Archive for the tag 'development'

Ed Eisenberg will be remembered with a street co-naming in Manhattan Beach.

Bullet Points” is our format for Community Board 15 meeting coverage, providing takeaways we think are important. Information in Bullet Points is meant only to be a quick summary, and some issues may be more deeply explored in future articles.

Ed, Immortal: Community Board 15 unanimously voted to support a proposal to co-name Kensington Street at Oriental Boulevard after longtime activist Ed Eisenberg, who passed away in March.

The proposal came at the request of Eisenberg’s wife, Eileen, who still resides on the block, and his sons Leigh and Glenn, through the offices of Councilman Chaim Deutsch.

When the proposal came up at Tuesday night’s meeting, it received resounding support from the Board members who cheered on the idea of honoring the local mensch who devoted so much of his life to Manhattan Beach and the surrounding communities.

Eisenberg passed away suddenly in March at the age of 79. He’s fondly remembered for his 40-year record of advocacy on behalf of local parks and civic groups, as well as his personal quirks and amusing costumes.

“I think if anyone deserves it, it’s him,” Chairperson Theresa Scavo told Sheepshead Bites in an interview after the meeting. “He loved this community and did everything he could to make it better.”

A letter stating the Board’s support will be sent to Councilman Deutsch’s office, who will bring it to the City Council for review by the Parks Committee, and ultimately a floor vote. It’s expected to pass without resistance.

Zoning Items:

  • 3540 Nostrand Avenue: The McDonald’s location on this had to request a special permit to continue running a business here because there is a drive-through, which can cause dangerous traffic problems if it isn’t run correctly. The Board approved the permit since there have been no recorded incidents – like a car accident – in relation to the drive-through.
  • 116 Oxford Street: The board approved a proposal to enlarge the living space of a residential home. This residential building was hit by Superstorm Sandy. As part of the new city regulations, houses in flood zones must be raised four feet, causing some, including this one, to lose its basement. The homeowners sought to raise the house to 35 feet, which will push the rear and side yards out.
  • 174 Falmouth Street: This building is “another obvious Sandy victim,” the lawyer that represented this and the other two applicants. The Board voted to allow this home increase its floor area ratio, which requires a special permit.

Other information:

  • The Board shared the news that the building on 1882 East 12st Street is going to be demolished.
  • Board member Ira Tepper pointed out that Councilman Chaim Deutsch hasn’t visited any of the Board’s meetings since being elected. “Is there any reason why he’s dissing us?” Tepper asked Deutsch’s representative.
  • Con Edison will be pruning trees over the next three months to keep limbs from rubbing up against electric wires.
  • Community Board 15 Chairperson Theresa Scavo railed against the fact that liquor stores are not required to inform the Board upon their opening. The Board then passed a resolution to urge local politicians to pass a law requiring liquor license to notify the Community Board.
  • The Sanitation Department will be power washing the Sheepshead Bay station to remove all the “muck.”
  • On the debate of who’s responsible for that small, but annoying, sliver of land under the train overpasses of the B/Q lines: The area, according to the Sanitation Committee, is a problem all-year-round. Who is in charge of cleaning the waste that collects there? And in the winter, who is in charge of shoveling the snow? The committee is trying to settle this debate; although, exactly how something like this is solved wasn’t explained.

Correction (May 1, 2014): The original version of this article originally stated that the Board passed a resolution urging legislation requiring liquor stores to seek approval for their license through the Community Board. That was inaccurate; the resolution they passed was urging legislation that required notification only. Also, there was a typo in the address of the home to be demolished. Both have been corrected.

Source: Murdock Solon

Source: Murdock Solon

A real estate management company linked to the owner of one of the city’s leading necktie manufacturers and wholesalers has taken over a swath of Kings Highway real estate, with plans to redevelop the property into a five-story retail and office development.

Several stores on the northern side of the corridor, from East 16th Street to East 17th Street, have shuttered in recent months, including the area’s McDonald’s restaurant. The building appears to still be owned by Kingsway Realty, according to city records, which has had its name inscribed on the facade since taking over the property in 1973.

1601-1607 Kings Highway, where several stores have shuttered in recent months to make way for redevelopment.

1601-1607 Kings Highway, where several stores have shuttered in recent months to make way for redevelopment. (Photo by Ned Berke)

Now plans are being considered by the Department of Buildings to tear down the two-story structure occupying the 17,880-square-foot lot, originally built in 1930, and replace it with a brand new facility, anchored by two floors of retail shopping and three floors of office space.

The building is being designed by the architectural firm of Murdock Solon. Renderings on their website show an ultra-modern design, featuring large bulked-out windows, a patterned facade and setbacks with rooftop gardens to be viewed by the office workers on the upper levels.

With escalators drawn into the middle of the retail space, it appears the developer may be aiming to attract a large retail tenant to occupy the bulk of the space.

There is parking for 25 vehicles and five bicycles in the basement level of the property, according to documents submitted to the DOB. The new building will stand 79 feet tall, and have 67,355 square-feet of space.

Although Kingsway appears to still be the owner of the property according to ACRIS, the online database of the City Register, the plans were submitted to the DOB on behalf of Lake Realty Inc., naming Walter Schik as the officer.

Schik is an Austrian-Jewish immigrant who fled Nazi persecution. Resettled in New York, he founded Bentley Cravats in 1947, which manufactures neckties, bow ties and other neckware.

Lake Realty Management LLC, which appears to be the official name of the company as registered with the state, manages a handful of properties in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including a nearby apartment building at 1233 East 19th Street.

Calls to Schik’s office were not returned.

The plans for the new five-story building were rejected in March, with the Department of Buildings stating that the drawings were incomplete. Calls to Murdock Solon for a status update were not returned.

Photos via Murdock Solon.

3041-ocean2

A new premier, luxury, incredible, modern, state-of-the-art condominium development is headed to 3041 Ocean Avenue, between Voorhies Avenue and Jerome Avenue.

The former site of a medical center (minus one of those, natch), fencing went up at the site a few weeks ago, and a fancy-shmancy rendering of the site has been posted.

And, all my broker-babble derision aside, it actually looks pretty nice.

The Department of Buildings approved the plan on March 17. It’ll feature nine floors in all. The top seven stories will be home to 40-units (six on six of the floors, four on the top floor).

If you’re thinking, “Oh, great, I bet there’ll be a medical office on the first two floors,” well, you’re wrong. It looks like this developer is actually paying attention to the fact that they’re in a flood zone, and the ground level floor will be used for a lobby and garage for 30 cars and 20 bicycles, with flood-proofed storage space.

The second floor will have parking for 27 cars (including dedicated handicapped spots). This is where they’ll also be putting the mechanical equipment and boilers to protect them from potential flooding.

For those keeping track, that’s 40 units and 57 parking spaces, plus parking for 20 bicycles. Zoning for this lot requires only 20 parking spaces. So, yes, someone in this neighborhood actually put more parking than is legally required! Hell hath frozen over!

Moving on, the roof will not be dormant. The plans call for an “outdoor recreation area.”

The new owner, an LLC connected to local entrepreneur Sergey Rybak (one of the partners in the $20 million MatchPoint NYC sports development on Shell Road), bought the 12,650 square-foot lot in September 2013 for $4.1 million.

It’s too soon to say how much units here might cost. A note on the sign said more information will become available in September 2014.

3041-ocean

7 Corbin Place (Source: Google Maps)

7 Corbin Place (Source: Google Maps)

Plans for a seven-story mixed-use building at 7 Corbin Place have neighbors ticked off, and opponents are plotting a grassroots challenge to get the city to nix the proposal.

The eight-unit building will include medical offices and “community facilities” on the lower floors, and is compliant with zoning. But neighbors say it will increase traffic, exacerbate parking issues and cause structural problems for an adjacent building at 9 Corbin Place, with which it’ll share a chimney.

“Our main concern is that … they’re planning a medical office and community center for senior citizens, and that’s what everyone’s nervous about because traffic there is already a nightmare,” said Corbin Place resident Galina Zhitomirsky.

Zhitomirsky noted that seven streets already feed into Corbin Place. The building itself is wedged adjacent to two other intersections, and Corbin Place is the terminus for several blocks including Brighton 13th Street, Brighton 14th Street and others. During the summer, she said, parking is already a nightmare as it’s the second street with year-round parking for Manhattan Beach patrons, since visitors can’t use that neighborhood’s streets. Furthermore, Zhitomirsky noted the presence of P.S. 225 around the corner, which further adds to congestion and parking issues. “Corbin Place is very congested as it is and to have medical offices and labs and a senior citizen center; it’d be a nightmare.”

The site is the intersection of three streets. (Source: Google Maps)

The site is the intersection of three streets. (Source: Google Maps)

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz publicly joined the fight yesterday, issuing a press release criticizing the developers for taking advantage of zoning laws and being inconsiderate of neighbors.

“Just because something is ‘as of right’ doesn’t mean it’s in the best interests of the community,” Cymbrowitz said in the press release.

The building will be located at the intersection of Corbin Place, Cass Place and Brighton 12th Street on the Sheepshead Bay – Brighton Beach – Manhattan Beach border. According to the local pol, a nearby outpatient drug treatment center on Brighton 12th Street already brings a glut of ambulettes to the block.

“Traffic and parking here are a nightmare. Throw in the additional ambulettes dropping off and picking up patients, people using the community facilities and residents with more than one car and what you end up with is a situation that is a quality-of-life nightmare,” said Cymbrowitz. He added that nearly 50 neighbors have contacted his office about the building.

The assemblyman has requested a Department of Transportation traffic study, and will soon turn to the Department of City Planning to reduce the zoning for that particular tax lot.

The building itself is classified as a six-story building – keeping it within zoning guidelines. It’s six stories plus a ground floor that will not be used as livable space, a height bonus allowed for by regulations for developments in flood vulnerable areas. The ground level will be used for parking and storage.

Neighbors are organizing a meeting tonight in the community room of 134 West End Avenue at 7:30 p.m. to further map out their opposition. They’ve confirmed the attendance of several local elected officials, and are mulling whether to take their fight before the community board later this month.

“Everyone we’ve talked to has been very against this,” said Zhitomirsky. “We’re listening to Cymbrowitz’s office and everyone else to see what they recommend we do.”

The property’s owner, however, has not been invited.

“We’re not even sure who they are,” said Zhitomirsky.

City records indicate that the 4,095-square-foot lot, with the two-story home, was purchased in December for $1,225,000. The buyer purchased the house under a generically named limited liability corporation, but the address is shared by Maximillion Realty at 101 Avenue U. The Department of Buildings approved the construction plans on January 16, 2014.

Alex Novikov, an agent at Maximillion Realty, confirmed to Sheepshead Bites that he is one of the owners. He added that he has no intention of bending to neighbors’ concerns.

“They already came many times to the Department of Buildings. They got many answers already. They’re a little bit out of their minds, that’s all,” Novikov said. “This is a question to the commissioner of the Buildings Department. It has nothing to do with the newspaper … We’re going to move forward according to the plans approved by the Buildings Department.”

A residential development on Banner Avenue has changed hands for a second time after a dramatic turnaround under its previous owners.

GFI Capital Resources Group’s Irongate Realty Partners has sold the two adjoined apartment buildings to Hudson Companies for $39.5 million. The company purchased the then-beleaguered site for $17.5 million in January 2012.

Boasting 102 units at 2750 East 12th Street and 1125 Banner Avenue, the buildings began construction in the real estate boom in 2006. When the market tanked construction stalled, and it appeared there was little interest in the condo units that began in the $300,000 range. At the time, one building was 95 percent complete, and the other 70 percent.

Irongate purchased the property, completed the construction and went forward with an upscale, exclusively rental approach. It is now 90 percent occupied.

“GFI’s strategy created an attractive buying opportunity for The Hudson Companies, who saw a rare opportunity to acquire a best-in-class new construction asset with waterfront views in a prime Brooklyn location,” GFI Realty Services’ Yosef Katz said in a statement, reported by the Commercial Observer.

We’re not sure where those waterfront views might be, but it’s nice to see a stalled site reactivated, and turned into what might be one of 2014′s biggest residential real estate deals in the area.

Source: www.ny.curbed.com

Rendering of the completed development.

We’ve written before about Brighton Beach’s Bright ‘N Green development, a sustainable residential development with state-of-the-art green design.

The eco-friendly building at 67 Brighton First Lane was approaching completion last fall, and the six units ranging in price from $325,00 to $850,000 hit the market in November.

No one has bought one yet, but the building has drawn the eyes of environmentalists, who are praising it for its net positive design, meaning it will actually sell energy back into the grid. It also has a number of other features, like an independent sewage system that composts human waste for the gardens outside, massive solar panels, sustainable and recycled materials and more – while not sacrificing luxury.

The features have earned it certification for LEED, EPA, four Green Globes and other honors for environmental design. It’s currently in the running for Living Building certification, the most extreme building standard in the nation, and if it earns it Bright ‘N Green will be the first multifamily development in the country to do so.

But while such things might normally attract endless chatter in the design and environmental cliques, it’s the developer himself who has tongues wagging.

As we’ve noted before, Robert Scarano isn’t the most reputable character in New York City real estate. A decade ago, the architect was banned by the Department of Buildings for submitting false and misleading paperwork, and he spurred a crackdown on and reforms of the self-certification process. He became the poster child for abuses in over-development and the Building Department’s lax oversight.

The Daily News recently toured the development with Scarano, and depicted him as a brash egomaniac determined to reinvent himself as an eco-warrior.

Here are a few choice quotes from the piece:

  • “The air in this building is better than the air in a Columbia-Presbyterian surgical suite,” Scarano boasted on a recent tour. “The water is like if you put a spoon in the Catskill reserves.”
  • “It’ll look like that National Geographic documentary about what would happen if the people left and all the plants took over,” Scarano joked. “It’s totally different than the projects I used to do.”
  • Scarano said the hullaballoo was merely a matter of interpretation of the zoning law … “Quite frankly, I said I did nothing wrong, but I guess I must have done something wrong to be vilified like that,” Scarano says today.
  • With that gleam in his eye, Scarano is proud to show off [the sewage composting] technology, opening the lid and declaring, “That’s the worker doo-doo by the way.” Next, in a moment of TMI, he declares: “I got the honor of christening it!

With the units having been on the market for five months without a sale (and, in fact, an increase in price), we’ll be keeping an eye on these units in an area less than well known for environmental consciousness. And once people move in, we’re eager to find out just how well those systems hold up.

Rendering of the interior of one of the one bedroom lofts.

1616sheepshead

The Enterprize Gift & Jewelry store has moved from its 1601 Sheepshead Bay Road location across the street to 1616 Sheepshead Bay Road, co-locating with a new salon named Deniz Hair Salon. That storefront was previously occupied by J’Adore Paris, which closed in December.

It’s the latest business to move out of the strip from the northern side of Sheepshead Bay Road between East 16th Street and Jerome Avenue, leaving Anatolian Gyro as the last remaining tenant of the building. As we’ve previously reported, Anatolian Gyro will soon move to 2623 East 16th Street, just around the corner.

The exodus is due to the landlord’s plans to renovate the strip. The landlord, Waldorf Realty, is also renovating two other stretches on and near Sheepshead Bay Road, leaving many vacant storefronts as it prepares for construction.

The other stores in this building were Eye Appeal, which already moved to 1508 Sheepshead Bay Road, and Zeetron, an electronics repair shop that never reopened after Superstorm Sandy.

Waldorf recently started prepping another Sheepshead Bay Road property at Voorhies Avenue last fall, containing six ground-floor businesses, for a face-lift. They’re also nearing completion on a renovation of another batch of storefronts on the corner of Avenue Z and East 16th Street.

enterprize

Source: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, there are a lot of talk about how to help Sheepshead Bay bounce back economically. A key question to most is how to make the area more appealing to visitors; a getaway for city-dwellers, and an off-the-beaten-path destination for out of towners.

One of the more promising initiatives is the Capstone project we told you about a few weeks ago, which is working on a plan to strengthen our commercial corridors and bring tourists to the area. At a workshop earlier this month, attendees were told that no idea was too big, too outlandish to be considered, and that they should run wild with their dreams.

Well, one resident just wrote in to Sheepshead Bites with his own big idea: bring Citi Bike to Southern Brooklyn’s waterfront communities. The reader, Gary, writes:

Dear Ned,
As a new transplant to Sheepshead Bay (I lived in the neighborhood 20 years ago but that’s another story) I am thinking it would be super cool if the neighborhood had Citi-bikes.

There’s probably no other neighborhood better suited for the program –so much to see and, yet we are just far enough from Brighton and Coney Island and Kings Highway and Midwood to make it a pain to walk; but on a bike – a piece of cake. Get a Nathan’s hot dog, check out Plumb beach, get a guitar pick at Norm’s, see a Cyclones game – all under 10 minutes.

I wrote to Citi-bikes and quickly got a response (below) . I’ll follow their initial advice but figured maybe ‘Sheepshead Bites’ can publicize the idea.
Citi-Bikes – not just for hipster neighborhoods.

Thanks in advance, Gary.

 

Dear Gary,
Thank you for contacting NYC Bike Share, operator of Citi Bike.

Please be advised, NYC Department of Transportation and local community boards play a major role in deciding where bike share stations will be located. Any suggestions you have concerning Citi Bike’s station locations should be submitted to NYC DOT via the community outreach and siting form, which you can find on the DOT website. Or, you may call 311 with your comments.
In time we look forward to expanding bike share to neighborhoods across New York City.

Regards,
KeAndrea R
Customer Service Representative
NYC Bicycle Share, LLC

What do you think? Should Citi Bike become a cornerstone of a plan to turbocharge business and tourism in the area?

Update: Reader Lenny M. pipes in to remind me that he called for an Emmons Avenue bike lane back in 2011, arguing in part that it would help fuel commerce in the area.

loehmanns

ONLY ON SHEEPSHEAD BITES: The owners of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza (2027 Emmons Avenue) have submitted plans to the Department of Building to construct a new extension to the controversial building, leaving those who fought its initial construction nearly 20 years ago in a state of shock.

The proposed extension would add a new story of commercial offices, totaling 10,000 square feet. The plans are in violation of zoning and the property’s current variance, and will soon be considered by Community Board 15 and the Board of Standards and Appeals.

One of the property’s owners, Alex Levin, confirmed the expansion.

“We’re looking to expand office space,” he said. “We’re going to bring the elevator up to [a new third] floor. We have our reasons.”

The project’s architect, Robert Palermo, declined to discuss the plans.

“It’s privileged information. When it comes before the board, it’ll be public,” he said.

There is no date set yet for a public hearing at Community Board 15, the first step to obtaining any variance. Chairperson Theresa Scavo said she had not yet been notified by the Board of Standards Appeals.

As a resident, though, she was shocked to learn of the plan.

“Speaking personally, it was against the special Sheepshead zoning district to begin with, and to add a floor is a slap in the face to the people of Sheepshead Bay,” she said. “I cannot believe that adding another floor is going to give the Bay a better look with that monstrosity there.”

The building sits within the Sheepshead Bay special zoning district, which limits the size and use of structures along the Emmons Avenue waterfront. The area is limited to waterfront and tourist-related activities, and special density and height limits govern development.

Many longtime Sheepshead Bay activists credit the development of Loehmann’s Seaport Plaza in the 1990s as the death of the special district, having won a variance that, according to those who fought it, resulted in it being 800 percent larger than legal limits. The exception was won due to the promise of the retail giant Loehmann’s as an anchor tenant, justifying jobs and commercial draw in exchange for its waiver.

Loehmann’s went bankrupt and vacated the property last month.

Bay Improvement Group Steve Barrison, one of the development’s most vocal opponents, said the new application is history repeating itself.

“It’s the same thing all over again. The use exceeds the zoning by 800 percent. It was granted specifically for Loehmann’s and Loehmann’s went out. So that’s it. Unbelievable,” he said. “We’re talking about a special district. We’re talking about the waterfront. We’re not talking about any where else in the community. It’s disgusting.”

Barrison added that there’s little legal justification to allow the variance simply for office space. According to the law, a developer must show that they suffer from certain hardships, as found in section 72-21 of New York’s Zoning Resolution.

“It’s insensitive to the whole community after Sandy,” said Barrison. “All of the people who haven’t moved in or are still rebuilding and trying to get their lives together. Now [this developer] wants to go and build and increase zoning some more when people can’t speak up.”

If Bay Improvement Group decides to fight the variance, they’ll be fighting a different developer than they did in the 1990s. The building was sold to Levin in 2008 for $24 million, a local real estate record at the time.

1882 East 12th Street (Source: Google Maps)

1882 East 12th Street (Source: Google Maps)

After a long and bitter battle with Homecrest neighbors, the Department of Buildings has ordered the owner of a home being built on East 12th Street to submit new plans or tear the house down, Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz announced today.

The home at 1882 East 12th Street has been the site of sour relations for eight years, with local advocates and neighbors saying that the building is not only built outrageously beyond zoning restrictions, but in a dangerous manner.

The property owner, Joseph Durzieh, classified the construction as an alteration when filing plans to do the DOB. But the building appears to be a entirely new structure built around a one-story bungalow – but without the necessary foundation to keep it stable. Critics say it should have been classified as a new construction – and forced to seek permission to construct a building that towers over its neighbors.

The property owner has previously received stop work orders and restraining orders, and a Kings County Supreme Court judge called the city agency’s decision to allow construction to proceed “arbitrary and capricious.”

“For eight years the people of East 12th Street battled the Board of Standards and Appeals, battled the Department of Buildings and battled a bureaucracy that seemed stacked against them even though common sense was on their side,” Cymbrowitz said in a press release. “Anyone who saw this five-story monster of a house at 1882 East 12th Street knew it didn’t belong there. Neighbors lost sleep because they imagined the structure falling down around them. At last, justice has prevailed.”

Cymbrowitz met with Brooklyn Buildings Commissioner Ira Gluckman in January, during which Gluckman expressed “deep concerns that the architect’s plans did not accurately deal with structural issues in the building,” and the agency issued a stop work order.

Now the department has requested an emergency declaration to raze the building, giving the owner 60 days to submit new plans or tear down the home. If Durzieh fails to comply, the city will send a wrecking ball – and a bill to Durzieh for the work.

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