Huge Greenpoint Development Underway?

Image Via Handel Architects

A tipster sent along word that the Boardwalk Empire set at Franklin & Commercial Streets is currently being dismantled and that they will be out by the end of the month. The tipster also says Bay Crane is moving out of their large parcel at Eagle & West Streets. Both lots are held by Park Tower Group, a New York based developer, who has long held the development rights to this huge 22 acre swath of land at the tip of Greenpoint. Their proposed development, dubbed Greenpoint Landing, will ultimately result in 10 residential towers between 30 and 40 stories high totaling 4,000 units of housing – 20% of which will be affordable. Handel Architects designed the project and, according to their website, the development will feature a new marina, seasonal putting green, ice rink and even possibly a footbridge to Long Island City.

This proposed development neighbors the long-promised, but never-delivered park at 65 Commercial Street, which is currently a parking lot for MTA vehicles. In an effort to finally get the parking lot turned into a park, the City is offering the parking lot’s development rights for sale to neighboring properties. According to Rami Metal of Councilman Stephen Levin’s office, there are two interested bidders for the development rights – Park Tower Group, who is heading up Greenpoint Landing, and the Chetrit Group, a New York developer who acquired 77 Commercial earlier this year and has plans for a residential development on the site. When reached at his office, Robert Knakal of Massey Knakal Realty said the development rights could be worth as much as 14 million dollars. Given the small size of the 77 Commercial lot relative to the Park Tower parcel, The Chetrit Group would likely be the more interested party, though they did not respond to my request for comment.

It is also altogether unclear whether 14 million dollars would be enough to fund the new park or if the MTA vehicles will finally be moved to a new home, which has always been the primary impediment to progress on the site. When asked about that issue, Rami Metal of Councilman Levin’s office said that he “has assurances the vehicles will be moved”. One thing is clear – this sleepy tip of Greenpoint looks to be starting a dramatic transformation and the massive influx of new residents will have to rely on limited public transportation and a scarcity of parks. Can the area handle all of these new residents? May we have a couple extra cars on the G Train, please?

35 Comments

  1. Nick says:

    Wow…this is disgusting. New York is no longer the great city it used to be. Sure, for the rich and elite, this place is a playground but to all else, just another eye sore and place they’ll never afford. Even if i had the money to buy a unit in one of these chrome structures, i would gladly buy an old beat-up house than one of these hideous sky-line dildos.

    Reply
    • Yimby says:

      Cognitive dissonance is an amazing phenomenon. “Housing is too expensive therefore let’s not build new housing.”. Only in a mind bereft of logic would this make sense. Hate condo towers? Fine. Let’s limit all development in the city to 5 stories. Then let’s see how affordable your “old beat-up house” is.

      Reply
      • Dennis sinneD says:

        So you seek to disabuse “cognitive dissonance” with more cognitive dissonance, using kindergarten economics without a measure of the history of construction and housing not just in North Brooklyn but the city whole? Firstly, “supply and demand” is a gross oversimplification and is defied by the FACTS; namely, that 30 years of gentrification hypertrophy have NOT brought down prices in the least, but have done the exact opposite, that is, grossly inflate prices beyond supply OR demand. Indeed, if I can borrow from the terrible “Field of Dreams” to express an engineering maxim: if you build it, they will come. Have you never been exposed to the fact that partitioning traffic [because in terms of gentrification and housing, the appropriate paradigm is not 'residency' but 'traffic,' since gentrification in the present is fueled by hyper-transience, not 'settlement'] does not relieve but intensifies congestion? If not, graduate from thought-terminating cliches like “supply and demand.” As to the notion that building luxury condominium towers is a boon to local businesses observed by other commenters here, that is also kindergarten economics. That premise absolutely denies, quite ignorantly, that building luxury housing in lower-middle class and underclass areas induces a rush of ABSENTEE NOT LOCAL OWNERSHIP. It also ignores facts of patronage: luxury condominium owners do not patronize but luxury and leisure item businesses. We don’t need theory to know this–we can simply observe Williamsburg to the south and west, where the Puerto Rican and Hispanic population has been halved and absentee owners displace local ownership proportionate to agents of gentrification displacing resident populations. PLEASE, if you feel the need to insult your neighbors, at least understand the theories you imply and supposedly espouse. If you need some introductory courses but can’t afford them, I suggest purchasing, used if you can, Thorstein Veblen’s Absentee Ownership and The Theory of the Leisure Class. Disabuse your own cognitive dissonance before imputing it in others, or as the King teaches, Matthew 7:1-5.

        Reply
      • Dennis sinneD says:

        Here are some useful wikis. Do not end but begin your examination here, and disabuse yourself of gross and perverse self-contradictory oversimplifications like “to bring rents down build more luxury housing” [dear God in heaven!] and “luxury renters will patronize local businesses.” Or, if curiosity, reasoned discussion and engagement with ideas is not your thing, continue on your path of ad hominem and further insulting your neighbors, and see how much that advances you personally:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absentee_business_owner

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Itinerant

        For an excellent engineering metaphor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transient_(civil_engineering)

        The Theory of the Leisure Class:
        http://books.google.com/books?id=ErEXMCudMZ4C&pg=PR7&lpg=PR7&dq=theory+of+the+leisure+class&source=bl&ots=fm_PrMkUNr&sig=imBprJ1MRjDkJRCUO7ma0vBjxJc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=9HZ5UIX6O4rK0AH00YCQDA&ved=0CDAQ6AEwAA

        Absentee Ownership:
        http://books.google.com/books?id=1HKLk91MRBUC&printsec=frontcover&dq=editions:v6hm-sCiF8IC&source=bl&ots=7zVIDqAyGK&sig=YOU0YNCZNuA0_Nfbc3W3PmQySIY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=M3d5UOreG-X30gGx4oCIDg&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

        Reply
    • Patrick says:

      Nick, NY is “no longer the great city it used to be”? What the F are you talking about? If losers like you were in charge in years past, NY would not be the “great city” that exists in your mind….loser

      Reply
  2. Tony says:

    Take all your hipster anger and aim it towards Park Tower Group, the Chetrit Group, Bloomberg & Stephen Levin, they are the a-holes who will really destroy your neighborhood.

    Reply
    • Kevin says:

      It’s NYC, it’s not like they are erecting these buildings in the middle of Yellow Stone National Park. They are building these things because people want to live there and people keep moving there.

      Bad neighborhoods turn nice, nice neighborhoods turn bad, hipsters come and hipsters go. That’s how it works, that’s how it always has worked.

      Reply
  3. David says:

    So much for Greenpoint as we knew. Seriously, another tall building in Manhattan = no big deal. 10 massive towers in Greenpoint (none of which will house current residents) = total destruction of the community we know today.

    Reply
    • pknyc says:

      …”total destruction of the community we know today.”

      -said the Keshaechqueren tribe when the Dutch West India Company landed on the shore.

      Reply
  4. Diamond Joe says:

    Looking forward to it – will be a welcome replacement of the trash-strewn industrial lots there now, which block waterfront access and generate truck traffic all over the neighborhood. Plus this should be a huge boon for local businesses, and bring enough population to push the scales in favor of a number of municipal and retail services like movie theaters, housewares stores, brand-name apparel, entertainment venues, cultural institutions – the last few remaining things you have to leave the neighborhood for. This architecture is unappealing but it’s not like what’s there now is worth preserving

    Reply
    • Ben says:

      The thing that scares me is not the architecture itself, or the bridge, or replacing the patches of derelict real estate with new development…but what DOES worry me is the effect his would have on the neighborhood as a whole. It seems like a very sudden influx of highrise luxury residential (“affordable housing” has become a laughable euphemism many developers throw around, see the Atlantic Yards), and it would only be a matter of time before all the beloved local businesses that make GPT a great place to live and shop would be PRICED OUT. Does anybody honestly think that a Polish or Latin American family restaurant will be able to survive when their landlord jacks the rent up, which they will do, once these towers are built? No, they move out and High end Retail moves in. Exactly what happened/is happening in Williamsburg at the waterfront there. You can’t stop development like this, but you don’t have to clobber the whole neighborhood at once with one centralized mega-development. One of the appeals of GPT for me is it’s economic diversity, yes even including the interspersed hi-end condos. But the key word is interspersed.

      Reply
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  6. Upset Citizen! says:

    As someone who lives in this ” sleepy tip of Greenpoint,” I can hardly imagine more upsetting news! Is there no way to protest this? I don’t want my neighborhood turning into a scene from Miami Vice.

    Reply
    • Jen G says:

      I would say go to the CB1 meetings and to local politicians.

      Reply
    • J says:

      Can you explain why this is upsetting?

      Reply
      • Evan says:

        Jason,

        This is upsetting because while development and investment is good, and rarely turned away, extreme development like this, (ten 30-40 story buildings) will push out the poor and disenfranchised Native New Yorkers who can no longer afford their rent, groceries, and utility bills. The poor will suffer as prices spring up and they’re forced out of their apartments by some transplant with more money than them willing to pay more rent, and a greedly slumlord who couldn’t care less.

        Don’t you see? If everyone OWNED their apartments there would be no problem. The Greenpointers would jump for joy, sell their houses for tremendous profit, watch the developers knock them down for condominiums, then move into the condos themselves with their huge personal windfalls.

        That’s not the case; everyone RENTS because they cannot afford to OWN. Those people chose to live in the neighborhood because its what they could afford; they’ve been in the area their whole lives. They’ve done everything right; they work hard, pay their bills, send their kids to school, attend their local congregations, sweep their stoops, put American flags in their windows, and plant posies in the flower boxes of their 3rd floor walk-up apartment.

        It may not be much, but it’s home.

        Then suddenly, some green-haired graphic design hipster with a trust fund, who’s never done a day of manual labor in his life pushes out Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez and their son Paul; They push out Mr. and Mrs. Kowalski, along with their daughter Susan and Sprinkles the dog, who simply can’t match what this rich carpetbagger can afford to pay. They’re kicked out into the street.

        I ask you, is that justice?

        Is that justice that a family who’ve lived in a place their whole lives, done everything by the rules, and worked themselves to the bone just to have a place to hang their hats; Only to find that they’ll one day loose their homes when someone richer demands that they move and can back it up with cash?

        Is that justice?

        And, let me put this fact forward to you Jason: One day very soon, the Native New Yorkers who make New York what it is shall go extinct, and the specialness, and magic of New York will die a painful death. There will be no over-the-top Italian stereotypes. There will be no charming neighborhoods with their tidy sidewalks and painted cornices. There will be no people who know the difference between BMT, IRT and IND Lines; There will be no people who call the Queensborough the “59th Street Bridge” or know the exact borders between Bushwick and Ridgewood. There will be no Village; it shall all be NYU and they’ll destroy it all. And soon, the New York accent that everyone seems to enjoy so much will be extinct.

        AND ALL OF THIS HORRIFIC DESTRUCTION OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT is so some overprivileged transplant who wants to be in “THE BIG APPLE!!!” can go to MoMA whenever he wants and pay $40 for a plate of Chinese food while drinking Starbucks coffee, and say in a posh voice, “Oh, I live in Park Slope.” *Smirk*

        That is what’s upsetting Jason. My God, that’s what’s upsetting. Maybe you don’t get it because you weren’t born here, but honestly, that is the true tragedy.

        Reply
    • Ebony says:

      I’ll bet Miami residents didn’t want all those NY/NJ guidos down there either.

      Reply
  7. Pingback: Growing Up Greenpoint | dreamlifenewyork.com

  8. Kevin C says:

    The comments on this site get more cynical and capital friendly by the month, which I know is not a reflection of Jen G. For anyone who grew up here or moved here, why WOULDN’T this be alarming? If you want brand name apparel or see cheap, eco-disaster condos as appealing and some kind of mark of progress, why would you have moved to GP? The kind of New Yorker that would naturally gripe about this kind of thing used to represent the overwhelming majority. For instance the East Village has faced similar threats of condo bombs over the years and of course fought them. That ‘of course’ is no longer something to be taken for granted. That may be why so many suburbanites move to cities now that used to steer clear- cities are so suburban now that it’s made preppy suburbanites comfortable. For that crowd 10-15 cold, soulless condos that gobble energy is cool. They’re restaurant magnets and badges of economic ascendance. And isn’t that why we all moved to NY? Sanitized river walkways with American Apparels and hot young chefs with mediocre restaurants- that was the dream.

    One thing about GP is that it’s a hub for organized environmental groups who I’m sure will at least attempt to fight these energy sucking condos from destroying all the character from the neighborhood.

    Don’t like the trash at the end of Commercial St? Neither do I. Let’s form a committee and clean that thing up. Or, I guess, let developers price out every low income family in the neighborhood for the sake of trash removal.

    Reply
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  10. PICTURE PLANET says:

    Its upsetting because the size and scale of the neighborhood is going to go from pleasant to overwhelming. Not to mention public transportation in the area is already limited, mated with such limited parks spaces that last thing the area needs is 400-1000 apartment units.

    Reply
  11. Jack Gray says:

    The condos will be huge and ugly and will create a ton of construction noise and will certainly change its surroundings, but for people who are more in love with the concept of America’s greatest city growing than they are with native roots to one neighborhood, it’s not all bad.

    Go into Manhattan and look at all the buildings. Most of them are non-spectacular and unattractive. Put a 100 of those ugly ass building next to each other and you some how have something beautiful.

    Reply
  12. Nathaniel says:

    Personally, I think the size and scale of the development is overkill, but it is not likely to be built to the scale shown. Architect’s renderings are usually imbued with delusions of grandeur.

    But it will be built, eventually. The development has been in the works for a couple of years, and Mr. Bloomberg is heavily invested.

    While many may not like the idea of the development at all, let’s remember that this part of Greenpoint has almost no redeeming value. I frequent Newton Barge Playground regularly with my dog, it’s a dump.

    This is an opportunity for the community to improve the neighborhood, but it’s up to the community to band together and force the developers to use some of the capital investment to the benefit of the community, specifically cleaning up the toxic land and water that these buildings will be built on top of. If that is the end result, it’s a win for Greenpoint.

    Moreover, the amount of large-scale construction that can take place in Greenpoint is limited to the waterfront area – a portion of this project’s investment capital will be used to that end – and the Manhattan Ave commercial corridor.

    The rest of Greenpoint will stay largely ergonomic due to the 2009 contextual rezoning. This can be improved further by expanding the Greenpoint Historic District (difficult proposition).

    For those that want to educate themselves even further, check out the City Planning Brooklyn Community District 1 info page –

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/neigh_info/bk01_info.shtml

    Have fun storming the castle!

    Reply
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  15. Greenpoint Guest says:

    I didn’t grow up here so I am not really in the position to join the discussion. But I saw this happening all over the world (I was living in Berlin for 4 years which faced the same problems. People there fought of about 70% of the planned developments) and there is always two sides of the story.

    I work kind of in real estate, and there is always a greedy company or person, waiting, planning and then converting into cash what they own. All over Brooklyn you have the waterfront problematics, see Red Hook or Williamsburg. On Kent everything is kind of lost already, but I don’t feel like Williamsburg itself has changed a lot because of that. Most owners of those “luxury”(to use that word is so much of a joke if you have ever lived there) condos kind of stay within the perimeter and between themselves.

    I myself have to agree that I see with disgust and fear what is happening to my new favorite neighborhood (I moved away from Williamsburg to have it more “real” :) ) but the important thing is, and that is what I learn from all the comments here, that there is a discussion about it and people take action not only talk.

    Unfortunately I am not familiar with the laws on housing development, but there is always something the community can do. So lets do it!

    btw, from what I know its not true that most of the apartments are rented in GP. More than half of the properties are owned by polish families.

    Reply
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  17. Randall says:

    Man I loved the comments. I owe a bit thank you to Dennis sinneD. Good info.

    Reply
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  19. nancy corrao says:

    Stop protesting luxuray buildings and keep protesting the McGuiness blvd shelter that’s an eye sore

    Reply
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