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Thread: DUMBO Development

  1. #196
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    Landmarks doesn't make decisions on upzoning. The Department of City Planning does.

  2. #197
    Kings County Loyal BrooklynLove's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Brooklyn, planet Earth


    ok, well are the 2 agencies then reaching their respective decisions in tandem? it seemed as if the 2 issues were linked when dumbo landmarking was discussed in front of the commisssion a few months back.

  3. #198
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    I can see Stuy Town



  4. #199


    Someone recently added what looks like a glass walled enclosure on top of the Clocktower building.

    I'll try to post a photo of it.

  5. #200


    Here it is.

    I think the building used to have a flagpole on top.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #201
    Kings County Loyal BrooklynLove's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Brooklyn, planet Earth

    Default 10 Jay Street

    this building is right on the waterfront, east side of jay street. how this could pass given the building's max FAR and location inside the dumbo historic district is beyond my comprehension

  7. #202
    Kings County Loyal BrooklynLove's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Brooklyn, planet Earth


    ^ by the way, just noticed the older rendering linked earlier in this thread. now THAT is a fugly design. man.
    Last edited by BrooklynLove; January 23rd, 2008 at 09:13 PM. Reason: add link to post

  8. #203

  9. #204


    That is one uuuugly building.

    I visited Empire State Fulton Ferry Park (or whatever its called) for the first time the other day and its a beautiful little park with some spectacular views.

    I was hoping someone might have some news as to what the city is planning to do with those beautiful civil war era warehouses that bound the park, Fron street I think.

    In their "ruined" state I think they're great (or at least the smaller of the two is) they should take steps to make it more accessible to the public, I thought maybe a garden in the open space would be nice. I dont know; I'm just afraid they'll come down or something or simply rot away.

    Does the city have any plans to develop them to make them more useful, maybe some light retail or perhaps food (while preserving the historic character) ?

    Even the big metal shudders on the arched windows are beautiful, I'd hate to see anything happen to these buildings.

  10. #205


    Yes, the Empire Stores will be rebuilt as a marketplace, but there are delays attributed to financing issues.

  11. #206


    85 Jay project had been so quiet lately, I was wondering if it had been canceled.


    Jehovah's Witnesses Volunteers Try Their Hands At City Park

    The Watchtower Bible Tract Society, one of the Jehovah's Witnesses' legal entities, is nearing the design phase for Bridge Park 2 in Dumbo, a two-acre, city-owned park the Society agreed to restore in exchange for favorable zoning at 85 Jay Street. Back in 2004, the city approved a zoning variance for the Society to build on its large parking lot an 800,000-square-foot building with a 1,600-seat cafeteria, 2,500-seat assembly hall, 1,100-space public parking garage and 1,000 apartments. Of course that was before the Society began divesting its Brooklyn properties, so far selling nearly 300 apartments in four buildings and 360 Furman Street (now One Brooklyn Bridge Park) for a total of $195.1 million, according to city property records. Another 263 apartments in six buildings are on the market, including the Hotel Bossert, which one broker predicted would sell for at least $100 million.

    Tucker Reed, head of the Dumbo Business Improvement District, was at a "listening session" held last week to solicit ideas for the new park. He said the Parks Department and Society have taken this long to reach an agreement on park construction. The Parks Department is used to getting a check from developers; the Jehovah's Witnesses do everything possible in-house through their world-wide network of volunteers. "We're an all-volunteer organization and we function on funds that are voluntarily donated by people, and so we want to make the best use of our resources," said Watchtower spokesman Richard Devine. Volunteers would do everything from designing to constructing the park, he said, sometimes flying in "from all over the country" if someone local doesn't have the expertise for the job. And since they believe in the Doctrine of Cleanliness, at least we know it will look perfect.

    The proposed renovations in the original agreement included rehabilitation of a baseball field with artificial turf, an existing playground, seating area, landscaping and reopening the comfort station. "I think the community is looking at this to be a more active park than the Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is more walking and sitting and beautiful scenery," said Devine.

    So does that mean the Watchtower Society is going to get started on its massive four-tower building? "We're not going to move forward in the near future but I wouldn't say we're never going to build," said Devine. Brooklyn Heights will still be the Jehovah's Witnesses' world headquarters as the hub of its editorial and administrative staff, he said. But, as has been well-reported, the Society moved its printing and shipping operations upstate and overseas, along with many of its support services (The headquarters is nearly a self-sustaining society. Volunteers support each other by proving everything from cleaning, cooking, laundry, window washing, electrical work and drape making). Devine said after they sold 360 Furman, they stopped making their own ink for the millions of publications and bibles they print in several languages. "We are consolidating quite a bit. In fact, the rezoning of 85 Jay really gave us the confidence to go ahead and move forward with consolidation," he said.

    The only thing is, if 85 Jay Street is built as planned, with nearly double the apartments sold or on the market, the Society would be expanding its operations in the Heights, not consolidating, unless it sells off nearly all of its remaining residential properties. But alas, that's all we get for now from Devine, who must also believe in the Doctrine of Suspense. As usual, never a dull moment over at the Watchtower!

  12. #207


    Brooklyn Eagle

    Street Renovation Called Urgent At DUMBO Group’s Meeting

    Plans for Greenway Also Discussed

    DUMBO — With the backdrop of a newly reopened Manhattan Bridge archway, and with the person responsible for that achievement receiving an award, the Dumbo Improvement District held its annual meeting Tuesday evening, Sept. 9, at the stunning new Galapagos Art Space.

    On Monday, city Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan officially reopened the 46-foot-wide archway, which had been closed and which had divided two parts of DUMBO for 17 years. It will be completely renovated and re-lighted. Also, the original cobblestones will be dug up and put back into place for pedestrian use only.

    As can be seen in the photograph accompanying this report, the archway was intended for use and designed elegantly. It was not designed to be just a tunnel, and it won’t be that again. The archway has also been called the Water Street tunnel because that is the street closest to it.

    (All the DUMBO streets were there long before both the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges were built.)

    The reopened archway figures prominently in a proposed “greenway,” or bicycling and walking path, from the F train station on York Street to an eastern part of Brooklyn Bridge Park near Adams and Plymouth streets.
    The greenway would go up Jay Street, turn left onto Front Street, go up Anchorage Street to the archway and then right on Adams Street to the park. This is not part of the overall park plan and would therefore have to be funded by the city.

    One of the early accomplishments of new Dumbo Improvement District (DID) Executive Director Kate Kerrigan is an agreement by the city to completely overhaul two main DUMBO streets that were in horrible condition — Washington Street from York to Plymouth, and Water Street from Fulton to Adams. The work will include the rehabilitation of sewers and water mains, both of them very old and inadequate, and the installation of Belgian block roadbeds.

    Street conditions have been an open sore in a community that has seen vast and swift change. In a recent survey, 86 percent of area residents and business owners cite street conditions as a major concern.
    (Also joining in the chorus are Manhattan-based taxi drivers who have had to become familiar with a new area of Brooklyn. As one put it to this correspondent, “This ain’t the River Cafe.”)

    But the good news about two streets is outweighed by the existing bad news: Nearly 500,000 square feet of historic streetscapes are in danger of being lost if they are not rehabilitated in the immediate future.

    The actual business part of the annual meeting was a no-nonsense affair with an informative treasurer’s report (alas, not as humorous as comedian Robert Benchley’s famous treasurer report). (The annual operating budget for the DID is about $550,000.)
    The DID has instituted the “Magic Feather Awards.” This year’s recipients were Robert Elmes of the Galapagos Art Space, Sanjay Mody of the Dumbo Neighborhood Association, Jan Larsen of Jan Larsen Art; and two public officials — David Burney, commissioner of the city Department of Design and Construction, and the aforementioned Sadik-Kahn.

  13. #208


    NY Post



    When you think of Brooklyn's toniest residential areas, you might imagine brownstones set back on tree-lined streets, charming corner bistros, fancy food shops and strollers galore.

    But the priciest Brooklyn neighborhood is more industrial buildings than brownstones, more artists' spaces than amenities, more skinny jeans than sweater sets (though you might get run over by a Maclaren pram).

    We're not talking about Williamsburg, all you "Gossip Girl" fans. We're speaking of DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), a slice of waterfront wedged between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.

    In the last decade, DUMBO has grown from a haven for starving artists into Brooklyn's most expensive neighborhood - where the average price per square foot in the second quarter of 2008 was $917, according to the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). (Compare that to Brooklyn Heights at $834 and Park Slope at $801.)
    Craig Burd moved to DUMBO in 1998 as the neighborhood began its ascent. At the time, there was no grocery store, no drugstore, no dry cleaners, nothing.

    "You had to go to Brooklyn Heights to do anything," says Burd. "Where the park is now was a truck yard with junkyard dogs that barked at, like, 3 a.m."

    But the area's dearth of services did nothing to shake Burd's belief in its upward trajectory. He was confident that it was only a matter of time before the neighborhood, largely owned by developers David and Jed Walentas, was abuzz with people and things to do.

    Burd's gamble was a good one. The Walentas father-and-son team, who run Two Trees Management, have since transformed the area.

    Five years after Burd spent $260,000 on that first 1,260-square-foot apartment at 1 Main St., he turned around and sold it for $895,000. The next apartment he purchased, down the street in 30 Main St., cost $520,000; four years later, he sold it for $885,000. Now he lives in 70 Washington St. with his pregnant wife and 3-year-old son, in a two-bedroom condo that he bought for $1.295 million in 2006. All of these are Two Trees buildings.

    Burd's real-estate success has helped both his bank account and his career. When he moved to DUMBO, he was a self-described blue-collar worker. His good fortune allowed him to start a video-production company, which he co-owns.

    So how high has DUMBO risen? According to REBNY, the price per square foot climbed 25 percent over second quarter of 2007. The pricing is partially driven by the fact that DUMBO is a neighborhood with no walkup co-ops; instead it is filled with luxury condo conversions. But the sales figures still impress.

    And the area could climb even higher. According to Asher Abehsera, president of developer Two Trees' leasing department, his company just turned down an offer of $20 million for the 6,500-square-foot 1 Main clocktower penthouse, sight unseen.

    Rents in the neighborhood aren't cheap, either. According to Abehsera, they range from about $2,800 for the least expensive one-bedroom apartment up to $8,000 for the most expensive three-bedroom.

    DUMBO's draw is manifold. Visiting the area is like stepping back in time.

    Sections of obsolete train track, which once carted raw materials from the water inland, push up through narrow cobblestone streets. Looming brick warehouses give way to views of the Brooklyn Bridge. And, whether you're at DUMBO's waterfront parks or just peering out a window, Manhattan plays backdrop to it all - stretched out just beyond the water, so close and yet totally removed.

    It's that proximity, plus an abundance of space, that have made the area something of an event mecca, with weddings, art fairs and concerts. Next Friday, DUMBO will play host to the New York City Wine & Food Festival's Rachael Ray-hosted Burger Bash.

    "DUMBO has an incredibly important role in the borough's broader real estate picture," says Joe Chan, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and a former DUMBO resident. "It's got amazing cachet both as a residential community and as a center for the arts that draws a lot of people to the borough who would not be inclined to come otherwise."
    Lee Brian Schrager, founding director of the New York City Wine & Food Festival, initially balked at the idea of hosting Burger Bash in Brooklyn.

    "I said, 'I'm not going to go all the way out there,' " he admits.

    But after months of searching for a suitable venue, he visited DUMBO.

    "I kicked myself. This was the exact venue I'd been looking for," he says of the Tobacco Warehouse, a 25,000-square-foot outdoor event space that was formerly a tobacco customs inspection center. "It was minutes away [from Manhattan]; it overlooked the city and the water."

    As happening as DUMBO is, it can also be completely unassuming. Its restaurants and boutiques don't scream out to be noticed, but instead sit on nearly vacant blocks patiently awaiting those in the know. And though DUMBO has gourmet-food shops and a mom-and-pop drugstore, there isn't a Key Food or Duane Reade in sight.

    "Sure, a big grocery store would be nice, but we function very well with FreshDirect," says Anthony Katagas, a filmmaker who's lived in DUMBO with his wife and three children for nearly three years. "And I couldn't imagine what it would be like if there were a Whole Foods and all those trucks would have to go wheeling down those streets every day."

    Despite DUMBO's relative lack of amenities compared to, say, nearby Brooklyn Heights, the area has become a destination for families.

    "One of my favorite things about the neighborhood is the kids and young parents," Katagas says. "It's so densely populated with little people . . . you're lucky not to get hit by a stroller."

    But DUMBO, with its industrial aesthetic and low-key lifestyle, didn't evolve naturally. It was carefully planned.

    David Walentas began investing in the neighborhood in the '70s; he opened 1 Main, the area's first major residential conversion, in 1998. Since then, Two Trees has slowly continued to convert historic buildings into residences, ever careful to preserve their character.

    And unlike many developers, the Walentas family is extremely picky about tenants, preferring to give preferential rent to mom-and-pop shops and local chefs than to fill spaces with big-box stores and chain restaurants.

    It isn't uncommon for them to give a local storefront to a working artist (rent-free) until a suitable tentant shows up.

    "[Two Trees] essentially curated the destination-based retail," Chan says.

    "They handpicked a great set of retail tenants that would draw people to the area. They basically gave away free rent to get the tenants to serve the neighborhood." [See sidebar on right.]

    Although most of DUMBO is already developed, there are a few projects under way. The Walentas family is awaiting rezoning (which is expected to take a year) to embark on the Dock Street Project - a mixed use, 80/20 affordable building with plans for 350 rentals above a 300-student middle school, which the developer would give to the city.

    Another developer, Bobby Jacobs, is converting 37 Bridge St., a former soap manufacturing plant, into 48 condos. And GDC Properties is about to begin construction on 220 Water St., an industrial building that's being converted into 134 rentals.

    Up in the air is the fate of Empire Stores, seven linked brick warehouses owned by the state.

    "We see ground-floor retail and artisan space and a sculpture garden on the roof," says Jed Walentas, about how Two Trees would approach the project if chosen as the developer. "It's way too big and dark for residential."

    Either way, Walentas believes that as New York City's waterfront develops and spots such as the South Street Seaport, Governors Island and Red Hook link up, DUMBO will continue to grow.

    "If you only have one spot, there's no place to take a boat to," says Walentas. "But eventually all these little pockets of waterfront prosperity will begin to interact together."

  14. #209

    Default Dock Street Project

    Here's a little more on the aforementioned Dock Street Project. It's meeting with some pushback, has collected 8,500 signatures opposing it.

    It's an 18 story mixed-use residential building at Dock Street, just next the the Brooklyn Bridge. It violates the zoning and Walentas is asking for a variance. To sweeten the deal, he's promising a 300-seat public school.

    Generally, I'm pretty pro-development (and love height). But this seems like an unnecessary crowding of Roebling's gorgeous bridge. And I'm not sure there's a convincing argument for building this, aside from making the Walentas family another kajillion dollars.

    The school, which is likely needed, will have to accept students from all over the district and likely the city. So it will do little to ease the over-crowding particular to that area's local schools. I think the school problem should be solved another way.

    I'll admit, part of my reservation is this: why mar up the skyline to accommodate a bunch of parents who bought cheap, because, it was a an urban wasteland 15 years ago. And now are frustrated there are no schools. Um, huh? you knew that going in. I encourage you to solve your problem, but not at the expense of the neighborhood's aesthetic.

    I also have reservation about Walentas, specifically, because, look at the hideous addition he put on 110 Livingston and the ugly pre-fabricated POS that is the Courthouse apartments at Atlantic and Court. I don't trust them not to build a cheap, ugly building on that beautiful historic site.

  15. #210


    Talk about blocking some great views

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