85 Adams Street
23 stories 314 feet
77 units 115,424 Sq. Ft.
Under Construction 2004-Summer 2006
Project Name: 85 Adams Street
Address: 85 Adams Street
Project Objective: Located almost directly beneath the Manhattan Bridge , this ideal corner assemblage will soon become the site of a new 10-story luxury residential development. Surrounded by improved neighborhood buildings, this is one of the last available redevelopment sites in DUMBO. The project is a parcel of three lots, located three blocks from the waterfront redevelopment, the Empire Stores, and several other A.I. & Boymelgreen projects. It is an excellent opportunity to revitalize the community and provide additional housing in the area.
Total Buildout sf: 100,000
New Construction sf: 100,000
Parking: 1 level below grade
Residential sf: 100,000
Transportation: Direct driving access exists from the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges with additional access via the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Ferry transportation between DUMBO and Manhattan is a three-minute walk from the development site. Five (5) subway lines are conveniently located within walking distance, to include the A,C,F,2, and 3 trains.
Approximate Completion: 3/2005
Condos Break Sound Barrier
By MOTOKO RICH
Published: February 17, 2005
THE challenge to the developers of Beacon Towers, a high-rise going up just steps from the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn, was apparent one morning last week as Denis R. Milsom, an expert in noise control, strained to be heard above the din of a subway train rumbling over the bridge. "Clearly, if they want to sell this as a luxury building," he said in the construction office a block from the site, "having this kind of noise pass by every two or three minutes would be objectionable."
The developer, Leviev Boymelgreen, is marketing Beacon Tower as an oasis of "Zenlike calm," despite a location that evokes not an oasis but that scene in "Annie Hall" in which a young Alvy Singer sits at a rattling kitchen table beneath the Coney Island roller coaster.
When Mr. Milsom, a partner in Shen Milsom & Wilke, measured the noise at the site, it came in at 96 decibels - about the same as a crowded bar with a D.J. spinning hip-hop discs. To mitigate the din, and to help sell the condos, some of which will cost more than $2 million, Mr. Milsom recommended sound-muffling windows from a company that makes them for airport terminals. The architects, Cetra/Ruddy, meanwhile altered the blueprints, converting the original squat eight stories into a slender 23-story tower, so that many of its 79 units will simply try to rise above the noise.
As developers in hectic real estate markets like New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco run out of land, new condominiums and rental apartments are going up in some earsplitting places: near bridges, freeway ramps, rail lines and bus terminals. Also multiplying are specialized soundproofing windows and creative designs to limit the exposure of residents to the racket. "Because development opportunities for new construction are so hard to come by, the sites you tend to come by have some challenge," said Sara Mirski, the director of development at Boymelgreen.
In San Francisco, Charles Salter, an acoustical engineer, said his firm was handling about four times as many projects involving sound problems in residential developments as it did five years ago. He regularly recommends that developers install laminated glass and extra layers of gypsum board in the walls to insulate condos from outside noise.
In Chicago, Brian Homans, the president of Shiner & Associates, acoustics consultants, said so many suburbanites are clamoring to move downtown that developers are seizing orphan properties abutting elevated subway lines and commuter rail depots. "A majority of our jobs focus on noise from trains," Mr. Homans said.
He recommended triple-glazed windows for a 37-story tower known as the Residences at RiverBend, because its west facade overlooks the nexus of several elevated subway and commuter train lines. The original developer, Bejco Development Corporation, now defunct, rejected the suggestion as too costly, said Carl Moskus, the building's architect, but the design helped reduce noise: a five-foot-wide hallway along the west facade provides a kind of buffer between residents and trains.
Stephen Pokorny, 60, a lawyer who bought a condo on the 29th floor, said he rarely hears them. Having moved into the city to cut short a 29-mile commute from the suburbs, he added, "I was not overly critical about the noise."
Indeed, city dwellers must accept a certain level of noise, and many take fire engines, police sirens and honking horns as a given. But when developers choose unusually loud sites next to train tracks or freeway ramps, some buyers can expect a break. "The general principle is that if you don't properly mitigate the noise problem, you will have to offer your apartments at a discount," said Jay Schippers, the head of the development division of the Corcoran Group in Brooklyn. But, he added, "if a developer properly solves the sound problem, then there will be no discount."
On noisy sites, one of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to get fresh air into apartments without opening the windows. At 301 Mission Street in San Francisco, a 60-story condo tower rising next to a bus terminal, a window wall will have two panes, one slightly thicker than the conventional quarter-inch, with half an inch between them to block the sound of buses. Special vents will bring in air through tiny holes in the mullions that anchor the windows to the building, said Glenn Rescalvo, one of its architects.
Some developers make noise control part of the pitch. When the sales office opens next month for the Beacon Tower condo in the Dumbo neighborhood (for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) in Brooklyn, buyers will be able to inspect a sample window: two half-inch-thick panes sandwiching eight inches of sound-deadening air. They will also be able to experience the difference between the noise with standard windows and the custom windows, by clamping on headsets and listening to a recording.
Mr. Milsom, the acoustics consultant, said the custom windows would reduce decibels to 40 inside from 96 outside, below the New York City zoning code maximum of 45 decibels, equivalent to a quiet conversation.
Eliot Locitzer, the construction manager, said the cost of installing the soundproofing windows was roughly double the cost for conventional windows. Mr. Schippers, who will be marketing the building at Corcoran, said there would be no discount on the prices, which will start around $400,000 for one-bedrooms, in part because of the views of Manhattan, but also because "there is no longer a noise problem."
Other developers prefer to sidestep the issue entirely. Brochures promoting the Arches, a new condo in a converted church in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, did not mention the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway around the corner. Lester Petracca, the owner of Triangle Equities, the lead developer of the Arches, said he did not see the point of advertising that fact. "People come and look at the surrounding area and look at whatever positives or negatives are there and decide whether they want to live there or not," he said.
The building has double-glazed windows, which are required by the New York State energy code for all new developments. Francis Lu, 31, a software developer who moved in this month, said they block out the traffic noise.
Homeowners in noisy neighborhoods are also beginning to seek help from the experts. Mr. Salter, in San Francisco, recently heard from the owner of an 1889 Victorian besieged by garbage trucks and other urban noisemakers in the expensive Pacific Heights neighborhood. Mr. Salter advised the owner, Dr. Roger Wu, a child psychiatrist, to install laminated glass windows, three-eighths of an inch thick, which will require rebuilding the historic window frames at a cost of more than $3,000 each. "Call me in about six months and ask me how it works," Dr. Wu said.
Noise pollution can be compounded when space-hungry developers build condos atop commercial property like hotels and restaurants. To insulate residents from experimental electronic music the developer of a condo above Dance Theater Workshop of New York on West 19th Street put down 10 inches of concrete between the third floor rehearsal studio and the condos, instead of the usual seven and a half inches, said Ed Rawlings, the project's architect. To further deaden the sound, he said, four layers of gypsum board and shock absorbers were suspended from the concrete slab into the rehearsal studio.
Amie Deutch, who lives in a unit just above the studio with her husband and 21-month-old son, said, "On a rare occasion, if they're rehearsing a dance routine where everybody jumps at the same time, you get a little bit of a vibration."
She added, "Otherwise, it's the most soundproof apartment I've ever lived in, in the city."