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22 December 2015

Steiner Studios Files Plans for Six New Soundstages [✜]

Steiner Studios will expand north onto Kent Avenue.

20 December 2015

Domino Sugar Factory's Tiny New Neighbor [✜]

Coming soon to 349 Kent Avenue, the vacant lot that once housed Rock Star Bar and was the original home to Pies 'n' Thighs (and long before that, the strip club Splash), will be this little building, which is all about balconies, open space and views of the waterfront. Which is a bold marketing strategy, when you consider that the views to the waterfront will soon be blocked by a pair of 50-story towers. And that any other natural light the building might ever see is blocked by abutments of the Williamsburg Bridge. But it will be a half a block from a new waterfront park.

8 December 2015

Loft Living on the LES [✜]

This seems just a bit out of context.

2 December 2015

Luxury Williamsburg Apartment Building Turns Out To Be Death-Trap [✜]

Started in one real estate boom by a sketchy developer, stalled and vacant for many years, and finished quickly during the current real estate boom. Shockingly, it turns out that the construction may be shoddy and structurally unsound.

Interestingly, this property has a checkered development history that goes back to the 1880s.

Mixed-use Building for 296 Wythe [✜]

296 wythe

296 Wythe Avenue


This makes me sad:

There is currently a one-story factory on each plot. The new owner plans to raze the buildings...


22,000 Housing Units? Sounds Low.

CityRealty, as reported in DNA is estimating that 22,000 new apartments will be built in northern Brooklyn between now and 2019. Northern Brooklyn in this case means Red Hook to Bushwick, and everything in between. Their estimate only includes “large” developments of 20 units or more, so it is necessarily a low estimate.

A really low number – I can count over 11,000 housing units either under construction or soon to be so just along the Williamsburg/Greenpoint waterfront. Close to 6,000 more housing units could potentially be built along this stretch, which runs from Walkabout Inlet/Division Avenue to Newtown Creek.

These numbers don’t even begin to count developments of any size east of Kent Avenue/West Street – this is just looking at the blocks fronting the waterfront and those two streets.

The city estimates that on average each dwelling unit equals 2.2 residents, so if you add these numbers to thousands of new units created during the last two housing booms (almost 19,000 units since 2000), Greenpoint/Williamsburg is looking at a population increase of over 50%.

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Spitzer’s Kedem Winery Gets Bigger?

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ODA’s New (and bigger) Plan for 420 Kent

Eliot Spitzer is revealing his ODA-designed plans for the former Kedem Winery site on the Southside waterfront. The property was rezoned in 2006, and the as-of-right development more or less conforms to the rest of the Williamsburg-Greenpoint waterfront zoning – a 5.0 FAR, 20% affordable at 80% AMI, publicly-accessible waterfront esplanade. The only real difference is the height, which at 18 and 24 stories is closer to the Schaefer Landing precedent than what was allowed further north (35 to 40 stories).

But according to the Times, Spitzer’s plans call for 856 units of housing, which is almost double what was predicted in the 2006 rezoning documents (450 units back then), and he is now showing three towers instead of two. At first I assumed that the project had shifted unit sizes – pretty dramatically. Looking at BIS, though, I can only find two New Building permits, totaling 470 units in two buildings (16 and 18 stories).

420 Kent Avenue

The Old Plan

As recently as last summer, Spitzer was showing renderings (below) that matched the 2006 rezoning (that architecture was by Pasanella Klein Stolzman & Berg). So where did this third tower and extra 400 units come from?


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Don’t Believe the Census

I’ve written in the past about my skepticism regarding the 2010 census when it comes to Brooklyn in general and Williamsburg/Greenpoint in particular. For an illustration of exactly how wack the 2010 census is, look no further the data on new housing units since 2000. Between 2000 and 2009, CB1 (Williamsburg and Greenpoint) added just 11,900 new housing units. In addition to that, about 5,000 housing units were renovated – a number that includes many conversions from non-residential use, and thus a further addition of (legal) housing units. Using the city’s standard EIS methodology and assuming an average of 2.2 people per housing unit (a conservative number historically for CB1), that equates to a population increase of at least 30,000 to 35,000.

The census says we added 12,745 people during that period.

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27 May 2015

Remembering the Maspeth Holders [✜]

I remember when these came down - and when they were icons of traffic reporting. Nice remembrance.

City Insists it is Still Committed to Finishing Bushwick Inlet Park [✜]

The City has a plan for finishing Bushwick Inlet Park. They're just not ready to share it with anyone.