Skip to main content

An amputation at 80 DeKalb makes way for a Forest City Ratner tower

Forest City Ratner's general plan for housing at 80 DeKalb Avenue between Hudson Avenue and Rockwell Place opposite Long Island University (LIU), also known as 625 Fulton Street or Ten MetroTech, has been no secret.

After all, the Final Scope for a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, issued 3/31/06, mentioned plans for 430,000 square feet of residential at the site, due in 2009. The developer's own press releases have alluded to the project. (Above, the south--intact--view from Fulton Street, via General Services Administration, or GSA.)

Unclear, however, was how the project would be accomplished. Would Forest City Ratner convert the entire building--a former chocolate factory itself converted in 1985 into office space--into loftlike housing?

Few clues

Even Joe Chan of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP) had no information about it when asked at a recent community meeting, it's not on the DBP list of residential projects, and a seemingly comprehensive DBP map issued in April didn't include the site. (I've added light blue to the map below, above "BAM District.")

As Bob Guskind of Curbed reported , with the graphic above, a tall narrow tower is planned, 36 floors and 405 feet tall. The lot area for the whole of 10 MetroTech is some 76,000 sf, but this would occupy less than one-seventh of it.

It's part of a march of tall buildings from the Manhattan Bridge down to Atlantic Avenue, including the Oro Tower under construction near the bridge and the Forte Tower at Fulton Street in Fort Greene. The overall effect, I suspect, would be to contextualize the argument for towers at the Atlantic Yards site, though, at 335,187 square feet (according to the permit application, but not the FCR press release, which says 430,000 square feet), it would be smaller than 12 of the 16 towers planned for Atlantic Yards. So there's an argument for density near the transit hub, but the question remains: how much?

The zoning is C6-4, with a Floor Area Ratio, or FAR, of 10, which allows for such a tall building given the large low base. So, curiously enough, the building is being amputated. As the photos below taken from the north side of DeKalb Avenue show, part of the existing office building--or, perhaps, a second building yoked to the extant one and seemingly joined on the outside--is well on the way to demolition.

(Update: A reader points out that one reason to get this project going before the end of the year is to take advantage of the 421-a tax abatement, which will be reformed in 2008. Also, I had questioned whether a variance was needed, but another reader points out that all commercial zones have a residential correspondent.)

Office space

Forest City Ratner is still marketing the rest of the Ten MetroTech as office space, though its claim that the New York State Division of Motor Vehicles remains a client is a bit out of date, given, that the DMV has moved to the developer's Atlantic Center mall. (Photo at right and first photo below, from northwest and northeast perspectives respectively, taken by Norman Oder yesterday.)

And Forest City's web site describes MetroTech as a 16-acre corporate campus surrounding a "two acre Commons featuring rotating art exhibitions, sidewalk dining, entertainment and cultural events, and the feel of a college campus." Well, maybe, but Ten MetroTech is several blocks away.

GSA maintains place

The federal General Services Administration (GSA) has leased space at Ten MetroTech and is still marketing it to sublease. GSA spokeswoman Renee Miscione said the agency, which has leased space since the early 1990s from Forest City Ratner, leases under 150,000 square feet at this point.

Current tenants include the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor, but GSA still has a lot of space. One document Miscione had said there was about 95,000 square feet of space, but the GSA advertisement announces 123,000 square feet.

She noted that GSA does not have to rent to government agencies. "In a case like this, the objective is to lease the space," she said. "It’s not a federal office building, it’s a commercial building where we are leasing space."

"That space is not going to be compromised," she said, when asked about the effect of construction. The pictures suggest that is indeed so, but it could be rather noisy at the north end of the building. The GSA ad says: "Great office space. Great location. You can have it all."

And, it could add, a new residential tower under construction, directly adjacent.
(On Monday, Brownstoner took the picture at right, which shows more of the second floor --notably streetwall and beams--than was visible yesterday.)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Barclays Center/Levy Restaurants hit with suit charging discrimination on disability, race; supervisors said to use vicious slurs, pursue retaliation

The Daily News has an article today, Barclays Center hit with $5M suit claiming discrimination against disabled, while the New York Post headlined its article Barclays Center sued over taunting disabled employees.

While that's part of the lawsuit, more prominent are claims of racial discrimination and retaliation, with black employees claiming repeated abuse by white supervisors, preferential treatment toward Hispanic colleagues, and retaliation in response to complaints.

Two individual supervisors, for example, are charged with  referring to black employees as “black motherfucker,” “dumb black bitch,” “black monkey,” “piece of shit” and “nigger.”

Two have referred to an employee blind in one eye as “cyclops,” and “the one-eyed guy,” and an employee with a nose disorder as “the nose guy.”

There's been no official response yet though arena spokesman Barry Baum told the Daily News they, but take “allegations of this kind very seriously” and have "a zero tolerance policy for…

Behind the "empty railyards": 40 years of ATURA, Baruch's plan, and the city's diffidence

To supporters of Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Yards project, it's a long-awaited plan for long-overlooked land. "The Atlantic Yards area has been available for any developer in America for over 100 years,” declared Borough President Marty Markowitz at a 5/26/05 City Council hearing.

Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, mused on 11/15/05 to WNYC's Brian Lehrer, “Isn’t it interesting that these railyards have sat for decades and decades and decades, and no one has done a thing about them.” Forest City Ratner spokesman Joe DePlasco, in a 12/19/04 New York Times article ("In a War of Words, One Has the Power to Wound") described the railyards as "an empty scar dividing the community."

But why exactly has the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Vanderbilt Yard never been developed? Do public officials have some responsibility?

At a hearing yesterday of the Brooklyn Borough Board Atlantic Yards Committee, Kate Suisma…

Barclays Center event June 11 to protest plans to expand Israeli draft; questions about logistics

At right is a photo of a poster spotted in Hasidic Williamsburg right. Clearly there's an event scheduled at the Barclays Center aimed at the Haredi Jewish community (strict Orthodox Jews who reject secular culture), but the lack of English text makes it cryptic.

The website Matzav.com explains, Protest Against Israeli Draft of Bnei Yeshiva Rescheduled for Barclays Center:
A large asifa to protest the drafting of bnei yeshiva in Eretz Yisroel into the Israeli army that had been set to take place this month will instead be held on Sunday, 17 Sivan/June 11, at the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn, NY. So attendees at a big gathering will protest an apparent change of policy that will make it much more difficult for traditional Orthodox Jewish students--both Hasidic (who follow a rebbe) and non-Hasidic (who don't)--to get deferments from the draft. Comments on the Yeshiva World website explain some of the debate.

The logistical questions

What's unclear is how large the ev…

Atlanta's Atlantic Yards moves ahead

First mentioned in April, the Atlantic Yards project in Atlanta is moving ahead--and has the potential to nudge Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn further down in Google searches.

According to a 5/30/17 press release, Hines and Invesco Real Estate Announce T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards:
Hines, the international real estate firm, and Invesco Real Estate, a global real estate investment manager, today announced a joint venture on behalf of one of Invesco Real Estate’s institutional clients to develop two progressive office projects in Atlanta totalling 700,000 square feet. T3 West Midtown will be a 200,000-square-foot heavy timber office development and Atlantic Yards will consist of 500,000 square feet of progressive office space in two buildings. Both projects are located on sites within Atlantic Station in the flourishing Midtown submarket.
Hines will work with Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture (HPA) as the design architect for both T3 West Midtown and Atlantic Yards. DLR Group will be t…

Forest City acknowledges unspecified delays in Pacific Park, cites $300 million "impairment" in project value; what about affordable housing pledge?

Updated Monday Nov. 7 am: Note follow-up coverage of stock price drop and investor conference call and pending questions.

Pacific Park Brooklyn is seriously delayed, Forest City Realty Trust said yesterday in a news release, which further acknowledged that the project has caused a $300 million impairment, or write-down of the asset, as the expected revenues no longer exceed the carrying cost.

The Cleveland-based developer, parent of Brooklyn-based Forest City Ratner, which is a 30% investor in Pacific Park along with 70% partner/overseer Greenland USA, blamed the "significant impairment" on an oversupply of market-rate apartments, the uncertain fate of the 421-a tax break, and a continued increase in construction costs.

While the delay essentially confirms the obvious, given that two major buildings have not launched despite plans to do so, it raises significant questions about the future of the project, including:
if market-rate construction is delayed, will the affordable h…

Revising official figures, new report reveals Nets averaged just 11,622 home fans last season, Islanders drew 11,200 (and have option to leave in 2018)

The Brooklyn Nets drew an average of only 11,622 fans per home game in their most recent (and lousy) season, more than 23% below the announced official attendance figure, and little more than 65% of the Barclays Center's capacity.

The New York Islanders also drew some 19.4% below announced attendance, or 11,200 fans per home game.

The surprising numbers were disclosed in a consultant's report attached to the Preliminary Official Statement for the refinancing of some $462 million in tax-exempt bonds for the Barclays Center (plus another $20 million in taxable bonds). The refinancing should lower costs to Mikhail Prokhorov, owner of the arena operating company, by and average of $3.4 million a year through 2044 in paying off arena construction.

According to official figures, the Brooklyn Nets attendance averaged 17,187 in the debut season, 2012-13, 17,251 in 2013-14, 17,037 in 2014-15, and 15,125 in the most recent season, 2015-16. For hoops, the arena holds 17,732.

But official…

"There is no alternative": DM Glen on de Blasio's affordable housing strategy

As I've written, Mayor Bill de Blasio sure knows how to steer and spin coverage of his affordable housing initiatives.

Indeed, his latest announcement, claiming significant progress, came with a pre-press release op-ed in the New York Daily News and then a friendly photo-op press conference with an understandably grateful--and very lucky--winner of an affordable housing lottery.

To me, though, the most significant quote came from Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, who, as the Wall Street Journal reported:
said public housing had been “starved” of federal support for years now, leaving the city with fewer ways of creating affordable housing. “Are we relying too heavily on the private sector?” she said. “There is no alternative.” Though Glen was using what she surely sees as a common-sense phrase, it recalls the slogan of a politician with whom I doubt de Blasio identifies: former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a Conservative who believed in free markets.

It suggests the limits to …