Forget the park we were promised…. suspicious CitiStorage fire site to be sold to developers


Norman Brodsky, Photo: Buck Enni

This is not a huge surprise — money talks in this town. But still, fuck this guy and the bureaucrats who will let it happen.

A partnership between the real estate investment groups Midtown Equities and East End Capital has secured an option to purchase the most closely watched development site in Brooklyn, according to sources. The two firms have signed a contract to acquire CitiStorage, an 11-acre parcel on the Williamsburg waterfront where they can build retail and office space. It wasn’t immediately clear what the two firms are negotiating to pay. Norman Brodsky, who owns the land and built the warehouses on it, told Crain’s earlier this year that he had received offers for more than $250 million for the site. [Read more...]

Williamsburg Councilman Stephen Levin is having the Best Week Ever

Councilman Stephen Levin was in the news quite a bit last week after rescuing a pregnant cat with bullet wounds on the BQE. This week has been even better for him starting with [Read more...]

Health dept says air is safe, Stephen Levin sees CitiStorage fire as opportunity to get started on park


The Health Department conceded last night that they could have responded more quickly to concerns about dangerous fumes from the CitiStorage fire. They reassured the community that, though the CitiStorage site could be toxic for weeks, the air quality in Williamsburg has not been compromised:

At a town hall meeting last night, the health department admitted it took too long to issue warnings in the wake of the massive Williamsburg warehouse fire; meanwhile, the fire department said it might take as long as a month to return the site to safety.

Daniel Kass, the health department’s Deputy Commissioner of Environmental Health, acknowledged that the agency could have warned neighbors about elevated levels of air pollution sooner than it did, late in the day of the early-morning fire. [Read more...]

It’s official, the Two Trees plan to turn Domino into Dubai/Disneyland has been approved


Goodbye historic landmark, hello Lego set condos:

The latest Domino Sugar factory development plan passed the Council in a unanimous vote on Wednesday, opening the way for construction on the mega-development after years of heated debate over the project.

Developer Two Trees Management Company’s vision includes five towers that are supposed to hold thousands of residential units, office space, retail stores, and a school. The company put forward the plan despite the previous owner having obtained city approval for its proposal over activist opposition. Company officials said the unusual strategy it pursued after buying the stagnant site for $185 million a year and a half ago paid off.

“We took a big gamble, passing up an approved plan and going back through the political process because we wanted to build something innovative and worthy of the magnificent site and the dynamic neighborhood,” said Dave Lombino, Two Trees’ head of special projects. “Today’s approval is an endorsement of that vision and we can’t wait to break ground later this year. We hope Domino will become a model for thoughtful mixed-use development, with world-class design, affordable housing and new open space.” [Read more...]

Greenpoint ferry ramp unlikely to be fixed in time for this summer’s massive G Train outages


It’s been over two months since the ferry platform at India Street collapsed and riders are becoming impatient:

The gangway’s status is noted on the East River Ferry website, though no updates have been made since February 19. Preliminary investigation revealed that two “spud piles” that held the barge in position had failed, resulting in the barge drifting to the west and the ramp’s subsequent collapse. It goes on to say that “We have been advised by the pier owner that additional dive teams are going to be sent to the site to remove the piles for further examination in order to assess the cause of their failure. The retrieval of those piles and the determination of the cause of their failure are required before the facility can be restored to service.”

Daily News explains that the hold-up is due in part to financing the expense of a crane required to complete the investigation:

The city is “aggressively” working with RedSky Capital to finish an investigation and get ferry service back online, a New York City Economic Development Corp. spokesman said.“We are optimistic that a strengthened ferry landing will welcome back service in the near future,” an agency spokesman said.

RedSky co-founder Benjamin Stokes didn’t respond to requests for comment, but a city official briefed on the issue said the developer is fighting demands to hire a crane to complete the investigation. The operation would require the use of a crane for the investigation, and again during the repair work. The city wants to determine what went wrong before the repairs will be authorized. RedSky’s principals only want to hire the crane once, officials said.

Despite his history of green-lighting unpopular projects that will exacerbate Greenpoint’s already-limited access to public transit, Councilman Stephen Levin voiced outrage at the lack of action:

“Them balking because they didn’t want to spend some extra money getting a crane out to do the investigation is outrageous,” said Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Greenpoint). “There has to be answers as to why this happened,” he added. “Because somebody really could have died.”

Regardless, Greenpoint is about to get screwed. Starting July 26 and continuing to September 1, the G train will not run between Nassau and Court Square. Get ready to suffer Greenpointers during summer’s sweatiest time of year.

Unlike sell-out Stephen Levin, Antonio Reynoso vows to fight high rises in Bushwick

Stephen Levin Towers

Stephen Levin Towers – coming soon to North Brooklyn

We’re happy to report that Bushwick has a city councilman who’s willing to fight the endless construction of “luxury” high rises:

“I intend on implementing the rezoning as a means to preserve the character of the neighborhood,” said Reynoso.

Reynoso said he believes special, low-zoned areas could help keep the neighborhood from suffering from the same kind of dramatic gentrification that has gripped Williamsburg in recent years.

His district contains the sixth- and 25th-fastest gentrifying zip codes in the nation, according to census data (two others in the top 25 are in neighboring Bedford-Stuyvesant). The average Bushwick two-bedroom now rents for $2,161, up nearly $500 from last year, the highest increase of any Brooklyn neighborhood, according to real estate industry data.

Too bad he’s not Greenpoint/Williamsburg’s councilman. Instead, we’re stuck with Stephen Levin. Let Reynoso know you like the support!

77 Commercial Street update: our fuckhead neighbor Stephen Levin voted to allow 30-40 story towers in Greenpoint

Stephen Levin, from his Twitter

Stephen Levin, from his Twitter

Councilman Levin announced in a press release today that he approved selling the “air rights” to developers instead of mandating a maximum height consistent with the neighborhood’s existing architecture. No word on whether the so-called affordable housing that is promised will be segregated. (Of course it will be.) From his press release:

“Greenpoint is my home and during this process and throughout my entire term in office I have listened carefully to my neighbors’ thoughts and concerns about the future of our neighborhood. I have heard from many Greenpointers expressing their opposition to the height and density of this project, but the open space and affordable housing needs of our community that have persisted for years also go without question. While this project allows for greater height, density is not added but simply moved over from next door.”

Goodbye quaint neighborhood, hello Dubai.

Stephen Levin to vote on height of Greenpoint towers Thursday


From the Wall Street Journal:

City Council Member Stephen Levin must decide by the council’s last session of the year Thursday whether to vote against a measure to allow two towers—one 30 stories, one 40 stories—at 77 Commercial St., instead of two 15-story buildings.

The vote by Mr. Levin, who represents the area on the council, will likely be followed by his colleagues.

If allowed to build higher, developers Joseph Chetrit and David Bistricer would be expected to deliver 200 units of affordable housing and money for a long-promised park, softening the impact of thousands of new residents moving to the area. But to some in Greenpoint, voting no represents a rare opportunity to put a brake on the rapid pace of development.

We’re not hopeful that Levin will vote to limit the height of the 77 Commercial Street development. Especially since he voted to approve the Greenpoint Landing project after they threw the community a couple of bones. (Greenpointers suspects a conspiracy.) Very disappointing since a large part of his campaign pitch in Greenpoint was built around his opposition to the towers.

Let him know what you think about 77 Commercial Street:, @StephenLevin33 or call 718-875-5200

Stephen Levin, from his Twitter

Stephen Levin, from his Twitter