The 411 on 211 McGuinness Boulevard

Roof deck and pool rendering by Gene Kaufman
The future of Greenpoint comes with rooftop pools. Rendering by Gene Kaufman

Unless you’ve been living in a hole underground (or must avoid the block because your ex lives around the corner) you have probably noticed that McGuinness Boulevard, between Greenpoint Avenue and Calyer, is about to get way douchier fancier.  And so the story goes – Greenpoint continues to get slapped in the face by developers. 

Stellar Management recently broke ground  for a massive mixed-income rental development complete with a rooftop pool and a laundry list of other amenities including a tiered back garden on the first floor, game room, fitness center, fancy lounge, library and concierge.  Oh boy.

The development, designed by the infamous Gene Kaufman, will include 197 apartment units- 20% of which will be affordable housing– along with 21,960 square feet of commercial space, a 112-car garage, and 101-bike storage space. It’s cute they think their tenants will actually have bikes.

The lot, which previously held Risque Pool Hall, a warehouse and Pep Boys auto shop, sold for a whopping $13,900,000 last year.

211 McGuinness Boulevard's sleek lobby. Rendering by Gene Kaufman.
211 McGuinness Boulevard’s sleek lobby. Rendering by Gene Kaufman.

This will be Kaufman’s first mark on Greenpoint, but certainly not his first on North Brooklyn. He plans to have the building mirror the “historic character” of Greenpoint by creating the illusion that the 350-foot facade is nine separate buildings.

“By sectioning the façade, we’ve ensured that, despite its size, the building will fit the scale and historic character of the neighborhood. The extensive use of brick will further that connection, while the prevalence of glass will signal the modern style that is the future of the area and that will make the building a significant part of Greenpoint’s identity,”

I guess if you stare at it long enough, Greenpoint's historic culture? Rendering by Gene Kaufman
I guess if you stare at it long enough, the historic character pops out? Rendering by Gene Kaufman

Kaufman also promises the completed project “will have a tantalizing mix of amenities designed to foster a lively community atmosphere.” Sounds like an ad for a swinger’s party. I can already see those half-naked and well tanned, middle-aged couples whispering in each others’ ears about meeting up in the dark (but freshly painted!) bike storage space. Everyone in the building winks at each other in passing. Gene Kaufman himself promises to tuck you in at night…

Gene K. himself.  Photo credit: David Neff
Sweet dreams.
Photo credit: David Neff

At this point the pricing for the rental units and their tantalizing amenities is unclear, along with the income qualifications for affordable housing. We do know that rental spaces will vary from studio apartments up to two-bedroom.

"I have many leather bound books and my apartment smells like rich mahogany." Library rendering by Gene Kaufman
“I have many leather bound books and my apartment smells like rich mahogany.” Library rendering by Gene Kaufman

As these luxury apartments come onto the scene, inventory goes up and the cost of older units are taking a little dip. According to Brownstoner the average monthly rental cost for a 1 bedroom in Greenpoint currently hovers just above $3,000, and around $3,550 for a 2BR. Landlords of the older buildings are keen to renovate or redevelop so they too, can ask for higher rent prices. This often means current tenants are pushed out, or paid to leave, and inventory goes up.

“Over the last few years, with everything getting a lot more hip, you have a lot more landlords trying to get tenants out, and that means more inventory,” saya Bram Lefevere, a real estate agent with Miron Properties.“The inventory right now is tremendous.” Right. More inventory for the folks who can afford apartments with rooftops described as an “oasis in the sky.”

If we want to salvage any bit of livability in Greenpoint, prevailing issues like rising rent costs, small businesses forced to close shop, and broken promises from developers must continue to be addressed. Here are some folks who are working to change legislation and to truly honor the historical character of the neighborhood:

Take Back NYC

NAG

Matt Mottel and Bushwick residents

Greenpoint: The Transition

These are just a few voices on the scene that aren’t taking “these things happen,” or “what do you expect?” as an answer. Too many small businesses have been forced to close on our watch. We’re a creative bunch, Greenpoint. Let’s hear your thoughts on positive ways we can make the kind of changes we want to see!

About Katie Baker

Katie Baker is a writer and filmmaker in Brooklyn. Contact her at [email protected]

2 Comments

  1. livesroundhere says:

    Thanks for this righteous post.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous says:

    There is nothing to be done. The total essence of this neighborhood has been slowly destroyed over the years as more douchebags come to live here. The Polish community which was what Greenpoint was known for is now extinct because of the overpriced coffee shops, galleries and other monstrosities. The more publicity Greenpoint gets, the more the natives hate the neighborhood. More developments will be rising until it’s a shell of what it was. RIP to the original Greenpoint

    Reply

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