Fear of YouTube
Ignoramous Power Trippers Revealed!
An Area on the Brooklyn Waterfront, Growing in a Family Way
By ALISON GREGOR
Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park is drawing people to the Columbia Street Waterfront District.
In the beginning of October about half of the 42 condo units at Columbia Commons were under contract.
NEW YORKERS have been rediscovering a small neighborhood in Brooklyn called the Columbia Street Waterfront District — and so have the real estate developers.
The opening of Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park last spring, and the recent completion of a bicycle and pedestrian pathway along Columbia Street, part of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway that will link north and south Brooklyn, have drawn visitors to the waterfront.
There, home buyers and renters will find a mix of row houses, urban renewal buildings, and a growing stock of new and recently developed condominiums.
A slice of about two dozen square blocks, cut off from the rest of the borough by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, the Columbia waterfront has been seen as an up-and-coming neighborhood. But development has come in fits and starts because of its location, the forbidding warehouses and piers that block harbor access, and a lack of subway lines.
“This particular location — we’ve liked it since Day 1,” said Louis V. Greco, the general manager of the development company SDS, which bought two parcels in the neighborhood in 2008. “That’s because of the views of Lower Manhattan, obviously, and there’s just so much going on down there now.”
In late September, SDS began marketing a development with 37 condominiums on one of those parcels, called 100 Congress. Because of the recession’s pressure, the developer had planned to sell the other parcel, at the corner of Columbia and Warren Streets, but recently decided not to.
“There’s a market out there again,” he said. The second develocommonpment will have only 12 apartments, and all but one will be three-bedrooms. Mr. Greco said the interest thus far in 100 Congress, where nearly half the units are three-bedrooms, has been from families. Other real estate agents in the Columbia waterfront area said they too had noticed its growing appeal to young families. Almost the entire neighborhood falls into the zones for Public Schools 29 and 58, which are both highly regarded. There are also organizations that offer children’s programs, along with a series of small parks and playgrounds, including the popular one at Pier 6, which has 1.6 acres of play areas and a “water lab.”
“When my family first moved to the area in 2005, there was a big kind of hipster element to it,” said Tina Fallon, an agent with the brokerage Realty Collective, whose office is on Columbia Street. “What we’re seeing now is an increasing number of people who are interested in what are called family-size apartments.”
One Brooklyn Bridge Park, a 449-unit condominium complex just north of the district, has also helped raise the profile of the area, particularly by helping to subsidize park construction.
Frank Galeano, a local real estate broker, built a small development with three apartments at 82 Union Street a year ago and units rented quickly, he said. “The market is back quite a bit,” Mr. Galeano said, estimating that a two-bedroom apartment rents on average for about $2,200 a month. “It’s not quite the level it was before the recession, but we’re seeing a lot of activity.”
Along with 100 Congress, several other projects are coming to fruition. Columbia Commons, at 110 Warren Street, is the largest, with 42 condos, and in the beginning of October, after four months on the market, about half its units were under contract, according to Halstead Property Development Marketing, which is handling the listing. Prices for the remaining apartments ranged from $420,000 to $685,000 for one- and two-bedrooms; the remaining three-bedroom is listed for $935,000.
One of the most prolific Columbia waterfront developers, Marshall Sohne, pulled his plans for a 10-story tower at 211-213 Columbia Street and instead plans to build eight experimental green condominiums and four mews houses. While he was prepared to finance the project himself, he said, bankers showed unexpected faith in the market. “We’re going to get bank financing, which I’m surprised at,” Mr. Sohne said.
Another developer, Barrett Design and Development, is converting a former macaroni factory at 25 Carroll Street into 17 condominiums, and principals are confident enough in the market to sell from plans, with only one model unit, said Lindsay Barton Barrett, a broker at the Corcoran Group.
Ms. Barrett said that Barrett Design, founded by her husband, Alex, has completed five other developments, all of them in the Carroll Gardens neighborhood from which the Columbia waterfront was sliced. Since June 2009, “the market’s been very strong” in Carroll Gardens, Ms. Barrett said. “It just largely has been a function of there being very little supply.”
Ms. Barrett said that she hoped market strength would extend to the Columbia waterfront, where prices historically have been lower — in recent years, about 20 percent — and that 25 Carroll Street would be priced accordingly.
Mr. Greco says price difference is minimized when a development is on a street like Congress that crosses over the expressway. At 100 Congress, SDS did ultimately decide to develop less-expensive three-bedroom apartments than first envisioned in 2008, but prices are still comparable to similar properties in Cobble Hill, Mr. Greco said.
One-bedrooms range from $350,000 to $390,000; two-bedrooms, $620,000 to $750,000; the range for three-bedrooms is $825,000 to $925,000; and there is one penthouse for $1.5 million, he said.
Ms. Fallon says one of the biggest changes she’s noticed is that she no longer has to sell the neighborhood to buyers as a low-cost alternative to Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill.
“We’re seeing people in our real estate work who say, ‘I want to be on this side of the B.Q.E.,’ ” Ms. Fallon said.
Brooklyn Great Pyramid Proposed on Top of Tobacco Warehouse
November 17, 2010, by Joey Arak
The St. Ann's plan
Not everything will be covered.
Think New York has had its fill of pyramid schemes lately? Think again! Prospect Heights-based theater/dance/acrobat troupe LAVA wants to be the group selected to take over Dumbo's Tobacco Warehouse, and the newly unveiled plan includes building a pyramid inside the roof-less waterfront 19th century landmark. But LAVA has a competitor, and that's St. Ann's Warehouse, the theater group/performance space about to lose its Dumbo home due to the construction of Two Trees's Dock Street condo building. St. Ann's H3-designed plan was just revealed as well, and the controversy surrounding the Tobacco Warehouse is so stressful, we could really go for a Camel Williamsburg.
The Tobacco Warehouse is being absorbed into Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the brick building's future has been one of the park's hot topics. Currently used as occasional event space, the Tobacco Warehouse has been eyed for a conversion to a year-round arts venue, which has neighborhood activists mad for several reasons. Some shudder at the additional crowds and the prospect of the crumbling old ruin getting a roof put over its head. Pretty much everyone agrees that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation's selection process has been rushed and non-transparent.
There was a public meeting on Monday where complaints about these issues nearly took center stage. (Brooklyn Heights Blog has a great recap.) We say "nearly" because the two major proposals, from LAVA and St. Ann's, were revealed, and holy smokes, look at these things! Both plans call for leaving parts of the building uncovered, but otherwise they're pretty different, not to mention that one has a friggin' pyramid. (The renderings in the above gallery were yanked from the community presentation PDF.) It's expected that St. Ann's will win conditional designation, maybe as soon as today, much to the chagrin of former Partridge Family star Susan Dey, who showed up to campaign on LAVA's behalf. David Cassidy could not be reached for comment.
The Tobacco Warehouse's renovation and conversion is expected to be finished by spring of 2013, but given the continued controversy—like why the Request for Proposals was "only" sent out to 1,400 organizations—not to mention Brooklyn Bride Park's loose interpretation of deadlines, that may need to be pushed back a bit.
Tobacco Warehouse Meeting Marked by Controversy [BHB]
Tobacco Warehouse Plan To Be Chosen Soon [Brooklyn Eagle]
Partridge Family star’s feathers ruffled over city’s handling of Tobacco Warehouse bid [NYP]
That LAVA proposal doesn't stand a chance in hell of being approved.
The Tobacco Inspection Warehouse is part of the Fulton Ferry Historic District, designated as a protected site by the NYC LPC in 1977, so any alterations here (including protruding pyramids) will have to be approved by the LPC.
FULTON FERRY HISTORIC DISTRICT DESIGNATION REPORT [pdf]
Pedestrian bridge approved to connect Squibb Park with Brooklyn Bridge Park.
Honchos overseeing Brooklyn Bridge Park yesterday hired an architect to design a long-awaited pedestrian bridge over Furman Street to connect the park’s Pier 1 with nearby Squibb Park.
The city’s Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. approved a $445,148 contract with HNTB New York Engineering & Architecture, which has extensive experience in designing and the engineering of pedestrian bridges.
Construction on the $4 million bridge is set to begin next summer and possibly be complete in 2012. It is being paid for with capital funds secured by Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilman Steve Levin.
This pedestrian bridge will connect Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 1 to the western edge of Squibb Park off Middagh Street, allowing easier access from Brooklyn Heights and the A/C and 2/3 subway stations to Pier 1’s pathways and main promenade.
Regina Myer, president of park’s development corporation, said “the awarding of the Squibb Park-[Brooklyn] Bridge Park contract is the final stage in realizing this vital amenity, further connecting [Brooklyn Bridge Park] to its adjoining communities and local transit.”
I'm glad someone came to his senses. This is a no-brainer. Squibb Park is at the right height for a bridge.
Brooklyn Pyramid Scheme Toppled at Dumbo's Tobacco Warehouse
November 18, 2010, by Joey Arak
Egypt's Great Pyramid has been around for over 4,500 years. Brooklyn's Great Pyramid never even get off the ground. As expected, the powers-that-be at Brooklyn Bridge Park have awarded conditional approval to the St. Ann's Warehouse troupe to (controversially!) redevelop the landmark Tobacco Warehouse into a year-round performing arts venue. That means the rival proposal by dance/acrobat group LAVA, a design that included dropping a golden pyramid into the topless 19th-century building, is dunzo.
St. Ann’s Warehouse to restore Tobacco Warehouse [Brooklyn Paper]
It is also impractical (space usage), prone to deterioration and leakage.
It takes real talent to take a traditional space and add something that does not shock you, but forces you to look twice because something is intriguingly different about it.
A pyramid is like putting a red clown nose on a the Mona Lisa.......
Brooklyn Bridge Park Getting a Restaurant With a View
November 30, 2010, by Joey Arak
It seems like every week we turn around to discover a shiny new toy coming to Brooklyn Bridge Park. This time around it's a new restaurant at Pier 6, the section of the park at the end of Atlantic Avenue with the great playgrounds and possible encroaching development. Officials have begun soliciting bids for the full-service restaurant with hopes for a Fall 2011 opening, the Post's Rich Calder reports. There will be a 2,000-square-foot indoor section and an outdoor terrace that will be perfect for raising a glass to the Manhattan skyline, or in salute of a nice set shot on the beach volleyball court.
Pier 6 restaurant set to open next fall [NYP]
Housing in the park continues to look likely
By The Politicrasher
December 4th, 2010
Mayor Bloomberg says that housing will have to be built inside Brooklyn Bridge Park,
but opponents say that the Jehovah's Witness building (adjacent to Pier 1 above)
should be bought by the city and turned into a hotel.
The plan to build luxury housing inside Brooklyn Bridge Park is like the weather — everyone complains about it, but no one does anything about it.
That was the unmistakable conclusion after sitting through the first meeting of the park’s Committee on Alternatives to Housing — which is charged with, as its name suggests, finding a way to alter the current plan to erect revenue-generating residences on Pier 6 and John Street inside the city-controlled, $350-million park.
That housing plan would erect 20- and 30-story luxury condo towers to raise enough money to fund the “world-class” park’s massive $16-million annual maintenance budget.
full story (Brooklyn Paper)
St. Ann's Swaps Warehouses
Theater group plans for new home in the shell of an abandoned tobacco warehouse
A rendering shows planned changes to the tobacco warehouse on Water Street.
From top: An open-air courtyard cafe provides views of the Brooklyn Bridge;
exterior view of the warehouse's roman arches; an interior rendering of performance space;
and current conditions at the tobacco warehouse.
When developer David Walentas began planning a 17-story building for the site of their current location, performing arts center St. Ann’s Warehouse knew it was time for a new home. The indie theater company set its sights on the abandoned Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park. And on November 17, they got their wish. With just two proposals to choose from, board members of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation chose St. Ann’s’ design by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture over a bright yellow pyramid by Lava, the trapeze group. But a hastily convened neighborhood meeting drew calls not to touch the beloved ruin at all. At a follow-up board meeting, several complained the vote appeared to be a mere formality, and the selection of St. Ann’s a forgone conclusion. Board member Paul Nelson said the RFP process lacked transparency; others said they had only learned of the proposals 48 hours before. “The RFP must include a public review,” said Nelson.
“We’re being asked to give away a property for free.”
From inside the roofless factory, a series of Roman redbrick arches frame the bridge’s gothic span. Suggestions called for the building to remain frozen in a state of preserved decay, but board member Henry Gutman said several ruins are already preserved in the park, including the piles of one pier and a remnant of a railroad transfer bridge.
The challenge then for St. Ann’s architect Geoff Lynch of H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture was to keep the shell’s stand-alone integrity and maintain an interplay with the bridge while providing shelter for the theater. “The structural approach is critical,” he said. “We’re basically building a free-standing building inside.”
An angled wall of the building’s original four follows the bridge span. The proposal breaks that space into two sections. A new rectangular building sits inside the ruin and meets three of the original corners, leaving a triangular courtyard café open to the sky and bridge views. Park visitors can enter the courtyard through the original arches. Two interior spaces include a large performance space on Water Street and an indoor bar/café facing the riverbank. The bar maintains the large arches and river view, though enclosed in glass. St. Ann’s hopes to occupy the updated space by 2013.