The development site, with Voorhies Avenue to the south and Sheepshead Bay Road to the north.
The developers behind the 30-story residential tower slated for 1501 Voorhies Avenue are envisioning a luxurious haven for the area’s wealthiest residents, housed behind a gated entrance on Sheepshead Bay Road and with units starting at $700,000, Sheepshead Bites has learned.
Muss Development and AvalonBay, the development team behind the planned 280,000-square-foot, 333-foot tall proposal, briefed community stakeholders at an off-the-record, behind-closed-doors meeting a week before Sheepshead Bites shed light on the plans. Several people at the meeting shared details with this publication on the condition of anonymity, since the meeting was considered a courtesy and not required by the developer.
What emerged from their description is the first glimpse of a luxurious project that will change the physical and, potentially, the socio-economic landscape of the Sheepshead Bay Road area.
The most immediate effect of the plans is an impending demolition of a storefront on Sheepshead Bay Road at East 16th Street. Where the prior developers sought to create a street that runs through to Voorhies Avenue, Muss and AvalonBay will create a pedestrian walkway. Attendees at the meeting said renderings shared with the group showed that the walkway was a gated private entrance to the complex’s grounds.
Behind the gates was a roundabout that caps off a long driveway from Voorhies Avenue, where vehicles will enter. The 52 outdoor parking spots will be to the east, the building, with its 124 garage spots, will be on the west, abutting the subway station. It’s unclear if the Voorhies Avenue driveway will be gated or have a security booth like Muss’ Oceana Development.
The building itself will soar 333 feet into the sky at its highest point, but a portion of the building – possibly the garage – will only be a few stories tall, capped off with an outdoor common space that could have a pool and be connected to a gym and health spa. They’re considering alternative amenities for the outdoor space as well, including a dog run. The building will be pet-friendly.
Three other developments by the same architect, Perkins Eastman, for the same developer, Avalon Bay (Source: Perkins Eastman) (Click to enlarge)
The price is not for the weak of wallet. Our sources said that units are designed to be comparable to the Oceana Development, and will begin at $700,000 for a one-bedroom. One attendee told Sheepshead Bites that prices are based on a $700 per square foot rate, though this couldn’t be confirmed by others in attendance (most of the details shared here were corroborated by multiple sources). None of our sources could provide the proposed price for the building’s most expensive units, but at the Oceana they were marketed for approximately $2.1 million when the building first opened.
All of our sources say that the building will be split between rentals and owned condos, with Muss selling the condos and AvalonBay managing the rental properties. One of the sources said the bottom two-thirds of the building will be rental, while the top third will be owned condos. No proposed rates were given for the rentals.
Rental tenants and condo owners would enter using the same entrance and use the same parking lot. However, of three elevators, two will be for both renters and owners, and one will be owners only.
Each attendee that we spoke to emphasized that the developer stated that the plans are far from set in stone and are only drafts; they’re subject to change.
Our sources told us that little opposition to the plan was raised by those in attendance, which included representatives for local elected officials and members of Community Board 15. Instead, they questioned specifics of the development that could be problematic.
Multiple attendees asked about affordable housing units, and were told “absolutely not.”
Parking was also a key issue raised by the stakeholders, with some saying 176 parking spaces for 250 units plus office spaces, although the minimum required by zoning, was far from sufficient for the neighborhood.
The developer responded saying that the building’s proximity to the subway station would make it unlikely tenants would have cars. One source told us that the developer said they believed much of the parking lot would sit empty most of the time.
This was described alternately by almost all of our sources as “bullshit” and “horseshit.”
Parking wasn’t the only vehicle-related issue raised. Voorhies Avenue is often at a standstill during the day, especially at that location where vehicles stop to pick up or drop off commuters at the train station, and a constant flow of cars depart the Belt Parkway at the exit ramp directly across from their proposed driveway.
The developer told attendees they’re working with the Department of Transportation to figure out the best road configuration to accommodate vehicles entering and exiting the property’s driveway. A Stop Sign on the property is being considered.
Sound and vibrations from the subway, just feet away from the property, was also discussed. The developers told attendees that the building would have special windows to block out the sound.
Among other concerns that came up was the additional stress that the highrise would place on sewage infrastructure, already criticized by some as deficient to handle the number of homes and businesses in the area. The developer said they’re conducting an environmental impact study. One source said the developer completed the study and found that there would be no problems to the infrastructure, but this was contradicted by another source. Other sources could not recall.
The building’s plans are still being reviewed by the Department of Building, and one source said they expect it that it will be put to a more vigorous process than most – although it will likely pass. The building is as-of-right and completely within zoning, so it will not need approval from the Community Board.
The developer told attendees they expect to begin construction by spring 2015 if all goes smoothly.
Demolition of the Sheepshead Bay Road storefront will happen within the coming days.