Brace yourselves. Greenpoint is getting more towers.

161 West Street. Photo courtesy of Google Street View.

Believe it or not, it’s true. Developers think Greenpoint is the capital of cool. So cool in fact, even a London-based private equity firm called Quandrum Global, is the latest real estate developer to pony up on our waterfront action.  

161 West Street is the latest waterfront property to be sold for development. Currently the plot of land, now a two-story warehouse, recently sold to Quandrum for $45.5 million dollars. Back in 2004 that same lot was bought for $14 million. Just goes to show how far-reaching real estate speculation can stretch.

As it stands, the 179,000 sqft warehouse is ripe for the plucking. Add on the inclusionary housing for affordable housing coupled with the flawed 2005 waterfront rezoning and we’re looking at a property with approximately 430,000 sq ft of development space.

When asked why Quandrum set its sights on Greenpoint’s shores, Seth Shumer the company’s director, had this to say, “Given the success of Williamsburg and Long Island City we see Greenpoint as an area in between great transportation.” Key words here: In between transportation.

No one knows if Quandrum Global intends on installing an extra turnstyle at the India St subway entrance to accommodate the additional influx of residents like Greenpoint Landing, or whether they’re going the private shuttle route. But given all the new residents that are about to descend in the hood, they better come up with something fast.

And just when you thought the glass tower invasion was too much, I’ve got more unsettling news for you. The stalled development at 145-155 West Street is now prepping its blueprints for construction. The site, bought by developer Palin Enterprises in 2006 for $85 million, is giving Greenpoint yet another tower. This one will be 39 stories high, filled with 600 units—roughly 20% to be affordable—and will contain 23,000 sq ft of retail space. Geoffrey Bailey, retail specialist and the man who touts Greenpoint as the ‘new Williamsburg’, says the development will be aimed at millennials and have “an affordable luxury feel.”  If someone can explain what ‘affordable luxury’ feels like, I’m all ears.

Give these developers enough time, money, free inkpads and City Planning rubberstamps, and in no time Greenpoint will be more crowded than Williamsburg and LIC, and far more disturbing—completely unrecognizable, devoid of character, and utterly boring.

Maybe in the next 10 years developers might be calling Greenpoint the ‘new Miami’. Stranger things have happened.

About Kim M

Kim is a native New Yorker, local activist and writer. When she's not writing books or playing Erin Brockovich with her Save Greenpoint peeps, you will see her whipping around Greenpoint on her bike, chatting it up with folks, and sharing stories about what it is about her hometown that makes life worth living.

17 Comments

  1. Smo says:

    This is soul crushing.

    Reply
  2. Todd says:

    The fat lady is singing.

    Reply
  3. Teo says:

    Let’s hope we have another Sandy-like storm when the developers are half way through the digging. Maybe if we get hit hard enough, people will realize that this fight never had anything to do with our view of Manhattan.

    Reply
  4. Charlotte says:

    “affordable luxury”!!!!!!!!!!! For WHOM!? Is this going to spread up New Town Creek? I have been told the Kosciuszko Bridge is being added to.? Or something and I live riiiight next to it…

    Reply
  5. CG says:

    My insides hurt.

    Reply
  6. Chris says:

    For all the original greenpointers, who actually own property in this village, this is great news. It should skyrocket property values even more, and put pressure on improving transportation options.

    I’m sorry for all you who just moved in and like stable rents and grungy apartments.

    Reply
    • Teo says:

      The opening of your comment makes clear that you are not an original greenpointer, which probably is the reason for your lack of understanding of the situation. Do you perhaps think that all those original greenpointers were hoping to have the value of their properties higher? What in heavens for? So that they can sell and go live in Manhattan, where they probably won’t be able to afford anything like they have here? Well, if that’s the case, I have a piece of news for you: Having more money means nothing if you are forced to spend more than what you have.
      As for calling Greenpoint a “village”, you can keep your patronizing all for yourself.

      Reply
    • Kim M says:

      Sorry Chris, but your logic is severly flawed. For starters these developers have NO intention on upgrading infrastructure. Shuttle buses and an additional turnstyle at the subway station are hardly transportation improvements–it’s just a sorry ass band-aid on a already troubling situation.

      15,000 new residents (and that’s just for Greenpoint Landing!) + more traffic + G train=total epic disaster for commuters.

      As for an increase in property values, while you may be correct–an increase will certainly bolster property owners coffers, you make no mention of the increased property taxes for which many owners are ill-equipped to pay.

      So where does that leave these people? Family homes that are worth a lot of money but families who can no longer afford to own them. Sounds great.

      Reply
    • Andres says:

      higher property values = higher rent = cute coffee shop & restaurants that made the area amazing leaving somewhere else = more dunkin donuts and clueless restaurant owners arriving = more frat boys, bankers & boring people = Greenpoint dying just like Williamsburg died, which is now one of the worst area in Brooklyn

      but the developers just don’t care, they see $$$$ everywhere

      so f**k the great news

      Reply
  7. R says:

    So disheartening.
    Nothing is sacred anymore and everything has a price, this is super unfortunate.

    Reply
  8. Lauren says:

    Kanye on affordable luxury, from last summer’s Times interview:

    “I don’t believe that it’s luxury to go into a store and not be able to afford something. I believe luxury is to be able to go into a store and be able to afford something.”

    So, there you have it.

    Reply
  9. matt says:

    The site has 165,000 buildable sq ft not 430,000, check the zoning again…

    Reply
    • Kim M says:

      Matt, I believe the additional buildable square footage comes from the inclusionary housing bonus, although I’m not 100% certain. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking on the developers part? Shouldn’t there be ULURP proceedings for this site, especially if the developers are asking for an inclusionary housing bonus? For as much as I’ve scoured the City Planning website, I can’t find any mention of public hearings. An Environmental Impact Statement would also hold some concrete answers in terms of the F.A.R and affordable housing bonuses.

      Reply
  10. Dave says:

    Development is progress. Maybe we should go back in time and have shacks on farmland

    Reply
    • greenpointer says:

      Dave, you’re mistaking progress with change. Whereas progress implies change, change does not imply progress -unless you see progress as something bad, which I doubt you do, and in which case you’d be correct.
      For your info on other common mistakes people do, living well is not the same as being rich, and eating is not the same as gorging.

      Reply
      • Greenpointer too says:

        True, and newer doesn’t mean better, smarter or more civilized, either. If progress means living crammed like rats, breathing polluted air, and drinking contaminated water so that developers, politicians, and the wealthy can get richer, bring on the shack on farmland, hell yeah.

        Reply

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