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Thread: Williamsburg and Greenpoint Redevelopment Plan

  1. #31


    I think Water Taxi service has recently begun

  2. #32
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Manhattan - UWS


    Billburg Condo Plan Dealt a Blow

    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.

  3. #33


    Green light for park as plant plan dies

    Friday, March 21st 2008, 4:00 AM

    A planned 28-acre park on the Greenpoint-Williamsburg 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 Inlet Park possible.

    "Finally, we can move on and [build] a world-class park," said 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).

    But TransGas' lawyer 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.

  4. #34


    When Spring Cleaning Includes a Power Plant

    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.

    Archive 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 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 The New York Times Company

  5. #35
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Jersey City


    ^^ That is a dreadful shame, thank god we here in Jersey City are going to save and reuse ours.

  6. #36
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    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.

    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 further to the south. So far, no building has even reached 400 feet, though a third tower at Northside Piers 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, 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.) 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.”

  7. #37
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    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. 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. 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.

    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.”

  8. #38


    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.


  9. #39
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    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

    Bedford Ave. & North 7th St.

    The Waterfront

    Kellogg's Diner

    North 6th St.

    Grand St.

  10. #40
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    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, 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

    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.”

  11. #41


    Completely disgusting.

  12. #42
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    Weird, Cantilevering Office Building Headed to Williamsburg

    by Jeremiah Budin

    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, 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.

    New Look: Williamsburg's Futuristic 87 Wythe Avenue [NY YIMBY]

  13. #43


    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.
    Last edited by infoshare; September 26th, 2014 at 10:28 PM.

  14. #44
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    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.

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