By Joe M

Box St. Park Closer to Reality – MTA Moves Vehicles

The Daily News is reporting that the MTA has finally agreed to move their vehicles from a parking lot at 65 Commercial Street to City-owned land in the Westchester Village section of the Bronx. As part of the 2005 Greenpoint Waterfront re-zoning, the MTA agreed in principle to move the vehicles so the City could convert the parking lot to a park, but it has taken 8 years to find a suitable replacement lot.

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More Development = Long Promised Park? CB1 Meeting Notes (8/20)

This week’s CB1 ULURP hearing focused on the development at 77 Commercial St. which is just up Newton Creek from the Greenpoint Landing project that we covered last week. 77 Commercial street is currently a vacant commercial building that was purchased in 2012 by Manhattan-based developers, Chetrit Group. What makes this development notable is that it sits next to the long promised, but never delivered Box Street Park at 65 Commercial Street. Continue reading

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Greenpoint Landing is Coming – CB1 8/13 Meeting Notes

Wednesday night’s CB1 public hearing at the Automotive High School focused on a small part of a very large development called Greenpoint Landing that is poised to start construction on Greenpoint’s northern waterfront.

Greenpoint Landing is a 10 tower, 22-acre development consisting of 3,811 market-rate apartments, 951 affordable apartments and 143,000 square feet of open space – all of which can be legally built under the 2005 re-zoning. The project as a whole was not up for review at the hearing, but the overall size and impact of the project continued to be the community’s focus. Continue reading

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New Development at Manhattan and Box

A new 7 story residential building is set to replace a vacant warehouse at the northern end of Manhattan Avenue between Box and Clay Streets. The developer, Domain Companies, is planning for 210 apartments ranging from studios to two-bedrooms and 8,000 square feet of ground floor retail along Manhattan Avenue. The project is slated to have an on-site parking garage, rooftop terrace, media & game rooms, fitness center, and a resident lounge with a kitchen. The architect is Perkins Eastman and they are aiming for LEED Silver Certification by incorporating several green building materials. This same architect was responsible for nearby projects 34 Berry and 390 Wythe in Williamsburg.

The project, dubbed ’1133 Manhattan’, is being developed under Mayor Bloomberg’s ‘New Housing Marketplace Plan’, which was launched in 2004 to help create 165,000 new affordable housing units by the end of 2014. 50% of this project will be set aside for ‘low income’ and ‘middle income’ families. Specifically, 42 units will be reserved for households earning no more than 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) or $29,050 for an individual and 63 of the units will be available to households earning no more than 175% of AMI or $101,675 for an individual. The remaining 50% of the units will be market rate.

The site is currently a vacant, single story warehouse and is the former home of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Railroad car barn. This northern end of Greenpoint is still very quiet, but several large developments are in the works that will dramatically increase the density of the area. The long planned, but yet-to-be-delivered park at 65 Commercial Street will only be a block away. New residents will be able to enjoy neighborhood favorites like Milk and Roses, Champion Coffee, Lobster Joint and Eastern District. Preliminary construction appears to be underway and is scheduled to be completed in late 2014.

What would fellow Greenpointers like to see on this site? Is this project the right use, size and scale?

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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?

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Billiards & Auto Parts To Apartments On McGuinness Blvd?

Proposed Apartments on McGuinness Blvd Greenpoint, BrooklynThat was the question on everyone’s mind at Wednesday night’s CB1 public hearing. In part, the public hearing was called to discuss the proposed rezoning of a block-long portion of McGuinness Boulevard from a manufacturing zone to a residential zone with a commercial overlay. This stretch of McGuinness between Calyer & Greenpoint is currently home to a gas station, several auto parts stores, Key Foods and Risqué Billiards. The owner/developer of 209-231 McGuinness– landlord to Risqué Billiards and ‘Strauss Discount Auto Parts’-  thinks his site’s highest and best use is a new, 140 unit apartment building. Several members of the community certainly disagreed at the hearing. Continue reading

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New Gym Planned for Greenpoint & Manhattan Ave

There are plans to convert the old Chopin Theatre at 910 Manhattan Avenue into a full-service gym! The existing Starbucks will remain on the ground floor where you can stock up on calories to burn off in the 13,700 square foot health club. While no pool is planned, there will be a full range of equipment, classrooms, locker rooms and sauna & steam rooms. At last night’s CB1 public hearing, a representative for the building owner stated that they have plans to develop and independently operate the gym with a capacity for roughly 250 people. The proposed operating hours are 5AM-12AM on weekdays and 8AM-9PM on weekends, which some neighborhood residents felt allowed the gym to be open too late. Perhaps most importantly, the building owner has plans to keep the majestic eagle perched on top of the building!

So, Greenpointers, is a gym the right use of space for the old theatre? What kind of classes would you take at the gym?

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Transmitter Park Opens Saturday!

WNYC Transmitter Park Map

Two years and 12 million dollars later, Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park is set to open this Saturday. The 1.6 acre park will feature an open lawn, play area, bird garden and new pier. The pier, however, will not be finished for several months. According the to the NY Post, the existing building in the park will eventually be outfitted with public restrooms and a café. Soak up the rays while you still can – Labor Day is only 2 weeks away!

How will you use the new waterfront space? Picnics? Sunbathing? Birding?

 

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Kickstarter Furthers Brooklyn’s Tech Boom!

Fellow Greenpointer Nathaniel Ziering tipped me off that Kickstarter is moving their headquarters from Manhattan to Greenpoint! The fast growing company provides crowd-sourced funding for creative projects, many of which have come from Greenpoint.  In March, plans were approved for Kickstarter to renovate 58 Kent Street, a Landmarked, vacant building located between Franking & West streets. As you can see from the picture, this one could really use a tune-up! Kickstarter’s move to Greenpoint is a big vote of confidence for the neighborhood, will be great for the local economy and continue the momentum of businesses choosing Brooklyn as their new home. Continue reading

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