Brooklyn Heights Blog » Real Estate http://brooklynheightsblog.com Dispatches from America's first suburb Sun, 18 Aug 2019 03:42:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Eagle’s Mary Frost Goes Deep With New BHA Exec Directorhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88893 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88893#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2019 02:21:18 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88893

The Eagle’s Mary Frost interviewed in depth the new Brooklyn Heights Association Executive Director Lara Birnback. Ms. Birnback is a California native, but has lived in the Heights for many years. Her husband grew up here. She has extensive experience in community development in the U.S. and abroad.

As a Heights resident she is aware of the major issues affecting the community: the BQE reconstruction: development around the Heights; and the proposed new jail on Atlantic Avenue. She also wants to focus on “micro” issues, like broken tree pits and rat infestations. She has a special affinity for small businesses and their problems. Education is another of her priorities. She also wants to create closer relationships with our neighbors in Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill, DUMBO, and others to deal with issues affecting all these neighborhoods.

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Landmarks Approves Plan for Hotel at 186 Remsenhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88672 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88672#comments Thu, 20 Jun 2019 02:27:40 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88672

Lore Croghan reports in the Eagle that the Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved the design for the Remsen Manor Hotel, which will use as its base the historic Franklin Building at 186 Remsen Street (between Clinton and Court), including restoration of its top two stories, which were destroyed in a fire. There will be a six story addition in a modern style, set back 52 feet from the street facing wall. The LPC’s only condition was that the architects replace the almost white terra cotta panels on the facade of the addition with something that will look less institutional.

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New York Times Notes Transformation of Montague Streethttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88619 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88619#comments Sun, 16 Jun 2019 04:04:41 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88619

In Sunday’s New York Times Metropolitan Section, Ginia Bellafante’s Big City column has the title “The Empty Storefront Crisis and the End of the American Dream”. She begins by telling the story of Sam I-Rumi, proprietor of Pet’s Emporium on Montague Street (photo, by C. Scales), who immigrated to New York in 1980 at the age of eighteen. After nine years here he opened his store on Montague; its survival for thirty years makes Ms. Bellafante describe it, and him, as “the hardiest plant in the most unforgiving weather.”

Of Montague Street as a whole, Ms. Bellafante writes:

“[O]nce the prime shopping artery of an affluent neighborhood, [it] has few of the sort of independent stores that people who live near it actually want. Like so many other commercial stretches of the city, it has storefronts that have been vacant for months and even years. When Sam first established himself in Brooklyn Heights, Yemeni immigrants owned many of the businesses. The narrative that followed featured the predictable story arc: Rents went up and up and up; Amazon and FreshDirect colonized our shopping habits; cellphone stores and urgent-care facilities descended.”

Now, as we know, one of the urgent care facilities on Montague has closed, and its space has been vacant for months.

Ms. Bellafante goes on to note that for immigrants, for many years opening small, storefront businesses “was a viable and important path to prosperity.” Today, that path of opportunity is being blocked. She observes:

“We often talk about the empty-storefront problem as a crisis of urban planning and inadequate regulation, a threat to a beloved and intimate style of consumerism. But what is at stake is much greater than that — a blockage in a pipeline to social mobility when so many other opportunities have been foreclosed.”

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The Eagle Gets the Inside and Topside Scoop on the Bosserthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88573 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88573#comments Sat, 08 Jun 2019 00:52:46 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88573

The Eagle’s Lore Croghan was allowed into the Bossert Hotel, now preparing for a “soft opening” in August, and got great photos (follow the link, after clicking “Read full story” below) of the lobby’s elaborate decor, along with a peek at one of the hotel rooms, and some spectacular shots from the rooftop terrace outside what will be a bar. Bars and restaurants will not be part of the “soft opening”; they will open later at an unspecified time.

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Bye for Meow, Clark Pethttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88473 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88473#comments Tue, 28 May 2019 23:41:15 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88473

Early Monday afternoon, this text message (which I’ve edited for clarity) hit my phone:

Dear valued customers,

This is Mike, the owner of Clark Pet. Due to the very high rent of Clark Pet store, the store is moving to DUMBO, to my giant big branch store named Pet Promise located at 140 Plymouth St. under the Manhattan Bridge. The store is doing full service grooming, boarding, cat sitting, etc. To book a grooming appointment or to have free delivery, you can call or text 347 – 247 – 4963.

By early Tuesday evening, the store at 57 Clark Street was virtually empty, and Mike was both overseeing and participating in the major clean-up and moving operation.

“The new store is huge!” he said enthusiastically, after some obvious disgruntlement at the $11,000 rent now expected for the Clark Street space into which he moved in 2008.

According to the Pet Promise website, the facility also offers self-washing facilities, if you want to wash your own dog without getting soap all over the bathroom.

The phone number at Pet Promise is 718-852-7208.

Not long ago, the North Heights was home to three pet shop/groomers. Let’s hope Rocco and Jezebel and Pets Emporium can both stick around for a while.

Photo by Teresa Genaro

Photo by Teresa Genaro

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Will Hell Freeze Over? Bossert Said to Have “Soft Opening” in Augusthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88327 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88327#comments Fri, 03 May 2019 03:54:42 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88327

Brownstoner reports that the Bossert Hotel, at Montague and Hicks streets, may have a “soft opening” in August, followed by a “hard opening” in September. The owners have applied for a liquor license, in which they have disclosed these details:

The liquor license will cover a restaurant on the ground floor and a bar in the lobby (which will have live piano music), two ballrooms (used for weddings and other events) and a bar on the 14th floor that has both indoor and outdoor seating.

No music is planned for the outdoor area, which will close at 10 p.m. every night, Huey told the community board. The indoor area of the 14th floor will close at 11 p.m., while the restaurant and bar downstairs will close at midnight.

The newly appointed managers of the Bossert are the managers of the Tillary Hotel in downtown Brooklyn. According to the Post story, the Tillary has attracted a young crowd and some neighbors have complained. The story quotes the manager as saying: “At the Bossert, the goal would be higher rates, more corporate clients — we’re aiming toward a five-star hotel.”

PHoto: SongBird NYC for BHB.

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Hearing on Proposed Brooklyn Jail Expansion Thursday Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88220 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88220#comments Wed, 10 Apr 2019 02:42:47 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88220

The Brooklyn Heights Association has advised us that Brooklyn Community Board 2 will hold a public hearing on this Thursday evening, April 11 from 5:00 to 9:00 (doors open at 4:30), at the Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School Auditorium, 357 Clermont Avenue (Enter off Greene Avenue) — see map here. The nearest subway stop, two blocks away, is the Clinton-Washington Avenue G.

According to the BHA

The hearing is the start of a 7-month land use review process (ULURP) that will culminate with a final decision by the City Council on Mayor de Blasio’s plan to close Rikers Island and construct four new jails, one in each borough except Staten Island. Targeting an eventual jail population of 5,750 detainees – down from the current level of 7,800 – each jail would house up to 1,437 detainees.

The proposed new jail, located at the site of the present jail on Atlantic Avenue near Brooklyn Heights, would be 395 feet tall according to the text supplied by the BHA, although the accompanying illustration says 450 feet. Either would be higher than currently allowed by zoning. It would have underground parking for 292 cars.

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Affordable Housing Lottery Open for The Pierreponthttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88113 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88113#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2019 04:35:10 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88113

As seen on the Brooklyn Heights Association’s Facebook page:

There are 23 newly constructed affordable housing units at 146 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn, 11201 currently accepting applications. Preference will be given to people already living in Community Board 2 (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn Navy Yard, Clinton Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, DUMBO, Ft. Greene, Vinegar Hill).

Applications are due March 27th, 2019. For more information: www.thepierrepontbk.com. To apply: nyc.gov/housingconnect or by mail to 146 Pierrepont Street Apartments, 1357 Broadway, Box 309 New York, NY 10018.

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BQE and Mega-Jail Dominate BHA Annual Meetinghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88032 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88032#comments Fri, 01 Mar 2019 14:33:21 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88032

It was standing room only at the Founders Hall Auditorium of St. Francis College for Tuesday’s Annual Meeting of the Brooklyn Heights Association. As the Eagle’s Mary Frost reports, BHA President Martha Bakos Dietz said the BHA had submitted to the City’s Department of Transportation an alternative plan that would avoid putting a temporary six lane highway in the present location of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, and that the DOT has said it is considering this alternative, as well as “three to five others.” Ms. Dietz also announced that the BHA will hold a town hall meeting on the BQE a 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12 at Plymouth Church.

The Eagle story also reports that the City’s proposal to increase the size of the Brooklyn House of Detention, located on Atlantic Avenue a few blocks from Brooklyn Heights, to forty stories, is opposed by the BHA for its lack of context and environmental effects, as well as for the City’s failure to have, in Ms. Dietz’s words, any “meaningful engagement with the affected community.” She noted that the City wants to start its land use review process (“ULURP”) for the jail expansion next month. The BHA has urged the City to delay starting ULURP, “identify a second jail site within Brooklyn,” and consider “alternatives to incarceration” for certain inmates.

Photo: Andrew Porter

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Goodbye, Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable? Also 192 Montague, AKA 200 Montague, to be Razed for Residential?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88003 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/88003#comments Tue, 19 Feb 2019 23:03:41 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=88003

For some years now my wife and I have patronized Atlantic Fruit and Vegetable, at 181 Atlantic Avenue, a few doors west of Sahadi’s, for fresh produce at reasonable prices. It appears this may be coming to an end soon. According to Brooklyn Community Board 2, the agenda for its Land Use Committee meeting to be held at 6:00 PM tomorrow, Wednesday, February 20 at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Dibner Building, Room LC400, 5 Metrotech Center (on the north side of the Metrotech Commons) includes this item:

181 Atlantic Avenue — Brooklyn Heights Historic District — Application is to demolish the existing, one-story, commercial building and construct a new, four-story, apartment building with ground floor retail using concrete masonry unit construction and four-inch face brick, a pre-cast metal cornice, cast stone lintels and at the ground floor, aluminum and glass with custom columns, corbels and cornice.

IMG_1133We earlier noted that a demolition permit had been filed for the four story commercial building at 192 Montague Street (photo above), sometimes known as 200 Montague, but that no plans had been filed for its replacement. Now on the Land Use Committee’s agenda for tomorrow is the following:

200 Montague Street — Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District — Application is to demolish an existing, four-story, “Altered Modern” commercial building and construct a new, 20-story residential building with ground floor retail.

Whatever action is taken by the Land Use Committee tomorrow, these applications will be further considered by the Executive Committee at its meeting to be held at 6:00 pm, Monday, February 25, 2019 at the CB2 District Office, 350 Jay Street, 8th Floor (across from Metrotech).

Photos: Claude Scales for BHB

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Emily Blunt & John Krasinski Buy “A Quiet Place” in Brooklyn Heightshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87780 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87780#comments Thu, 10 Jan 2019 22:39:51 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87780

The Real Deal and WSJ report A-Listers Emily Blunt (“Mary Poppins Returns”) and John Krasinski (The Office) have purchased adjacent apartments at The Standish for a cool $11M. Sources close to the deal say once combined the renovated apartment will take up an entire floor of the building.

The power couple, who starred together in the horror-suspense flick, “A Quiet Place” directed by Krasinski,  joins Matt Damon and family at the famed building on 171 Columbia Heights. Damon’s penthouse purchase for $16.6 broke Brooklyn sales records.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

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New Life for 186 Remsen? Bye-bye 192 Montague?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87742 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87742#comments Mon, 07 Jan 2019 03:23:24 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87742

In a post this past September I speculated about the future of 186 Remsen Street (photo, by C. Scales), which I have long liked as an example of Victorian Romanesque architecture. In the post I noted that the building had been acquired by Up Ventures LLC, who had filed plans for a fourteen story hotel on the site. Being east of Clinton Street, the site is outside the Brooklyn Heights Historic District, with its fifty foot height limit on new construction, but it is in the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, which means that the Landmarks Preservation Commission would have to approve any changes to it.

Thanks to Brooklyn Community Board 2 we now know that Up Ventures has made

[a]pplication … to restore the façade, replicate the original two-story mansard roof destroyed by fire, recreate missing iron balconies and fences, install ADA-compliant ramp, reconstruct the rear portion of the building, construct a six-story rooftop addition set back 50 feet, and excavate the rear yard.

This application will be considered at an LPC public hearing to be held on Tuesday, January 15 at One Centre Street, 9th floor, in Manhattan. Hearings are to start at 9:30 AM, and 186 Remsen is the second item on the agenda.

Meanwhile, New York YIMBY reports that demolition permits have been filed for 192 Montague Street, AKA 200 Montague (see linked story for photo), a four story office and retail building on the south side of Montague between Clinton and Court streets. According to the YIMBY story, “It is unclear what plans are in store for the 10,000 square-foot lot as no permits have been filed. According to filings, Matthew Abreu of The Cayre Group is listed as the owner.” Update: According to Lore Croghan in the Eagle, demolition of 192/200 Montague will require Landmarks approval, as it is in the Skyscraper Historic District.

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Local News Round-Up: Kushner Gives Refunds; Changes At Brooklyn Bridge Parkhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87625 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87625#comments Fri, 07 Dec 2018 03:41:42 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87625

One need only look the towers rising all around us to know that the little guy doesn’t often survive a battle with Big Real Estate…but at 89 Hicks Street, that’s what happened.

Crain’s reports that after a class-action lawuit by five tenants, Kushner Cos. re-paid $100,000 that it had overcharged them in “skirting” rent regulation laws.

 

Lawyers for the tenants and others in similar situations in Brooklyn Heights buildings purchased by Kushner Co. say that further litigation is likely, despite Kushner Cos.’ attorney’s contention that the matter is settled. Get the full story at Crain’s. 

Water over a troubled bridge? We hear from Curbed that repairs on the long-beleaguered Squibb Bridge will come to an end. But wait! Instead of a revamped bridge, we’re going to get a brand spanking new one…sometime in 2020.

The new bridge will dispense with the sustainable and environmentally-friendly materials that have been heretofore used, replacing them prefab steel and aluminum.

BBP president Eric Landau told Curbed, “We feel really, really strongly that having a functional bridge that doesn’t call into question whether or not it’s going to be open is paramount.”

Well, yeah. That would be good.

Cost of the new bridge is estimated at $6.5 million, just shy of the $7.5 million that’s already gone into it.  More details at Curbed.

At least all the extra steps you’ll be taking to access the Park from the Heights will justify a stop at the bottom of the hill once Ample Hills takes over the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, as reported by Eater. As the ice cream fanatics among us (myself included) know all too well, Ample Hills is already established at the south end of the Park, and if I might editorialize, it was rather nice having two types of ice cream available in the Park. But fans of the Factory, take heart: the owners hope to find another location nearby.

 

As always, please go the sources for these articles for additional details and to support their original reporting and writing. We couldn’t bring the news to you without them, and the world of digital media is not such a happy place to be these days.

Photo credit: Claire Scanlon, used with permission via Pexels

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Goodbye, Chip Shop, and Other Neighborhood Changeshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87607 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87607#comments Mon, 03 Dec 2018 02:26:15 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87607

Your correspondent was deeply saddened, on arriving for his and his wife’s (this time joined by some neighbors) usual Friday night dinner at the Chip Shop, to find at the top of the extensive beers, ales, and ciders menu a note that the place would close at the end of this weekend, having lost its lease. I returned today to enjoy one last Full English Breakfast and the company of others who had been regulars there, as well as some I hadn’t met before, and of long time bartender Liz Drobits (photo).

Atlantic Avenue has lost one other watering hole. Last weekend, as I was walking past, I saw a notice in the window of the empty (on a Saturday afternoon) Roebling Inn, announcing that its last night was the Friday before. Atlantic has thus lost two venues in which fans of English Premier League football (soccer to us Yanks) could gather to cheer their favorites: London’s Arsenal club at the Chip Shop; Liverpool at Roebling.

Reader Haley Geftman-Gold has notified us, on OTW, that the space at the northeast corner of Montague and Henry, above Pinto, formerly occupied by Vegetarian Ginger, is being taken by a chain called Otto’s Tacos. Reader Jorale-man has helpfully given us a link to their menu. There’s another interesting development taking place at 76 Montague, the former Friend of a Farmer location, that’s hardly a secret anymore, but our Teresa Genaro, who has the inside track on this, will be posting about it soon.

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Shop Small? Find Out What Can Be Done To Fight “Mallification” At BHS Thursday Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87566 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87566#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2018 02:50:13 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87566

This Thursday evening, November 29 starting at 6:30 the Brooklyn Historical Society will present “Malls vs. Bodegas: Resisting the Suburbanization of the City.” This panel discussion will be moderated by Paul Goldberger, contributing editor of Vanity Fair. Admission is $5, or free for BHS members. Make reservations and more information here.

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BHA to Meet With DOT Commissioner on BQE – Promenade Issuehttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87460 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87460#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2018 02:17:01 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87460

The Brooklyn Heights Association has announced that they have scheduled a meeting with City Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and DOT engineers on Monday, November 19 at which BHA “will press DOT to abandon the 6-lane highway on the Promenade in favor of a better approach to rebuilding the BQE.”

The BHA has retained engineering consultants to evaluate alternatives to DOT’s plan and assess ways to reduce traffic on the BQE during the construction period. Their expertise will greatly assist the BHA in showing DOT that viable alternatives exist and warrant its consideration.

The change in control of the State Senate following last week’s election, the BHA notes, may

pave the way for passage of a long-delayed congestion pricing plan that would place tolls on the East River crossings. This measure would reduce traffic on the BQE, making alternative construction approaches more feasible and mitigating their environmental impacts. With this new political opportunity, the BHA will advocate for the passage of this congestion pricing plan.

Posters (photo) and buttons are available for free at the Brooklyn Women’s Exchange, 55 Pierrepont Street, and at the Montague Key Food. To help finance the BHA’s efforts to save the Promenade, you may donate to their BQE Fund here. You don’t have to be a BHA member to contribute.

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Is 186 Remsen Doomed to the Wrecking Ball?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87060 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/87060#comments Mon, 17 Sep 2018 02:54:57 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=87060

I wish I could have gotten a better photo of what I consider to be a magnificent building, but the lighting and shadows were against me, as was a bit of sidewalk shed protecting pedestrians from falling debris generated by renovation work on the building at the corner of Court and Remsen. “Magnificent?” I know some readers are thinking. “That old pile?” Old it is, completed in 1887. It was designed by Parfitt & Parfitt, two English brothers who also gave us the Montague and the Grosvenor, on Montague Street. I’ll also confess that I have a love for Victorian Romanesque architecture, of which I think this is a fine example. In 2012, its history was related as a Brownstoner Building of the Day.

As for its recent history, when I arrived in the Heights in 1983 it was the National Headquarters of the NAACP. After the NAACP departed for Baltimore, the building was taken over by the Little Flower Children’s Services. Then it became vacant, and has remained so for some years. I kept hoping St. Francis College, its next door neighbor to the west, would find some use for it. Now, according to this New York YIMBY post, it’s been acquired by Upventures LLC, who have filed plans for a fourteen story hotel on the site. The plans do not contemplate keeping the existing building and adding to it, but demolition plans have not yet been filed.

186 Remsen, which is between Court and Clinton streets, is outside the Heights Historic District, but it is inside the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District, which means that any plan to demolish 186 Remsen would need approval of the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

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Alice’s Tea Cup Coming to Hicks and Middaghhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86982 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86982#comments Tue, 11 Sep 2018 02:52:33 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86982

We’ve been alerted by reader Andrew Porter that

[t]he whimsical teahouse, bakery and restaurant Alice’s Tea Cup will open this year at the corner of Hicks Street and Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights, across from PS 8.

The photo is from their present location at 102 West 73rd Street, in Manhattan.

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The “Martians” Are Coming! Matt Damon Touches Down in Brooklyn Heightshttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86891 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86891#comments Fri, 31 Aug 2018 04:57:15 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86891

Last summer Brownstoner reported Actor/Producer, Matt Damon was in contract at The Standish on Columbia Heights for over $16.6 million. The deal has been widely-reported as the largest residential sale in Brooklyn to date. Now, it appears the Oscar and Golden Globe winning “Martian,” his wife, Luciana Barroso and their children have finally landed at the 6,218 square feet 12th-floor penthouse. The sprawling abode is a combination of three units and boasts a 3,366-square-foot terrace.

The intel comes from a Facebook friend of your correspondent who also resides on Columbia Heights. When the source witnessed “many truck loads of stuff being moved in” earlier this week, they conducted a bit of their own “Good Will Hunting.” They inquired of “nosey neighbor” who confirmed, “You know, Matt Damon moved in yesterday.”

The Standish Arms Hotel, a former Jehovah’s Witnesses’ dormitory, was sold to Boston-based Taurus Investment Holdings in 2007 who developed the circa 1903 Beaux-Arts building as rental apartments. In addition to its architectural history, The Standish Arms was the fictional home of Superman’s alter-ego Clark Kent and was referenced in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” In 2014, Westbrook Partners and DDG teamed up to buy the building for $60 million, converting it into 29 luxury condominiums and rebranding it as simply, The Standish. As of February 2018, the project was 85% sold.

Damon’s move, of course, is well-timed to coincide with the beginning of the school year. The movie star notoriously  made Page Six in August of 2016 when St. Ann’s School rebuffed his 11th hour inquiry to enroll his three youngest daughters for that coming academic year. It is unknown whether the children will attend the hallowed institution this September.

Photo Credit: StreetEasy

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Is a Bistricer/Chetrit Feud Behind Lack of Progress on the Bossert?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86787 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86787#comments Sat, 04 Aug 2018 22:09:20 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86787

In early July the Eagle reported, in a story we linked to here, that one of the hotel’s owners, either David Bistricer or Joseph Chetrit, had said that “a major announcement” about the hotel would be made soon. It was presumed that this would be of a firm opening date for the hotel, which has been postponed several times since six years ago. No such announcement has been made, and no visible work has been done on the hotel for some time. The Bossert’s renovation process is beginning to rival in length the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Now the Brooklyn Paper reports that, after the paper’s unsuccessful attempts to get information from the developers and their property manager, an unidentified “local community leader” has said he or she believes the developers, Bistricer and Chetrit, “have been bickering — likely about money — and it’s causing the holdup.”

The Brooklyn Paper piece ends with a quotation from BHB stalwart Andrew Porter.

PHoto: SongBird NYC for BHB.

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Grand Canyon to Return to Montague Streethttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86729 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86729#comments Tue, 24 Jul 2018 22:37:00 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86729

Those of you who, like me, miss Grand Canyon’s superb burgers are in for a treat. While the “Restaurant For Lease” sign remains above the former Armando’s site at 143 Montague (see photo by your correspondent taken this evening), the Commercial Observer reports that the restaurant’s owner, who kept open another Grand Canyon in Park Slope, has taken that space and will return to Montague. It will be right next door to Grand Canyon’s old location, now occupied by B.Good.

The one downside to this, although it was probably foreordained by Armando’s closing, is that we will lose the Armando’s sign with its iconic lobster, much loved by many, especially our beloved founder, John “Homer Fink” Loscalzo.

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Is The Bossert Back?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86651 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86651#comments Fri, 06 Jul 2018 21:42:23 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86651

If so, the Eagle is on it.

Following reports of a party on the Bossert’s famous roof (on which the Brooklyn Dodgers celebrated their only World Series win), the Eagle contacted one of the hotel’s owners, who said, “We plan to make  a major announcement soon.”

The hotel has been under renovation since it was sold in 2012, and two years ago, the Eagle reported on an imminent re-opening, only to follow up earlier this year with news of another delay and the news that the hotel operator originally slated to run the place was being replaced.

Stay tuned, and as always, check out the Eagle‘s story to get the details and support local journalism.

 

 

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Arrivederci, Armando’s, and the Lobster; Adios, Taperiahttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86351 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/86351#comments Wed, 23 May 2018 02:59:55 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=86351

The Eagle reports that Ristorante Armando’s, a fixture, with one brief interruption, on Montague Street since 1936, has closed for good. Along with the loss of what, for many in the Heights was a favorite eating place and hangout, will come the loss of the iconic (What other word can I use to describe it?) lobster on its neon sign. Back in March of 2008, when owner Peter Byros (Did I catch im in the lower left corner of the photo above I took early this evening? I think so.) decided to retire, and the space was leased to a fast food chain, BHB’s beloved and sorely missed founder John “Homer Fink” Loscalzo started a “Landmark the Lobster” campaign. The lobster came down, but fortunately went to storage. It remained there only a little over a year, and returned to its place on Montague in July of 2009, when Mr. Byros decided to re-open Armando’s and put it in charge of his daughter, Maria Florea.

According to the Eagle story, the restaurant’s closing was precipitated by the Byros family’s sale of the building to a real estate agent. A sign in the window above Armando’s (see photo) says “Restaurant for Lease.” Maybe the new lessee will put up a new lobster sign (but only if Landmarks approves it).

IMG_0030Meanwhile, across the street, as the Eagle story reports, Taperia has closed again. It’s “again” because, like Armando’s, Taperia was in its space before, then closed, and was replaced — all too briefly in your correspondent’s opinion — by an excellent Argentinian steakhouse. When that closed, Taperia returned, but its tenancy was brief. The spot seems cursed.

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Design/Build for BQE Renovation Approvedhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85921 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85921#comments Tue, 03 Apr 2018 02:20:40 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85921

The Brooklyn Heights Association has let us know that the state budget, passed by the legislature and approved by Governor Cuomo on Friday, includes approval for the use of a design/build procedure for the renovation of the crumbling Brooklyn Queens Expressway below Brooklyn Heights. As the BHA noted:

This victory is the culmination of months of community effort, led by the BHA, to urge the legislature to enact a measure whose passage failed during the past two years. Had it not passed now, DOT would have proceeded with a Design-Bid-Build approach, which would have cost $113 million more to complete the BQE project and led to trucks being diverted onto local Brooklyn streets in 2026 due to the extended project timeframe.

The BHA thanked State Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon (whose office also advised us of the approval) for their efforts to secure passage, along with Governor Cuomo for his support. It also expressed gratitude to the local residents who demonstrated their support.

In related news, the BHA has announced that it will not appeal the New York Supreme Court’s decision to allow construction of the two residential towers near Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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CB2 Hearing on “Out of Context” Downtown Development Wednesday Eveninghttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85886 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85886#comments Tue, 27 Mar 2018 02:29:34 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85886

The Brooklyn Heights Association and others are urging local residents to attend Community Board 2’s public hearing at 6:00 PM this Wednesday, March 28 at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, on the appliction by a developer to build two residential towers, one 74 and one 38 stories, on a site bordered by Flatbush Avenue, Scheremrhorn and State streets, and Third Avenue. For renderings of the proposed buildings see here (the aerial rendering shows the even taller 9 DeKalb, on which construction began last year, in the background).

Although the site is some distance from Brooklyn Heights, the BHA and some local residents believe opposition is necessary because approval would signal openness to more dense residential development in the Downtown area, straining local infrastructure and blocking sunlight. Also, Third Avenue could be a major route for trucks diverted from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, if necessary, during the reconstruction of the cantilevered portion below the Heights.

Those who attend are invited to speak. You will need to sign up to speak when you enter, and speeches are limited to two minutes.

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Friend of a Farmer Building On the Market for $3.85 millionhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85846 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85846#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2018 02:42:10 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85846

Cushman and Wakefield have been retained to coordinate the sale of 76 Montague Street, the two-story building most recently home of Friend of a Farmer.

The building will be delivered vacant and could be developed as retail or residential.

According to the listing, “76 Montague Street is an incredible opportunity for investors, developers, and users alike to secure an asset with significant upside in Brooklyn’s most affluent neighborhood.”

More details here.

Massey/Knakel photo from listing.

 

 

 

 

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NYC DOT Engineer Says Keeping Traffic Off Brooklyn Heights Streets High Priorityhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85785 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85785#comments Thu, 08 Mar 2018 03:02:37 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85785

The Eagle’s Mary Frost has an excellent report on last week’s Brooklyn Heights Association Annual Meeting. Here are my takeaways from the meeting:

1. The featured speaker, DOT Deputy Commissioner Robert Collyer (photo) said at least twice that a primary DOT concern is keeping traffic off Brooklyn Heights streets during the BQE renovation.

2. Mr. Collyer said that DOT is considering creating alternate routes for traffic during the BQE project that wouldn’t affect the Heights or other residential areas.

3. One of the objectives of the BQE project, according to Collyer, is to “improve [vertical] clearances” on the highway. Some residents asked if this would necessitate raising the BQE roadways, thereby affecting the Promenade. Mr. Collyer said it would not, and that the preservation of the Promenade was of vital concern.

4. When asked about the proposal to create an entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park from Montague Street, the BHA took no position for or against. Mr. Collyer also remained neutral, but noted the long drop from Montague to the level of the Park and that any entrance/exit would have to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

5. The BHA is considering options following the court decision allowing construction to proceed on the two high rise residential towers near Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park, including a possible appeal.

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Court Gives Go-Ahead to Pier Six Towershttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85686 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85686#comments Mon, 19 Feb 2018 04:16:36 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85686

Curbed reports that New York Supreme Court Justice Carmen Victoria St. George on Friday issued a ruling dismissing a lawsuit filed by the Brooklyn Heights Association in July of 2016 against the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation and two developers, seeeking to prevent the construction of two high rise residential towers on the uplands of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier Six, near Atlantic Avenue and Furman Street.

The BHA’s suit was based on language in the Park’s General Project Plan providing that no more private development would be allowed in the park than is necessary to provide the Park with funds, in the form of payments in lieu of taxes (“PILOTS”), needed to provide for the Park’s ongoing maintenance and operations. The BHA engaged financial experts who compared the Park’s maintenance and operational needs with what they considered the likely amount of PILOT revenue to be generated by already completed or soon to be so commercial and residential projects. These projects, the experts concluded, would produce more than enough revenue to cover all reasonably expected maintenance and operational costs. The BBPC’s and developers’ experts disagreed.

The Curbed story quotes the judge’s ruling as follows: “[while the BHA’s experts] provided rational alternatives to the analyses of respondents’ experts … [i]t simply means that respondents had more than one acceptable path to take in their review of this complex and multi-part project”. This implies that “build” and “don’t build” were both acceptable results within the terms of the General Project Plan, which seems odd. Perhaps it reflects the court’s sense of frustration following repeated attempts to get the parties to reach a compromise and settle the suit.

Curbed reports that the BHA has issued a statement of its “disappointment” with the court’s ruling, noting that it still strongly believes the Pier Six towers “far exceed the Park’s fiscal needs.” It also notes that the BHA “is considering its next steps in its long-term effort to ensure that the BBPC complies with its legal obligations.”

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Pier Six Towers Update: Developers Busy Building and Advertising Despite No Court Decisionhttp://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85618 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85618#comments Tue, 30 Jan 2018 03:48:16 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85618

The Brooklyn Paper reports that the developers of the two controversial high rise residential towers on the uplands of Pier Six, near the Atlantic Avenue entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Park and on park land, have already done extensive construction work on one of the two towers (see photo in story linked above) and are, as the story indicates, already advertising to (although not yet accepting any money from) prospective condo buyers. This is despite there is as yet no final ruling on a lawsuit brought by the Brooklyn Heights Association and others to prevent construction of the towers, on the contention that revenue from them is not necessary to fund the park’s maintenance. As it stands, a judge has ordered that, while construction may proceed at the developers own risk, they should do nothing “that is irreversible or incapable of restoration to its original condition” until the court issues its final decision.

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Vacant Retail Spaces: Why? What, If Anything, Can Be Done?http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85287 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/85287#comments Sun, 26 Nov 2017 00:38:55 +0000 http://brooklynheightsblog.com/?p=85287

You would have to have been in Brooklyn Heights for over five years to remember when the last tenant, Starbucks, moved out of 112 Montague Street (photo) to a smaller space a block away. Since then, apart from being used as storage space for Lassen & Hennigs next door, the space has lain fallow. While there are no similar long-term vacancies on Montague (well; there’s the Bossert, which is not quite vacant because of a few holdover tenants, but that’s another story), there are others not far away.

Why? Greedy landlords? Bricks-and-mortar retail is dying because of the internet? Daniel Roberts in The Bridge has examined the reasons, and finds many in addtion to those just mentioned. A tight market for financing, both for real estate and for start-up businesses is one. Complexities of property ownership–I once read of a building in, as I recall, DUMBO, that was inherited jointly by, I think, five siblings, who could never agree on what to do with it–is another. As for solutions to the problem, many have been proposed, but nothing seems to be a priority for the present city administration.

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