Nearly a year after a seven-alarm fire ravaged the CitiStorage building in Williamsburg, the fate of the hotly contested land remains in limbo. On Sunday, the fire’s anniversary, Friends of Bushwick Inlet Park will gather to once again call on the city to turn the controversial plot into parkland.
real estate + development
Tenants and activists who are part of the Stand for Tenant Safety Coalition (STS) rallied outside of 90 Elizabeth Street this morning before marching to City Hall to show their support for a package of bills that would address construction-related harassment. Today marks an important landmark for the coalition’s fight against landlords who are taking advantage of a lack of oversight and toothless fines.
Swiping in at the Nassau stop yesterday, I happened to look down to the ground, and instead of spent MetroCards, I found a smattering of small flyers printed by the Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN) depicting two rather gentlemanly pigs looking fondly into one another’s eyes, carving up a piece of juicy meat with utensils. The fat slab reads “Brooklyn,” while the rest of the flyer called on residents to join BAN outside the Brooklyn Museum. Starting at 7 a.m., protestors demonstrated their outrage against the annual Brooklyn Real Estate Summit happening inside, and emphasizing that, in general, they’re not really cool with Brooklyn being treated like a fine cut of meat. “Land is for people, not necessarily for the elite,” a community garden activist told the crowd. “Brooklyn’s not for sale! Brooklyn’s not for sale!” the protestors chanted back.
The Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning transformed the East River waterfront area (and other pockets, including along parts of the BQE) from “mixed use” industrial districts to solely residential ones. Things may have proceeded quickly since 2005, but the transition has not been a seamless one– a new interactive resource, the Greenpoint-Williamsburg ToxiCity Map tells us why.
The map, spearheaded by Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), a community group with a long history of fighting environmental degradation in North Brooklyn, reveals the sometimes toxic remnants of the area’s industrial past as a colorful barrage of moveable dots and lines. “A lot of factories were there, operating with a lot of chemicals, a lot of spills– I think that’s important to remember,” explained Rita Beth Pasarell, a board member at NAG. “For good old history, but also because there are a lot of health impacts associated with the chemicals, and in order to avoid them we have to know what chemicals are where.”
Well, Brooklyn’s newest luxury high rise isn’t mincing words – its motto, “the first to rise above the rest,” pretty much sums up the attitude of developers MNS and its latest physical manifestation. Standing 13 stories tall at the corner of Driggs in Williamsburg, 190 South 1st Street started contracting out its 32 luxury units about a month and a half ago and is currently 20-percent in contract, according to an MNS spokesperson. It’s expected to be move-in ready by late fall, early winter 2016.
It was more than a little depressing to see the first North Brooklyn Farms get clobbered by bulldozers last fall, even if everybody knew it was coming. But as of this weekend, the farm is back and better than ever with Sunday night dinner parties, a fireworks viewing, and a host of other community events extending through the tolerable months. But best of all is that North Brooklyn Farms, now the Farm on Kent, will be an accessible plot of nature for the neighborhood’s residents.
Williamsburg activists are strengthening their calls for the city to acquire the site of a massive storage-facility fire even as the prime waterfront land has reportedly been optioned to developers.
It’s official: a trio of old buildings on the Bowery, one of them dating back to 1799, are slated for demolition according to permits filed with the Department of Buildings. There had been speculation that 140 and 142 Bowery would be torn down ever since they went on the market last year. Now it looks like 138 Bowery will be joining them, as permits for its demolition were filed the same day under the same LLC.
The long in-the-works Orchard Street Hotel is slated to open next week, according to general manager Angela Fiore. The hotel, at 163 Orchard Street between Rivington and Stanton Streets, is already taking reservations on Booking.com, where a deluxe queen room is going for $129 a night, a 75-percent discount off the original $499.99. The site says there’s an on-site bar, mentions that “certain rooms offer a view of the city,” and touts its proximity to the Lower East Side’s nightlife.
Mayor De Blasio isn’t the only one pushing workspace for artists — it’s also being added by at least one private developer. Gene Kaufman — an architect better known for his controversial hotels — has designed a mixed-use studio building in East Williamsburg that will open in fall of 2016.