real estate + development

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Gabriel Byrne, Electeds Try to Save Elizabeth St. Garden From New Threat

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

(photo: Cassidy Dawn Graves)

Walking down Soho’s Elizabeth Street can feel like a neverending vortex of high-class retail, where the designer clothing racks outnumber the people. That is, until you arrive at the lush, green Elizabeth Street Garden, between Prince and Spring Streets. The green “oasis” (as many have dubbed it) and community hub is once again being actively considered for a site for affordable senior housing, a decision that has long been opposed by Community Board 2 but supported by the area’s City Council member Margaret Chin.

The 20,000-square-foot garden is city-owned, but privately leased by gallerist Allan Reiver, who initially planned to use it to store his sculptures but opened it up as a unique respite from the city’s concrete surroundings, full of colorful flowers, green grass, seating areas, and many eye-catching sculptures. Volunteer-run, the garden has been used for community events, education, performances, film screenings, and an annual Harvest Festival. Some of these events draw hundreds of people, located in a neighborhood the NYC Parks Department has previously identified as “underserved by open space.”

Last week, news surfaced that the NYC Housing and Preservation Development (HPD) had officially issued a Request for Proposals to develop the land the garden stands on. Wednesday afternoon, dozens gathered in the garden for a press conference, bearing signs and passionately asserting their garden’s right to remain where it is.

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New, Upscale ‘Industrial Arts Complex’ for Bushwick Artists in Search of ‘Dynamic’ Spaces

(Rendering courtesy of Mann Group)

(Rendering courtesy of Mann Group)

We’ve known about the impending “injection of luxury” slated for Bushwick– the three- and four-story types have been popping up for a while now, and emerging residential plans are starting to look more and more like the glassy condominium buildings and fancy new high-rises of the Williamsburg waterfront and Lower East Side. The neighborhood got its very first boutique hotel earlier this year and continues to see the development of fancy-dorm-like compounds, Colony 1209 for one. Hell, Bushwick’s even getting its very own “European Village” (although not everyone’s ready to welcome the newcomers’ plans to “interrupt” the current order).

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Community Urges City Council to Reconsider Houston Street Upzoning

(Photo: Luisa Rollenhagen)

(Photo: Luisa Rollenhagen)

East Houston street is currently a hotbed of development, as any casual stroll down the street will reveal. Endless scaffolding, boarded-up properties, fences, and signs announcing new things to come line the sidewalks of lots previously occupied by local shops, community facilities, and residential buildings. Although a 2008 rezoning was implemented, ostensibly to preserve the existing buildings and the affordable housing that many of them contained, developers who bought up a sliver of land at 255 East Houston Street may get a special rezoning through of their own.

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With City’s Offer Expired, Sun Might Be Setting on Bushwick Inlet Park

(Photo: Matthew Caton)

(Photo: Matthew Caton)

After 60 days on the table, the city’s offer to pay the former CitiStorage site’s owner $100 million for the final parcel of the long-promised Bushwick Inlet Park has officially expired. With Norman Brodsky’s default rejection of the offer (less than half the $250 million he was hoping for) questions emerge as to whether the Williamsburg waterfront park—which was first promised in 2005 as part of a rezoning deal that allowed for more high-rise developments in the sought-after neighborhood—will ever be completely finished.

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Notorious East Village Landlord Uses Street Art to Paint a Prettier Picture

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

(Photo: Nicole Disser)

Earlier this year, when the East Village’s beloved Stage Restaurant closed in the wake of a dispute with its landlord Icon Realty Management, Brooklyn-based artist Gilf! plastered the diner’s former home with caution tape reading “Gentrification in Progress.” It wasn’t the first time one of the company’s properties was the site of artistic protest: Karen Platt, a resident of an Icon-owned building on East 5th Street, has been known to chalk up the sidewalk with messages like “Enough Is Enough,” and over July 4th weekend, someone spray-painted a message on the sidewalk in front of the now for-rent Stage space that advised, “DO NOT RENT HERE. DO NOT BUY HERE. BOYCOTT IN EFFECT.”

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Pols Outraged Over Rivington House, Seek to Keep More Non-Profit Spaces From Being Flipped

(photo by Kavitha Surana)

(photo by Kavitha Surana)

Public officials are demanding, in louder and louder voices, to know why and how the city quietly allowed a Lower East Side building once reserved for non-profit use to be turned into luxury housing. Today, local politicians gathered to push for stronger transparency and oversight, to prevent it from happening again.

The former schoolhouse at 45 Rivington was operated by VillageCare as an AIDS/HIV treatment facility, under a deed restriction established in 1992 that limited the building to non-profit usage. Since the HIV crisis has dimmed in the Lower East Side, the facility was no longer needed at capacity. At the end of 2014, VillageCare sought to sell it to a for-profit nursing-home operator, Allure Group, with local officials’ understanding that it would remain some kind of medical facility for the general population, likely for the many seniors in the neighborhood.

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MINI to Turn Old Brooklyn Bazaar Space into Eatery, Gallery, and Creative ‘Pipeline’

Rendering of new A/D/O space

Rendering of new A/D/O space

Last May when we first heard the Brooklyn Night Bazaar was being evicted so that its Greenpoint warehouse could be rented by BMW, everyone kind of assumed the waterfront was getting its own car dealership. Sure, it seemed unlikely a few years ago that there’d be a booming market for luxury cars anywhere near the L train, but then again stranger things have happened under gentrification. ($100 golden doughnut, anyone?)

But then we got a mysterious invitation to “learn more about the unique design plan, creative offerings and community integration” that BMW is preparing for 29 Norman Avenue. During a tour of the construction site, we learned the space won’t (exactly) be dedicated to selling cars. Instead it’s a gambit to tap into all the “creative energy” gushing around Brooklyn and see if it can give MINI, the speciality car brand owned by BMW, fresh eyes on what the young’uns are plugged into.

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Nine Things to Know about the Brooklyn Generator’s 14-Block Rezoning Plan

Rendering of 25 Kent Avenue, Toby Moskovits's waterfront office complex (Image via Steelblue Consulting / Heritage Equity)

Rendering of 25 Kent Avenue, Toby Moskovits’s waterfront office complex (Image via Steelblue Consulting / Heritage Equity)

Last night at Brooklyn Borough Hall, Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna took aim at a 14-block rezoning proposal that would allow for the construction of Brooklyn Generator, an eight-story, 480,000-square-foot office complex slated for development in Williamsburg. The special permit being sought by developer Heritage Equity and the Department of City Planning would transform a majority of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Industrial Business Zone and have major implications for the IBZ’s fast-shrinking homegrown industry as well as the city as a whole.

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Here’s What That ‘Sad Kitchen Shower’ Apartment Looks Like Today

(Photo by Scott Lynch)

(Photo by Scott Lynch)

About a year ago, local media flew into a tizzy when Gothamist came across a listing for a most unusual abode. “This New York Apartment Is So Cramped The Shower Is Actually In The Kitchen,” wrote Buzzfeed. “Someone Is Paying $1,795/Month For This Sad Kitchen Shower,” blared Curbed.  Even the The New Yorker went for a jaunt around the premises, curious to catalogue this rare species.

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Is the Future of Williamsburg Industry Worth Betting for an ‘Experiment’?

Rendering of 25 Kent Avenue, Toby Moskovits's waterfront office complex (Image via Steelblue Consulting / Heritage Equity)

Rendering of 25 Kent Avenue, Toby Moskovits’s waterfront office complex (Image via Steelblue Consulting / Heritage Equity)

Already ground zero for some of the city’s most dramatic rezonings, Williamsburg is facing yet another contentious development: an eight-story, 480,000-square-foot office complex known as the Brooklyn Generator. On Tuesday, Community Board 1 met to vote on whether or not to support the creation of a special mixed-use zone that would allow developers to move forward with the massive project. And they didn’t take the matter lightly. “This is going to affect us for the rest of our lives,” CB1 chairperson Dealice Fuller said of the board’s decision.

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Stay Woke With New Gentrification Podcast from WNYC and The Nation

via WNYC

via WNYC

If you’ve lived here more than a second, you know the drill: A bodega closes up, a cocktail bar goes in– you roll your eyes, shrug your shoulders. “Gentrification,” you sigh, staring bleakly into your $10 cocktail.

But Rebecca Carroll, a producer at WNYC and co-creator of a new podcast examining that very phenomenon, says that the bougie coffee shop or new chocolate artisan isn’t exactly worth fixating on– they’re only symbols of the last stage of the process. “At that point, when those markers arrive, that ship has kind of sailed,” she said.  “I think that’s one of the things that people don’t realize. [Gentrification] is a multi-pronged-beast kind of process, that involves a lot of moving parts.”

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Cheap, Quirky Sanford & Sven Quits W’burg; This Weasel Diorama Is Half Off

(Photo by Sven Wechsler)

(Photo by Sven Wechsler)

It’s the end of the road for Sanford & Sven’s Second Hand. After seven years of feeding the experiments of artists, indie music video directors, restaurant owners and other antique-rummaging creatives at 106 North Third Street, the shop is closing soon. Not that the owner, Sven Wechsler, is surprised. He’s seen the writing on the wall for a while now– the crop of new condos encroaching on his block doesn’t look too friendly to a reasonably-priced antique store.

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