Friday, October 03, 2014

CB 8 committee votes to ask Greenland Forest City, with architects, to meet about new towers on SE block

535 Carlton
Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park may be a fait accompli, with the state overriding zoning to give Forest City Ratner--and now the joint venture Greenland Forest City Partners--much leeway to build at it sees fit, within Design Guidelines and generous limits (see below) for height and square footage.

But some neighbors across from the announced 18-story tower at the corner of Dean Street and Carlton Avenue, scheduled to break ground in December, would like to see building tower do more to conform with the adjacent blocks it will dwarf.

Row houses on opposite side of the street, along with the rest of the housing south of 535 Carlton are set back from the curb, and also part of the Prospect Heights Historic District.

So residents seek, among other things, that the building also be set back from the curb, and that the existing trees be maintained, Carlton Avenue resident Elisabeth Martin last night told the Community Board 8 Housing and Land Use Committee.

Maximum building heights and square footages; this
does not cite Forest City's pledge to reduce B1 height
Meeting requested

The committee didn't vote on the requests; indeed, because the project is overseen by the state, changes do not go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, which mandates and advisory role for community boards.

But members did vote unanimously to ask Greenland Forest City to come with their architects (COOKFOX) to meet with the community.

The resolution, amended at the suggestion of member Gib Veconi, also asked the developers and architects to discuss the condo building at the southeast corner of the site, 550 Vanderbilt. (The full board meets Oct. 9 and surely will echo the committee vote.)

Whether and when a meeting happens is another question. Forest City did offer a presentation for the first residential building, the B2 modular tower, a few weeks before it broke ground in December 2012, though not to get input on design.

Local impact

It was ironic, as Dean Street resident Peter Krashes pointed out last night, that before the discussion of 535 Carlton, the Housing and Land Use Committee had spent more than an hour hosting a presentation--and contentious discussion--about a less broadly impactful issue: the effort to add a rear addition to a row house on Park Place. The committee, asked to support the changes before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, voted no.
535 Carlton bottom left; 550 Vanderbilt, bottom right

The new tower, of course, is much larger. "We're talking about something that affects the neighborhood," Krashes said.

Martin said keeping the street green is especially important because the much-touted "park" space--source of the renaming of the project as Pacific Park--relies significantly on the yet unfulfilled purchase of railyard development rights.

Indeed, as the highlighted graphic at right suggests, at best this first tower would have a fraction of green space. The majority of the green space depends on the purchase and development of the Vanderbilt Yard rights, as well as the conversion of Pacific Street, currently a private street.

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