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Thread: Sunset Park Development

  1. #16
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    An Empty Warehouse Holds Dreams of Industrial Jobs

    By JOTHAM SEDERSTROM



    slide show

    To hear it described by one broker, the football-field-long former Navy warehouse off the Brooklyn waterfront inspired awe from all but a few of the prospective buyers invited on a tour of the long-vacant site last month.

    But that awe, said the broker, Chris Havens, the chief executive of Creative Real Estate Group in Brooklyn, quickly dissolved into skepticism as the financial realities of the World War I-era building became clear.

    At 1.1 million square feet, the 94-year-old edifice in Sunset Park, commonly referred to as Federal Building No. 2, has one of the largest floor plates in the borough and may be the largest vacant structure for sale in the city.

    The city’s Economic Development Corporation is marketing it for the federal government, with the goal of filling it with light manufacturing operations.

    Potential owners are realizing that with such superlatives come expensive challenges.

    “I love big, vacant buildings, and I think they’re exciting,” said Mr. Havens, who toured the eight-story structure with dozens of developers, brokers and curiosity seekers. “It’s dramatic, and you imagine what could happen in a building that size. The problem is it’s not worth anything, and one of the big brokers who was there that day actually said that it’s worth ‘less than zero.’ ”

    Since issuing a request for proposals in December, the development corporation has received bids of $500,000 to $10 million from six potential buyers. Each has offered different ways to hurdle financial obstacles that include the building’s enormous renovation costs, a wide floor plate that limits light and air at the center of the structure, zoning limitations, and property taxes of $1 million a year, which the federal government is exempt from paying.

    An earlier effort by the federal government to sell the building, in 2006, was derailed two years later after the winning bidder, Time Equities, pulled away in the face of economic turmoil. The group, which invested $1.5 million in engineering and architectural fees before abandoning its plans, did not submit a follow-up proposal, said the company’s chairman, Francis Greenburger.

    “Our reading of the market hasn’t really changed,” Mr. Greenburger said, “and we just feel like it would not be appropriate for us to get back in when we didn’t have the conditions we need to move forward. Time Equities’ original proposal included the possibility of bringing a Target store to the site in addition to industrial tenants. “Our experience in the market today is there’s little construction financing available and, certainly for larger projects, it’s almost nonexistent,” he said.

    But successful development of buildings like Federal No. 2 could help stem an exodus of industrial jobs in the city, which have fallen to about 100,000 in 2008, from a peak of 960,000 in 1959, according to the federal Labor Department. The recent rezoning of 50 blocks in Greenpoint and Williamsburg to residential from industrial left hundreds of businesses without a home in the city, said Leah Archibald of Ewvidco, a north Brooklyn business advocacy group.

    “There are a lot of displaced industrial tenants right now,” said Nick Halstead, a project manager for the Economic Development Corporation, which is overseeing a multifaceted plan for Sunset Park that includes a new freight rail line. “Space gets expensive in certain submarkets so we’re trying to hold this down as one big area for affordable industrial use.”

    Broadening the building’s appeal for prospective tenants has been a central challenge for the Clarett Group and Industry City Associates, two of the developers that submitted bids late last month.

    Bruce Federman, a partner at Industry City, said that altering the concept of light manufacturing to include technology start-ups and art studios was needed to generate demand for a space that few expect will command more than $8 a square foot. Under the Industry City proposal, only 25 percent of the building would be immediately leased, and the remaining space would be marketed after further renovations — including larger windows to allow for more air and light, a new roof and the installation of up to 16 new elevator cars.

    “It’s not what we used to know from the modern era of garment distribution,” Mr. Federman said of light manufacturing. “It has to include crafts, artisans, creative commercial users, graphic artists and computer users who use space in a manner not commonly fit into manufacturing.”

    The building was erected quickly during World War I as a Navy warehouse and later used as a uniform depot during World War II, according to city records. Before being shuttered in 2000, it housed Food and Drug Administration laboratories and a New York Police Department gang unit, among other government agencies. A few relics from before the building closed, like a photo of a young Bill Clinton and a 1988 Mets poster, are still tacked to the walls.

    Initially, speculation that the building would be rezoned for residential use, as happened in former industrial sites in Williamsburg, drew intense interest from a handful of developers, said Yossi Hackner, managing director for Sholom & Zuckerbrot Realty in Queens. Those potential buyers fell by the wayside, however, after city officials renewed their vows to maintain the area’s M3-1 zoning, a narrow designation that allows for woodworkers, food and beverage distributors and medical supply companies, among other groups.

    Josh Keller, executive director of the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, said Sunset Park’s large population of Mexican and Asian immigrants were in need of jobs, not homes. According to his advocacy group’s research there were some 2,000 industrial businesses in Sunset Park and the nearby areas of Gowanus and Red Hook in 2005.

    “Believe me, employment isn’t what it could be because of the circumstances nationally, and in New York, with its relatively high unemployment rate,” Mr. Keller said. “So if you ask me what we need right now, it’s employment and getting people back to work.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/31/re...er=rss&emc=rss

  2. #17
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    Group Hopes Landmarking Will Stop Sunset Park Sore Thumbs

    by Hana R. Alberts





    [Photos via the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee.]

    A group of Sunset Park residents have launched a campaign to preserve the lowrise row houses and historic architectural details of their neighborhood. Fearing more "inappropriate" eyesores like the ones pictured above, the Sunset Park Landmarks Committee believes that a recent downzoning just isn't enough to protect and maintain the facades of individual buildings that are bought and then renovated. Even if they have to stay around the same height and scale as other structures on the block, overhauled buildings don't have to abide by the overarching character of the neighborhood—meaning they stick out like sore thumbs.

    We got a heads up from Brownstoner that the organization is planning a free walking tour on Saturday, April 13, focused on its "history, architecture, development, ethnic diversity, and the potential to become a New York City landmark district."



    According to the group's Facebook page, their neighborhood got a shout-out in L Magazine's recent naming of the 50 best blocks in Brooklyn. An admin quotes the article, which says that Sunset Park is home to the "Best Non-Cliche Block for Brownstones: 56th Street, between Fourth and Fifth avenues. Oh sure, North Slope, Fort Greene, Carroll Gardens, etc. have lots of blocks lined with beautiful brownstones. But it's 2013—Brownstone Brooklyn is so cliche! Travel a bit farther south and you'll still find blocks with gorgeous stone row houses, but in a neighborhood that hasn't been totally gentrified." And the other mention was "best block to smoke a joint" on 37th because it's deserted. LOL."

    Official site: Sunset Park Landmarks Committee [www.preservesunsetpark.org]
    Sunset Park Walking Tour [Brownstoner]
    The 50 Best Blocks in Brooklyn [L Magazine]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/0...ore_thumbs.php

  3. #18
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    Brownstoner:

    Mod-Look Six-Story Hotel Rising in Sunset Park



    "A tipster sent us these photos and informed us that work had recently begun on a six-story hotel at 457 39th Street between 4th and 5th avenues in Sunset Park. The space-age-style building will have 70 units spread across 19,928 square feet of commercial space, an exercise room, breakfast area and eight outdoor parking spaces, according to new building permits issued earlier this month.
    Michael Kang Architect is designing the building. An LLC bought the property for $565,000 last year and demolished a two-story brick house and a one-story garage.
    We’ve included a photo of the building site after the jump. What do you think of the design of the hotel and the parking lot?

    "

    http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013...in-sunset-park

  4. #19
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Eyesore of the future.

  5. #20

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    Not so much. The entire street is an eyesore. There's even a McSam.

  6. #21
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    Ginormous Mixed-Use Development Coming to Sunset Park

    by Zoe Rosenberg


    Renderings by Raymond Chan Architect.

    Sunset Park is the next neighborhood bracing for a mega-development akin to Queens' Flushing Commons and the Upper West Side's Riverside Center. Brooklyn Paper reports that a group of developers have signed on to erect a massive mixed-use project in the southern Brooklyn neighborhood on Eighth Avenue between 61st and 64th streets. Aptly named Eighth Avenue Center, the new development, designed by Raymond Chan, will have a three-story Chelsea Market-style retail space at its base that will cover some 167,000-square-feet or, as BP puts it, about three football fields. Above it will rise a 10-story, 150-room hotel, two 15-story residential towers with some 350 apartments between them, and a 17-story office tower. The tallest nearby buildings top out at about eight stories, so needless to say, the development's scale is largely unprecedented for the neighborhood.



    BP says that site will also have a public green space and sculpture garden atop the retail structure's roof, a library, computer lab, and room for a pre-kindergarten program that "will serve the area's burgeoning immigrant population."

    The idea for a development at the lot to the scale of Eighth Avenue Center isn't a new one; a proposal for the site made waves in 2007 when the land's previous owner Andrew Kohen announced plans to erect a Home Depot and an 11-story residential building. Kohen received a zoning variance for the industrial parcel in 2007, but ended up selling the land off before realizing the project. Before Kohen sold, the Community Board sided with the project. All it took was Kohen's agreement to include 20-percent of housing as affordable. Whether the CB will stand with the new development has yet to be seen.

    Whether or not Chelsea Market developer Jamestown, who has expressed interest in bringing a similar market to nearby Industry City, is involved in the project is unknown. Curbed has reach out for comment.

    Mega-development coming to Sunset Park [BP]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/1...omment-1687914

  7. #22
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    Revealed: 5515 Eighth Avenue, Sunset Park Medical Office Building

    By: Stephen Smith on October 24th 2014 at 6:30 am


    5515 Eighth Avenue, rendering by Raymond Chan

    Eighth Avenue has long been a main commercial street in Sunset Park, with its storefronts supplying the surrounding residential sidestreets with local retail. But in recent decades, it’s become the main drag for one of New York City’s two largest Chinatowns (the other being Flushing, in Queens; the Manhattan original is now third), and has subsequently acquired a commensurate demand for commercial space.

    Medical space is easiest to build, given its preferential status in the zoning code. Builders of walk-in health centers are afforded generous density bonuses, which are put to good use in ethnic business districts throughout the city.

    Sunset Park is a natural destination for medical development, and YIMBY has obtained a rendering for a glassy new medical complex at 5515 Eighth Avenue. The six-story structure, designed by Raymond Chan, will replace a single-story structure at the corner of 56th Street.

    Architecture beyond the gentrifying fringe in New York City can sometimes be subpar, but commercial projects, as everywhere else, tend to be higher quality than residential developments. This building, with its glassy façade and simple white and gray panels between floors, looks to follow the same rule.

    The ground floor and mezzanine will contain 13,000 square feet of retail space, topped by 42,500 square feet of medical office condos. The three-level underground parking garage will have enough space for around 150 cars, far more than required by code.

    The developer is Andy Wong with Flushing-based Golden 8th Avenue Realty Corp., a firm that appears to have owned the land since the 1980s.

    The total project cost was projected to be around $33 million, with $8 million in EB-5 funding, from Chinese seeking green cards in exchange for making $500,000 in job-creating investments in the U.S.

    While the project does overwhelm its surroundings – three-story basic brick apartment buildings with ground level retail on Eighth Avenue – the community long ago grew too large for its century-old housing stock, and buildings of six stories and more are perfectly appropriate.


    5515 Eighth Avenue, image from Bing Maps


    Medical space can be easily built, as this project shows, but housing is not granted such generous zoning provisions. Ideally, Eighth Avenue would be sprouting apartment buildings that are as big as the walk-in health centers – and if this were the case, then perhaps Sunset Park would not be so much less affordable than its Hasidic neighbor, Borough Park.

    Construction of 5515 Eighth Avenue was slated to start in September 2014, and a flurry of permit filings confirms this likely did occur. The building is planned to open to tenants in three years.

    Subscribe to the YIMBY newsletter for weekly updates on New York’s top projects
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    For any questions, comments, or feedback, email newyorkyimby@gmail.com

    Posted in 5515 Eighth Avenue | Andy Wong | Architecture | Brooklyn |Golden 8th Avenue Realty Corp. | New York | Office | Raymond Chan Architects | Sunset Park

  8. #23
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    In Sunset Park, Doubts About Development Plan

    Community groups in Brooklyn neighborhood plan a rally on Sunday

    By Laura Kusisto
    March 19, 2015


    The industrial water front in Sunset Park. Photo: Cassandra Giraldo for The Wall Street Journal

    A $1 billion plan to transform a waterfront industrial complex with retail space, hotel rooms and university facilities could make the middle-class Brooklyn neighborhood of Sunset Park feel more like Chelsea or Dumbo.

    Residents are asking themselves if that’s a good thing.

    Some local groups plan to hold a rally Sunday, airing their concerns that the plans will focus more on low-paid retail and hotel jobs and too little on higher-paying manufacturing jobs; push up rents; and won’t take into account climate change and the vulnerability of waterfront property.

    “If you look at their renderings, they are looking to do the community-based planning for us,” said Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of Uprose, a Latino community-based organization in Sunset Park. “It’s sort of our way or the highway.”


    The Tin Cup, a coffee shop on Fourth Avenue. Photo: Cassandra Giraldo for The Wall Street Journal

    In August 2013, Belvedere Capital, Jamestown and Angelo Gordon bought a stake in the 6-million-square-foot complex. So far, they have invested $100 million in it, which they said has led to the leasing of 850,000 square feet, bringing in 1,500 jobs.

    The developers point out that 70% of the complex is now vacant or houses storage space. Developing it would bring more jobs to the community—some 13,300 on site—rather than leading to the loss of manufacturing jobs, said Andrew Kimball, chief executive of Industry City, the entity that runs the complex.

    “That’s going to take massive investment, but government’s not writing a check,” he said. “We need something that provides some higher return that allows us to convert all that space over 12 years.”

    The developers plan to invest $890 million, which they said would spur an additional $150 million of investment by tenants.


    Many industrial-service companies are slowly moving out of the area. Photo: Cassandra Giraldo for The Wall Street Journal

    The groups holding Sunday’s rally, at Uprose’s offices, include Neighbors Helping Neighbors, a tenant-advocacy group, and the Teamsters Local 812, which wants to preserve union port jobs.
    The developers are seeking a rezoning, which will require approval from the City Planning Commission and City Council.

    Sunset Park has been the subject of renewed attention by both the city and private developers. Up the street from Industry City, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. has signed a lease to take more than 100,000 square feet at Liberty View Industrial Plaza.

    Mr. Kimball said the distinction between this and other formerly industrial areas that have experienced gentrification, such as Dumbo and SoHo, is that they aren’t adding apartments.

    “We’ve spent 18 months engaging with the community,” he said. “The major thing that we have heard is jobs.”

    On a recent weekday afternoon, some business owners in the area said they were worried about rising retail rents and competition from the sleek new businesses Industry City hopes to attract.

    José Beltré, owner of Eco Communications, which sells and repairs radios, said rent has more than doubled in the area recently. His business has also been affected by larger forces, as much of it came from repairing radios for car-service companies, some of whom are switching to iPads.

    But others said that an improving neighborhood will benefit them by bringing in new customers and driving out a criminal element. Lucio Degidio, the 43-year-old manager of a pizza restaurant across the street, said business has ticked up since Industry City started filling up with more tenants.

    “For a long time these buildings were empty, there were not tenants. It was a dead area,” he said. “It’s obviously moving in the right direction

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/in-sunse...lan-1426814451

  9. #24

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    Why do we so often see these huge amounts of land get bought up by a single developer; who then constructs some huge homogenous mixed use 'building' complex' costing "billions" of dollars. Why not let these areas develop more organically in smaller individual parcels, with a variety of smaller individual owners/developers? That is how nearly the entire NY metro area had been built-out with housing and commercial buildings in the 19th & 20th century; many different small developers, building many small developments. I am sure there is at least some 'reasonable sounding' explanation; but I still think smaller, more incremental development, is a better way for more beautiful, livable cities.

  10. #25
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    Cash money, my friend. Because of construction costs and modern financing, small development is nearly impossible, especially in NYC. On top of that, as a site like this is likely to have environmental issues beyond the means of any one small developer, so the only way it could be done that way is if the city stepped in, spent the money first, and then parceled out the land to small developers. And get this, people would lose their minds if the city were the ones to drop millions for the benefit of small developers. And so you see this massive agglomeration of sites to make the numbers pencil out. I have a really hard time believing that there's any going back to the good old days when work-a-day merchants were able to build themselves beautiful little buildings as paeans to their own commercial success. They've mostly been rolled up into large corporations too. And their statement buildings are frequently in the burbs -


  11. #26
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Question ^

    Isn't that one of Best Buy's old buildings?

  12. #27
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    Pretty sure it was custom built for them -

    The Longaberger corporate headquarters on State Route 16 is a local landmark and a well-known example of novelty architecture, since it takes the shape of the company's biggest seller, the "Medium Market Basket".[1] The seven-story, 180,000-square-foot building was designed by The Longaberger Company, and executed by NBBJ and Korda Nemeth Engineering. The building opened in 1997.[2] The basket handles weigh almost 150 tons and can be heated during cold weather to prevent ice damage.[3] Originally, Dave Longaberger wanted all of the Longaberger buildings to be shaped like baskets, but only the headquarters was completed at the time of his death.
    (from wikipedia)

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