 100,000 square feet of retail space and parking for over 1,000 cars. A waterfront esplanade will be built along the river, with a recreational and water taxi pier built into the river from North 6th Street. Construction will commence by the spring of 2006.

September 14th, 2005, 12:52 AM
I think Water Taxi service has recently begun

September 21st, 2005, 10:34 PM
Billburg Condo Plan Dealt a Blow

http://www.therealdeal.net//breaking_news/2005/09/21/images/1127330965.jpg http://realestate.observer.com/austinnichols.jpg
The Austin, Nichols & Co. Warehouse on the Williamsburg waterfront

Matthew Grace

The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Austin, Nichols & Co. Warehouse at 184 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg a landmark yesterday. The building sits smack on the East River, making it a distinctive part of the Brooklyn skyline when viewed from Manhattan. The six-story building, built in 1915 and designed by Cass Gilbert, was used to process and package many types of food, from dried fruit and coffee to peanut butter for Sunbeam Foods.

According to the L.P.C. press release, buildings like this--with exposed concrete elevations sloping inward and crowned by flared cornices, it's an example of the Egyptian Revival style!--influenced Le Corbusier and his remarkable Radiant City designs (see Matthew Schuerman's article in The Observer this week for a discussion of Corbusier's influence in New York City; also, check out Michael Calderone's rundown on the Williamsburg real-estate scene).

It remains to be seen how this will influence developer Louis Kestenbaum's plan to convert the building into 240 luxe condos. The L.P.C.'s designation will wreck havoc on his plans (by architect Karl Fischer, who's all over Billyburg) to enlarge the building's windows, add four additional floors, and insert a 80-by-20-foot open-air courtyard in the center of the 500,000-square-foot building, all by 2008 (we'll see about that).

copyright © 2005 the new york observer, L.P.

March 21st, 2008, 07:31 AM
Green light for park as plant plan dies

Friday, March 21st 2008, 4:00 AM

A planned 28-acre park on the Greenpoint (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Greenpoint)-Williamsburg (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Williamsburg+(Brooklyn)) waterfront will move forward now that the state has rejected a long-standing proposal for a power plant on the same site.

Though TransGas Energy Systems officials plan to review their legal options, community advocates and leaders cheered the plan's demise for making the creation of Bushwick (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Bushwick) Inlet Park possible.

"Finally, we can move on and [build] a world-class park," said Evan Thies (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Evan+Thies) of the community group Neighbors Allied for Good Growth. "The state listened to the community and rid us of this awful proposal once and for all."

TransGas had proposed a 1,100-megawatt power plant in 2002, revising that plan twice. The proposals were rejected by the state's Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment, which determined the project was "not in the public interest."

"To build a power plant in an area that already has more than its fair share of pollution and industry and to do it in the place of open space would be a travesty and a betrayal," said Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D-Greenpoint) (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Joe+Lentol).

But TransGas' lawyer John Dax (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/John+Dax) said officials were surprised by Thursday's actions.

"The state has set lofty goals for greenhouse gas reduction and has real concerns for [creating] power plants within the city," Dax said.

"It would seem to be incompatible with those goals to be denying a permit to a state-of-the-art clean power plant."

Copyright 2008 The New York Daily News.

May 4th, 2008, 06:39 AM
When Spring Cleaning Includes a Power Plant

By JAKE MOONEY (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/jake_mooney/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: May 4, 2008

THE gigantic old power plant at 500 Kent Avenue, next to the Brooklyn Navy Yard in South Williamsburg, has stood on the waterfront since 1905, generating power for the trains and streetcars of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/05/04/nyregion/coned450.jpgArchive of Industry
“It is quite literally throwing this building into the garbage,” says a preservationist.

The plant operated through the borough’s heyday as a leading manufacturing center. And though it closed in 1999 after 49 years as a Con Edison plant, the building remained standing as some of its industrial neighbors were designated landmarks and earmarked for conversion into housing, like part of the former Domino sugar factory. Others, such as the old Schaefer Beer factory, were demolished to make way for new construction.

Now, the power station’s time may have come. A week and a half ago, Con Edison representatives confirmed neighborhood suspicions that the building was being torn down, though Bob McGee, a company spokesman, said no future use had been determined for the site, including whether to sell it.

News of the demolition, which dismayed preservationists who still hope to see the building reused, trickled out awkwardly: In a March 12 posting on a neighborhood blog called “I’m not sayin, I’m just sayin,” a Con Edison spokesman was quoted dismissing the demolition option, telling the site’s anonymous author that workers seen on the site were “just doing some spring cleaning.” Five weeks later, the same spokesman told AM New York that the building was indeed being dismantled.

Lisa Kersavage, director of advocacy and policy for the Municipal Art Society (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/m/municipal_art_society/index.html?inline=nyt-org) of New York, called the Kent Avenue plant “a very striking presence on the waterfront.” From an environmental point of view, she said, reuse would be the best option.

Ms. Kersavage speculated that the plant could become an incubator for small manufacturers like the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, which is housed in an old factory. Or, she said, it could be used for residences, or for a cultural institution.

“It doesn’t sound like those actions have been explored, so I think they should pause before they do any more spring cleaning or whatever, to really investigate the adaptive reuse possibilities here,” Ms. Kersavage said.

And she added: “It’s just so incredibly wasteful. It is quite literally throwing this building into the garbage.”

But Evan Thies, a candidate for City Council and chairman of the environmental committee of Community Board 2, said he had been told that past attempts to sell the building had fallen through because of extensive contamination, both outside the building and inside, where there are lead paint, heavy machinery and asbestos baked onto the brick walls.

Mr. Thies said he thought the land should be devoted to housing or open space, which, he said, the neighborhood badly needs. “It is eminently possible to, in some areas, preserve the valuable history of the neighborhood,” Mr. Thies said. “But there are also some areas where you are essentially deciding between progress and waste.”


Copyright 2008 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

May 4th, 2008, 03:39 PM
^^ That is a dreadful shame, thank god we here in Jersey City are going to save and reuse ours.

November 3rd, 2009, 05:36 AM
Greenpoint Rising

Developer proposes Pelli-designed towers for North Brooklyn waterfront

Jonathan Bernstein has proposed a new condo project for the far reaches of Greenpoint designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.
Courtesy Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

When the neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint were rezoned in 2005, a parade of luxury condominium towers were expected to replace moribund factories and warehouses along the North Brooklyn waterfront. Few of those towers materialized before the collapse of the real estate market, though, and with thousands of apartments already under construction in the area—and many sitting empty—it could be years before developers renew their march to the water.
http://archpaper.com/uploads/Aerial%281%29.jpg (http://bighugelabs.com/slideshow.php?id=69345)
The towers seen from the water.




But this is New York City, where developers never cease to dream. And so, up in the far reaches of Greenpoint, first-time developer Jonathan Bernstein is plotting what would be the tallest tower on the waterfront—nearly 20 percent taller than current zoning allows—making it among the most audacious projects in the borough to date.

Located two blocks from the last G-train stop before Queens, the project is being designed by marquee firm Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. Adjacent streets would be transformed into parkland. Piers would be built to accommodate historic ships, ferries, and Water Taxi service. A new beach would offer sorely needed waterfront access. And all of these perks would help blunt community concerns about the project’s blockbuster proportions.
So far, the plan seems to be working.

“It’s a beautiful project with a hard sell,” Ward Dennis, chair of local Community Board 1’s land-use committee, said in an interview. “What the community needs to decide is where that balance is between density and open space and affordable housing. And really, that’s what all of these projects come down to.”

For a 100,000-square-foot lot on India Street currently occupied by a warehouse, Bernstein—who was once Donald Trump’s personal attorney—is proposing two muscular glass towers, one rising to 470 feet, the other to 200 feet. As with all new projects on the North Brooklyn waterfront, the towers are surrounded by a base of more contextual row buildings that rise no higher than 65 feet. And the project is not only taller than zoning allows but also bigger, containing roughly 890,000 square feet, as opposed to the 660,000 square feet potentially allowed as of right.

“We are asking for radical changes to the zoning, but we do think it’s way different than anything that’s been proposed on the waterfront,” Bernstein said during an informal presentation to the community board’s land-use committee last week. “We think it will be a gateway to Manhattan and Greenpoint.”

Bernstein has employed some clever zoning tactics to make his radical moves. Under the 2005 rezoning, the most a developer could expect to build would be two towers, one at 400 feet, the other at 300 feet. More typically, buildings top out in the range of 300 feet and 150 feet, as is the case at the Edge condominiums (http://www.flickr.com/photos/aelstein/3990806146/) further to the south. So far, no building has even reached 400 feet, though a third tower at Northside Piers (http://www.fxfowle.com/projects/residential/northside-piers.php) is planned for that height.

Even more unorthodox is Bernstein’s proposal to demap all of neighboring India Street and part of Java Street. Bernstein wants to turn these streets into parkland that connects with a larger-than-required park on the waterfront, replete with an amphitheater, sand dunes, and wetlands designed by W Architecture and Landscape Architecture. By incorporating thousands of square feet from the roadbeds into his project, Bernstein would significantly increase the project’s density, and hence the tower’s permitted height.

Bernstein said he must build big in order to afford his project, citing the expense of creating required public amenities, even arguing that zoning restrictions are one of the main reasons the waterfront remains under-developed. “We have to pay for these things,” Bernstein said. “We’re trying to create something that is good for the community and yet financially feasible.”

While the tower would be an eye-popper for such a lowrise neighborhood, it would not be the first in the area to exceed zoning restrictions. This spring, 155 West Street (http://curbed.com/archives/2008/12/05/leyva_gets_his_40_stories_in_greenpoint_no_one_obj ects.php), an Ishmael Leyva–designed project proposed for a site directly north of Bernstein’s, won approval to rise to 400 feet, instead of a permitted 300 feet.

On that site, however, a sewer easement prevented the developer from building out the entire lot. Instead of a 300-foot tower and a 150-foot tower as of right, the two were combined into a single, 400-foot tower, plus a $2 million waterfront park. Moreover, in this case the developer was simply shifting density, unlike Bernstein, who is seeking to increase it.

Bernstein has yet to seek the numerous city approvals it would take to realize the project, including permission from the city planning, transportation, and parks departments, and one of his associates emphasized that specifics could still change ahead of public review.

Bernstein said he has spoken with these agencies, though, and that they’ve expressed enthusiasm for the project. (He has even signed a contract with the city’s Economic Development Corporation to serve as the Greenpoint stop in an East River ferry service program (http://council.nyc.gov/html/releases/037_050508_Ferries.shtml).) Representatives of the agencies did confirm such meetings to AN, but said it was premature to make any judgments before a formal public review.

Elected officials, including local Assemblyman Joseph Lentol and Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman Vito Lopez, have expressed reservations. A Lopez spokesperson said that he is particularly uncomfortable with the project’s height: “He’s against anything that’s not contextual with the neighborhood, especially a 45-story tower.”

Some in the community believe this opposition is why Bernstein has come to them first, seeking their support ahead of a formal public review expected in the next few months. And despite reservations about the project, locals have been keeping an open mind, such as Christine Holowacz, co-chair of the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning. “I love the open space on the project,” Holowacz told AN. “I’m not so sure about the tall towers.”


http://curbed.com/archives/2009/11/02/introducing_the_latest_crazy_greenpoint_waterfront _plan.php

September 15th, 2010, 07:46 AM
Plan for Pier Floods Greenpoint

Local politician claims city helped developer with RFP to boost project while avoiding public review

Matt Chaban

Does the Bloomberg administration want ferries zipping back and forth across the East River so badly that it is willing to sacrifice a piece of Greenpoint waterfront to achieve it?

That is how local Councilman Steve Levin sees it. In July, the city’s Economic Development Corporation released an RFP for “a new pier structure that will allow for vessel moorage and provide local residents with safe and enjoyable access to the East River waterfront.” The pier, which will not accommodate ferries, but will possibly host recreational or education boats, is to be located at Java Street. It is adjacent to another pier already planned for India Street that will serve ferries, as had been outlined in the area's 2005 waterfront rezoning.

Levin and a handful of community groups argue that the Java Street dock serves no clear purpose except to enrich developer Jonathan Bernstein, whose property lies upland from the proposed piers. Bernstein stands to benefit from the air rights another pier would add to the two Pelli Clarke Pelli–designed luxury towers he unveiled last year (http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=4002). Furthermore, Levin argues that the Economic Development Corporation gave Bernstein’s Stiles Properties preferential treatment under the RFP, all but ensuring his company would be awarded the land.

“It’s not kosher,” said Rami Metal, a community liaison in Levin’s office. “They should just do India, but [the city] said ‘No, if we don’t do both, he won’t build either.’ They’re so afraid of losing ferry service, they’ve just given in to this guy.” Both the developer and the Economic Development Corporation declined to comment on the specifics of the RFP.

The community desperately wants ferries, given Greenpoint’s isolation—it is served only by the fickle G train—and a quick link to Wall Street and 34th Street, as has been proposed, would be welcome. The city is also eager to finally realize ferry service, as programs in the past have faltered (http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=4089). At the same time, locals have expressed exasperation at the tide of luxury housing that has washed up on their shores in the wake of the 2005 rezoning and are thus wary of any new development, particularly any that are larger than current zoning allows.

Bernstein, or any developer of his property, is already obliged to build the India Street pier, and in exchange the developer receives an air rights bonus. Add a second pier, add more air rights, which Levin’s office estimates at upwards of 40,000 square feet, effectively taking the project from a 4.7 FAR to a 5.8 FAR.

What makes the piers such a threat is that Bernstein would not actually be increasing his FAR but instead his site, by adding the land under the piers. Bernstein has already proposed a similar idea, to demap India and Java streets and turn them into parkland. This would create more open space, but it would also further expand Bernstein’s site, giving him more square feet to add to his buildings.

By gobbling up all this land that had previously been public property, Bernstein would be able to enlarge his project without pushing it over the 4.7 FAR threshold that would trigger a public review—one in which Levin and the community board would have much sway. If the city signs off on the pier and the street demapping (the latter is under the purview of the Parks Department and the Department of Transportation), Bernstein could wind up with an outsized tower without any community input.

[/URL]Further complicating the matter is Levin’s contention that a provision was made in the RFP that required any applicant to acquire permits from the Army Corps of Engineers to build the pier. According to Metal, the Economic Development Corporation helped Bernstein acquire the necessary permits prior to releasing its RFP. Not only would this show favoritism, but because the RFP's purpose is to sell the land, Bernstein could not technically have received the permits because only those already in possession of the property in question are able to apply to the Army Corps for such permits.

“They want that ferry pier so badly, they would do anything to get it,” Metal said of the Economic Development Corporation. A spokesperson for the corporation suggested that nobody but Bernstein would be interested in the project. Assuming this is true, why the need for preferential treatment? The spokesperson would not say. After the RFP closed in early August, Levin requested the city rescind it. So far no action has been taken, nor has a winner been announced.

George Fontas, a Bernstein spokesman, defended the project on the grounds that it had community support, as Greenpointers were clamoring for waterfront access. Neither he nor the city could produce any groups or individuals saying they favored the pier, though, while a number of prominent groups, such as Neighbors Allied for Good Growth and the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning, have spoken out against it. “The project hasn’t even gone through the public review process yet,” Fontas said. “It’ll be hard for anybody to see the project as a whole, and to judge it, until it does.”

Mundane as these details may seem, they have drawn intense scrutiny from the community because many feel developers have continually tried to subvert the 2005 rezoning that was painstakingly crafted. “2005 was arduous enough,” said Heather Roslund, an architect and chair of the Community Board 1 land-use committee. “Now, not one single developer wants to follow these rules.”

“This is just the next step on the ladder to insanity.”

[URL]http://www.archpaper.com/e-board_rev.asp?News_ID=4815 (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/Greenpoint_Pier_Site_Plan.jpg)

June 5th, 2012, 08:38 AM
That Pelli building and this Douglaston tower might be the peaks in the Queens/Brooklyn waterfront skyline.
I'm at least glad it's not a table top of 30 story buildings.



May 11th, 2014, 02:24 AM
Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 2007 vs. 2013

Williamsburg has experienced dramatic growth since 2007. Using Google’s new historical Google Maps Street View panoramas, users can now look at Google Street View scenes as far back as 2007. WSJ compared five Williamsburg street views from Aug. 2007 with what they looked like in Sept. 2013.

Read More: Williamsburg Photos: Now and Then (http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/2014/05/07/williamsburg-photos-now-and-then/)


Bedford Ave. & North 7th St.


The Waterfront


Kellogg's Diner


North 6th St.


Grand St.

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304431104579548030277168144?mod=WS J_article_related_interactives

May 17th, 2014, 03:25 AM
In Brooklyn, Union Avenue Gets Built Up

Brooklyn Apartments Where Factories Stood


The rental building 250N10, at North 10th Street and Union Avenue, is more than 20 percent leased.
Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

Once a desolate strip hugged by slightly forbidding warehouses, factories and garages, Union Avenue just north of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway has seen a significant transformation in recent years into the sort of glass-lined thoroughfare more typically found in trendier parts of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Three new sizable developments around Union Avenue, North 10th Street and Frost Street are adding almost 425 rental apartments and more than half a dozen new stores along Union Avenue.

A small condo project nearby at 538 Union is also in the planning stages, said David J. Maundrell III, the president of aptsandlofts.com (http://aptsandlofts.com/), which has been marketing apartments in the area.

The buildings are a natural extension of the high-rise development that took place almost a decade ago a few blocks north on Bayard Street, bordering the southern side of McCarren Park, said David A. Sigman, an executive vice president and principal of LCOR, which has developed 234 units at 250N10, a six-story glassy building at North 10th and Union.

Two seven-story glass buildings have been built at Nos. 568, foreground, and 544 Union
Avenue by Heatherwood Communities. Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

“A lot of this is drifting down from what happened originally at Bayard, kind of driven by the park, and probably helped along by the renovation of the park and the pool,” Mr. Sigman said. “That’s your anchor to the north.”

Complete with a doorman, parking, fitness center, courtyard, rooftop lounge and roof deck, 250N10 is more than 20 percent leased since rentals began in February, he said.

Across Union Avenue, two seven-story glass buildings have been built at Nos. 568 and 544 Union Avenue by Heatherwood Communities, both with courtyards, fitness centers, concierges, parking, roof decks and lounges. The building at 568 Union also has a swimming pool.

The 95-unit 568 Union has been fully leased since early 2012, and 544 Union recently rented out all of its 94 apartments. When units are available at 544 Union, studios start at $2,400 a month, one-bedroom apartments at $3,150 and two-bedrooms at $4,100, said Douglas Partrick, the owner of Heatherwood Communities.

Rents for apartments in 250N10 are currently starting at $2,600 a month for a studio, $3,400 for a one-bedroom and $4,600 for a two-bedroom, Mr. Maundrell said.

Mr. Partrick said the small five-block pocket, a manufacturing area before a 2005 rezoning in Williamsburg, was a logical location for residential development, given its proximity to the park and Williamsburg’s two L train subway stations. Mr. Maundrell said that residents could just as easily walk to the Lorimer Street station and get on the train, and even get a seat, before it jams up at Bedford Avenue during morning commutes.

The area had virtually no retail stores, so Mr. Partrick said he decided to develop about 10,800 square feet of retail space in Heatherwood’s two buildings.

“I just thought in the long run, the retail would be very complementary to the buildings in that it would provide services to the tenants, and in turn the tenants are supporting the businesses down below,” he said.

“It’s a real mix of stores for young, single professionals and families with kids,” said Nicholas Griffin, a commercial real estate broker handling the leasing with aptsandlofts.com (http://aptsandlofts.com/).

Already open is Patisserie Tomoko, a Japanese pastry shop; Lounge 568, a bar; Bitesize Pediatric Dentist; EdaMama, a children’s hair salon; and Laundry Stork, a laundry and dry-cleaning service. Leases have been signed by Souen, a macrobiotic restaurant; an organic cafe; and a day care facility, Mr. Griffin said.

He added that the retail leasing in 544 Union, the second of Heatherwood’s buildings to be developed, went quickly at $50 to $60 a square foot, as the northern part of Union Avenue, which is wide with moderate amounts of traffic, began to pick up steam as a shopping area.

“I think that will continue, and there will also be additional new retail establishments on Union north of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway,” he said. “A couple of buildings that are sort of prime for development traded hands recently, so we’ll probably see more retail there as well.”

There are few, if any, opportunities remaining for large-scale residential development along Union Avenue north of the expressway, property developers said. However, there are several apartment buildings with 100 to 200 apartments each being developed on North Eighth and North Ninth Streets about a block west of Union, Mr. Sigman said.

A residential building with almost 200 units being constructed at 88 Richardson Street, about two blocks east of Union, should also provide plenty of customers for Union Avenue’s new stores, Mr. Partrick said.

Residential and commercial development is also taking place along Union Avenue south of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, where a combination hotel-and-residential building with retail space is being constructed at 500 Metropolitan Avenue, along with another hotel and a 33-unit rental building leasing at 281 Union Avenue, Mr. Maundrell said.

Starbucks has also been advertising job listings for a store to open at 405-409 Union Avenue, in a rental building constructed several years ago.

The area south of the expressway has always had a different feel to it from the formerly industrial pocket to the north, which has seen the more visible transformation, said Mr. Maundrell, who grew up nearby and walked Union Avenue on a daily basis as a child.

“There were always more people down south of the expressway, more retail, more life to the area,” he said. “The north side was never really threatening, but it was a little barren.”


May 17th, 2014, 02:06 PM
Completely disgusting.

September 26th, 2014, 01:27 AM
Weird, Cantilevering Office Building Headed to Williamsburg

by Jeremiah Budin

http://cdn.cstatic.net/gridnailer/500x/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54244f71f92ea14557015986/wythea.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54244f71f92ea14557015986/wythea.jpg)
Rendering by Cycle Cities

Developer Cayuga Capital Management and architect Cycle Cities are bringing the rare office building to Williamsburg, and they're really just going for it, with a design that looks like it may have been inspired by a haphazard stack of binders. Which, somehow, might not actually be a bad thing. NY YIMBY has the renderings (http://newyorkyimby.com/2014/09/new-look-87-wythe-avenue.html), and an explanation from architect Tony Daniels, who writes, "We set out to design a building that was distinct from the kind of 'faux-factory' aesthetic that has characterized some recent Williamsburg development." The building, at 87 Wythe Avenue, will be 12 stories with retail on the lower levels and offices above, and the cantilevering design will allow for outdoor terrace space on each floor. 87 Wythe will join Two Trees's Domino project in being part of Williamsburg's new class of fancy office buildings.

http://cdn.cstatic.net/gridnailer/500x/http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54244f72f92ea14557015989/wytheb.jpg (http://cdn.cstatic.net/images/gridfs/54244f72f92ea14557015989/wytheb.jpg)

New Look: Williamsburg's Futuristic 87 Wythe Avenue (http://newyorkyimby.com/2014/09/new-look-87-wythe-avenue.html) [NY YIMBY]

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/09/25/weird_cantilevering_office_building_headed_to_will iamsburg.php#comment-1684366

September 26th, 2014, 07:22 PM
In my opinion, a building need be only 'interesting looking' and, not necessarily 'artful looking' - but artful is definitely preferable. THIS building is definitely interesting - even delightful - looking: so I really like the architectural design of this new building.

I also like that new zig-zag exposed staircase building at the uptown Columbia U campus: those two 'interesting looking' buildings have a lot in common.

P.S. I am glad to see the person who did the architectural rendering included the obligatory flock of birds flying overhead: always fun to see that bit of whimsy in the rendering.

September 26th, 2014, 09:34 PM
I wonder if it's just me, but when I walk in Williamsburg I get a sense of the freedom I have when I walk in LA (yes, when you don't drive, you do end up doing that there). There will be a not-great low-rise new condo building that reminds you of something south of the Inn'n'Out burger on Sunset, there will be a stretch that makes me think of the still forbidding and grim blocks between Hollywood and the 101, there will be something kind of crazy, new probably that wasn't there the last time, and none of it really seems to fit together. But in the way that I can like that, I'm kind of liking Williamsburg as it morphs. Miss the West Hollywood bougainvillea though.