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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%.


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?


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.


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.

26 May 2015

Rose Plaza is Back [✜]

Rose Plaza is back. And so, maybe, am I.

31 December 2014

Salvation Army to Sell Apple Store Site [✜]

Catching up on news from vacation - looks like the Salvation Army has found an offer they can't refuse for the construction site (and long-rumored home of a future Apple Store) at the corner of Bedford and North 7th. Probably good news, as judging by the pace of construction, SA should not be in the construction management business.

Mike Lee's Portfolio on the Market [✜]

The late Mike Lee's portfolio - which includes the former Tops on the Waterfront buildings as well as the current Rosarito Fish Shack - is on the market. The portfolio includes vacant lots on North 6th between Kent and Wythe and a number of nice older buildings.

Williamsburg Site Closes for Record Sum in 2014 [✜]

Two mixed-use buildings (formerly occupied by Spike Hill) will be replaced by multi-floor mega retail. Bad news for residents and local business alike.

UPDATE: I originally misread this as just two buildings (the Spike Hill buildings). The sale also includes the Dunkin' Donuts building as well as three small buildings on the next block south (original home of Earwax way back when). So even more bad news for local retail on Bedford Avenue.

19 December 2014

New Towers for Williamsburg [✜]

I know, shocking, right?

This is actually a good overview of the current state of the Williamsburg waterfront, which is looking pretty towery. The last piece of Northside Piers started leasing this week (in case you missed the huge sign on top of the building). Developer Douglaston has also broken ground on the last of its Edge towers next door. This will complete the 2005 rezoning aspect of the Williamsburg waterfront. Domino is nearly demolished (the last of the bin structure went this week). ODA has filed plans for the first towers at Kedem Winery, which for once promises some real architecture for South Williasmburg (though the site is constrained by its zoning envelope, so the overall massing is unlikely to change).

One new (to me) piece of information from the article - Con Ed says that its North 3rd Street site will go on the market early next year. That site is zoned manufacturing, so expect a big affordable housing play there. But the site is also a great opportunity for open space, and any development should come with an extension of the waterfront esplanade to Grand Street. Further south, something seems ready to happen on the DCAS site just south of the Williamsburg Bridge. Again, a great opportunity for sorely needed open space for the Southside.

Also not shocking, development of Bushwick Inlet Park continues to lag a good ten to fifteen years behind the development curve. The city is near to signing a deal on the Motive site, a largely inaccessible plot that wraps the inlet itself. But nothing seems to be in the offing for the CitiStorage site (which may or may not be in play itself). So the likelihood of of the city living up to its promise for a real park at Bushwick Inlet - the supposed jewel in the crown of the 2005 rezoning - is pretty remote.