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Out of Context at 11 Broadway

11 Broadway (the latest model)
Photo: GreenbergFarrow via Crain’s

Talk about out of context.

In the course of an article on L+M’s new proposal for 11 Broadway, the Brooklyn Paper manages to drag up a three-year-old quote of mine on a completely different development proposal for the site, making it sound like I am trashing this proposal:

The residential building will likely have stunning views of the Williamsburg Bridge and the lower Manhattan skyline, but Community Board 1 member Ward Dennis believes that much of the building’s views to the north and west will be cut off by the 34-story towers of the Domino development.

“What you’d see from this [building] is the East River and Corlear’s Hook — the part of Manhattan just south of the Williamsburg Bridge that is loaded with public and union housing projects,” said Dennis on his blog, Brooklyn11211. “Not exactly million-dollar views.”

Of course that quote was in reference to a completely different project – a 200-room luxury “waterfront” hotel, that some were saying would have killer views of the city. Given its geography, I was a bit skeptical of this claim. Three years on, the Brooklyn Paper strips it of context, and makes it sound like I have a problem with the new proposal.

L+M’s project sounds very interesting. It will certainly set a new standard for affordable housing in the neighborhood – it will have 20% lower-income housing (less than 80% AMI) and 60% middle-income (125% AMI?), with only 20% of the units at market rate (this is what the affordable housing groups should have been fighting for at projects like Domino). The Broadway building will be 15 stories tall, a consequence of the fact that the blocks alongside the Williamsburg Bridge were never included any contextual rezonings. The architects for the project are Greenberg Farrow, the same people who brought you 80 Metropolitan and North 8 condos (and for full disclosure, a firm that I do work with professionally).

Is 15 stories out of context? On Broadway, adjacent to the bridge and fronting the water across Kent, I’d argue that it is more appropriate than the 17-story block Domino will put just off Wythe Avenue. The latter high-rise sits adjacent to a neighborhood of three-story row houses, and will form the backdrop for a row of three-story houses on Wythe Avenue. Height has its place, just not everyplace.

For the record, the only thing I have written about the new L+M proposal for 11 Broadway is this post, passing on the original Crain’s article on the project.

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