What’s Going on at Riverside Apartments?

The Brooklyn Eagle reports today that the Pinnacle Group have a new plan for the courtyard at  Riverside Apartments on Joralemon Street. 

Brooklyn Eagle: Riverside Apartments…: Almost two years ago, the Pinnacle Group, the current owner, created a plan to build a 134-car, two-level parking garage in the surviving courtyard behind the old building on Columbia Place. Half of the original courtyard was destroyed to make for the BQE.

The plan was met by strong opposition from the tenants of the 157-unit apartment, from several neighborhood associations in the area, from the Brooklyn Heights Association and Community Board 2. The Landmarks Preservation Commission raised several objections, and the applicant withdrew the plan.

A new plan has now been issued, still for 134 cars with 67 on each level, one of which is below ground, and a garden on the roof. Unlike the earlier plan, there is no mention of a school either in part of the garage or at the ground level of the main buildings. The owners have kept the retail spaces at the street level deliberately vacant. [Full story]

Brownstoner wrote about the historic 1890 complex in 2006 and 2005.

Flickr photo by dphetteix

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  • CJP

    I’ve walked by that apartment house/block on very rare occasions, it is way out of the way. But I’m fascinated by the building, the architect and its history. Can anyone shed a little light on when this building was originally built and for whom?

    Also what are the apartments like?

    This building just screams out for a role in a movie!

  • http://www.myspace.com/billyreno Billy Reno

    That River Deli’s bound to re-open with the advent of One BB Park Place.

  • SS

    its disgusting that the peniscle or whatev their name is..is keeping the retail out. the storefronts are a blight and there should be grocery and cafes in there.

  • SS

    its disgusting that the peniscle or whatev their name is..is keeping the retail out. the storefronts are a blight and there should be grocery and cafes in there.

  • amanda

    I lived in the Riverside buildings for two years and loved it. The apartments are TINY… mine was a 1BR, about 350 sq. ft., but very charming. Not so charming is the spiral staircase while carrying armloads of groceries, but luckily I lived on the second floor.

    The history of this building is alluded to in The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. It was built in the 1890s by a philanthropist named Alfred T. White and was considered one of the first “humane” tenement buildings, because the apartments were laid out so that each room had a window to the outside (previous tenements would skirt this requirement by having windows into other rooms, which obviously does nothing for ventilation). The courtyard in back was large and had a bandstand where the tenants were treated to open-air concerts in the summer. It is really an incredible set of buildings with an amazing history. Too bad half of them were destroyed for the BQE. Google “Alfred White” and “Riverside” and you’ll find some information on the history of the buildings.

    The deli on the corner was great while it was there; unfortunately it closed halfway through my time living there. The guys who owned it were super nice and would sign for packages for tenants and such. There was a cute restaurant around the corner as well as a flower shop and laundromat and a few artists’ studios on the ground floor. Wonder why they’re keeping the retail spaces vacant now?

    BTW, Pinnacle Management is a HORRIBLE company to deal with if you’re looking to rent there. I had to hound them to get my deposit back and no one would ever answer the phone. They only sent it to me when I threatened to have my lawyer contact them. Overall I enjoyed my time there. I don’t agree with the construction of a parking garage since it will increase traffic on that street, but I suppose they weren’t doing anything else with the space. I assume it will mean they have to cut down the over-100-year-old oak trees in the back, though. *sigh*

  • anon

    Some of the nicest buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan have parking. It is not a terrible thing. On the contrary.
    I like these buildings, they have an attractive facade. It’s just too bad the tenants and the owner are feuding. That does no one any good. I think the proposal is a good one, it seems very gently done. I would vote yes if I had a vote, which I don’t.

  • amanda

    Anon 2:14, it’s NOT a terrible thing when it’s a new building and the parking garage is included in the original plans. Destroying century-old oak trees in an historic courtyard to add a few parking spots that most likely won’t even benefit the current tenants (few of whom own cars), now that I consider a terrible thing.

    Pinnacle Management cares nothing for these buildings or their tenants; it is a faceless conglomerate that slum-lords dozens of buildings around the city. Pinnacle has a growing file of complaints with the BBB (or at least it did when I researched the company to see about getting my security deposit back). Obviously the addition of a parking garage will greatly benefit their bottom line. I can’t say they’ve done much with the existing courtyard (since it doesn’t benefit them to beautify it), but a parking garage with proposed “garden” on top isn’t an attractive solution in my mind either.

  • tomas

    This anon person is the same person who is advocating for housing inside of brooklyn bridge park. Same phraseology. Anyway, everyone knows that this parking garage is meant for the people who will now live inside the park. And this is a landmark building. The reason the garden isn’t very pretty now is that a slum lord owns the building and has left it in terrible shape. (Pinacle is considered to be the worst land lord in NYC – a big statement, that one). This is one of the last buildings in the area to have lower-priced housing. The people who live there should not have to be bled further so that the luxury apt dwellers inside the park can park their luxury cars. Let’s protect the little open space we have particularly for the folks who are now gonna be denied a real park.

  • grace

    sigh. no, parking isn’t a bad thing for the residents, and like someone else mentioned, if it was already in the original plans. Who the hell wants a “fee” parking garage with hundreds of cars coming in and out all day long ? Are you joking ? Two people in the entire building have cars. What I found amusing was the first proposal where the landlord wanted to put a school on the first floor. Who wants their kid around all the fumes ugh.

  • ludwig

    the documentation which was sent to all tenants says that trees would have their average diameter of 8″. this means that they would be some 16′ tall (when planted) so their tree-tops would reach the second floor of the building (again, in average). this means that basically all apartments except the first floor (where there are no appartments) would be directly exposed to the brooklyn-queens express way and also to the most awful building in the neighbourhood – ‘brooklyn one’.

    i also doesn’t make much sense to me to make a garden just facing the highway..

  • Alex


    I’m about to move into Riverside Apartments and have already been annoyed with the management company (they won’t give me a firm move in date until they have all my money in hand)–any advice about dealing with them from here on out would be helpful!