Prospect Heights

Come stroll around Pacific Park

Eye on Real Estate: You'll see apartment buildings, a smidgen of green space and, of course, Barclays Center.

August 7, 2019 Lore Croghan
Here is Barclays Center, the best-known building in the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park complex. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Everybody in New York is familiar with Barclays Center.

By now, I hope you’ve been to a concert or a Nets basketball game at the Brooklyn arena with the distinctive oculus out front.

But unless you live or work in Prospect Heights, where Barclays Center opened in September 2012, you possibly haven’t seen the other buildings that have been constructed in the 22-acre Pacific Park — formerly Atlantic Yards — mega-development that the arena anchors.

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One condo building and three rental-apartment buildings can now be found on the mammoth site at Flatbush and Atlantic avenues.

The project is in the news again. There’s controversy over a 105,000-square-foot field house and gym planned for the basements of two as-yet unconstructed Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park buildings because a full-scale environmental review is not planned. Advisory group Atlantic Yards Community Development Corp. will vote on this issue later this month.

Here’s a glimpse of Barclays Center with some of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park apartment towers in the background. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Here’s a glimpse of Barclays Center with some of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park apartment towers in the background. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Grassroots groups such as Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn fought about many aspects of the Atlantic Yards project, as it was originally called.

It received government subsidies. And developer Forest City Ratner got the go-ahead from New York State’s Court of Appeals in 2009 to use eminent domain to take over neighborhood properties and incorporate them into the project site.

Currently Greenland USA, an entity largely owned by the government of Shanghai, is the principal owner of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park. Greenland transferred development rights to the sites where the field house and gym are planned to TF Cornerstone.


A condo building designed by COOKFOX Architects

Let’s start this walk at the easternmost boundary of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, which is at the opposite side of the project from Barclays Center.

Here’s a glimpse of Barclays Center with some of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park apartment towers in the background. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Here’s a glimpse of Barclays Center with some of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park apartment towers in the background. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Here, on the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and Dean Street, stands an 18-story, 278-unit condo building whose address is 550 Vanderbilt Ave. COOKFOX Architects designed it.

The façade is “custom-fired brick,” according to info the architecture firm provided to Arch Daily. The brick is brownish-toned on the lower floors of the building. The façade on the top floors is ghostly white.

According to city Finance Department records, a couple of the highest-price condo sales in this building have been a $4.227 million transaction in December 2017 and a $3.9 million transaction in February 2018.

When I checked the building’s website the other day, asking prices for available apartments ranged from a $1.5 million two-bedroom unit to a $7.715 million four-bedroom penthouse.

It’s never too early in the day for ice cream at Van Leeuwen’s Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park shop. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
It’s never too early in the day for ice cream at Van Leeuwen’s Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park shop. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

One of the building’s retail tenants is Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream, which does its manufacturing in Greenpoint.

Eight acres of green space? Not yet

COOKFOX Architects’ description of 550 Vanderbilt Ave. on Arch Daily mentions “eight acres of new, publicly accessible green space that defines the site.”

There’s a reflecting pool in the publicly accessible green space behind 550 Vanderbilt Ave. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
There’s a reflecting pool in the publicly accessible green space behind 550 Vanderbilt Ave. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

If you expect to see this landscaped acreage, you will be sorely disappointed. Most of it hasn’t been built yet.

To find the public space that has been created at 550 Vanderbilt Ave., leave the ice cream shop, turn onto Dean Street and head toward Barclays Center.

At the edge of the condo building, there’s an asphalt-covered span beside a construction fence. A small stand of trees provides shade for wooden benches.

And in front of 550 Vanderbilt Ave.’s back entrance, there’s landscaping and a reflecting pool with a small waterfall.

A rental building for household incomes as high as $173,415 per year

When you gaze past the construction fence behind 550 Vanderbilt Ave., the next building you can see is on the corner of Dean Street and Carlton Avenue.

This rental building is 535 Carlton Ave. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
This rental building is 535 Carlton Ave. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

When you stroll down there, you will discover its address is 535 Carlton Ave. It is part of the Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park project.

COOKFOX Architects also designed this 18-story building, which has 298 apartments.

All of them are rentals, designated as affordable units for low-, moderate- and middle-income residents. This is important because when Atlantic Yards was in the planning stages, Forest City Ratner agreed to build 2,250 units of affordable housing by May 2025.

The Carlton Avenue apartments were offered through a lottery process managed by the New York City Housing Development Corp.

Income levels ranged from $20,126 per year for a studio with a rent of $548 per month to $104,775 per year for a $2,137-per-month studio, an online posting indicates.

For three-bedroom apartments, a six-person household could have an annual income as low as $29,863 for an $817-per-month rental or as high as $173,415 for a rental priced at $3,716 per month, the posting shows.

‘Sound sculptures’ in the public space

The lower floors of 535 Carlton Ave. are clad in red brick. The façades on the upper floors and the center of the building are white.

The plantings behind 535 Carlton Ave. are nice but there’s no shade for the seating. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
The plantings behind 535 Carlton Ave. are nice but there’s no shade for the seating. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

There’s a bite-sized piece of publicly accessible space next to a construction fence behind this building, too.

There are entrances to the green space on Dean Street and Carlton Avenue. Strictly speaking, much of it isn’t green.

The public space has wooden benches but no shade trees overhanging them. There’s a small grouping of trees, but there aren’t any benches beside it.

And there’s a reflecting pool — sound familiar? Tables and chairs are set up on a blacktopped area. When I was there the other day, the heat was so intense, it left me breathless.

There is something nifty on the asphalt-covered area — a set of outdoor musical instruments, or “sound sculptures,” as manufacturer Freenotes Harmony Park calls them.

They’re tall aluminum chimes that make low-pitched sounds like gongs when you hit them with mallets, which hang beside them.

These rowhouses are located across the street from 535 Carlton Ave. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
These rowhouses are located across the street from 535 Carlton Ave. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Work is underway at Sixth Avenue development sites

When you’ve seen the public space, return to Dean Street and once again walk towards Barclays Center.

In a couple of minutes, you’ll come upon a construction site with frontage on Dean Street, Sixth Avenue and Pacific Street. Its address in city Buildings Department records is 37 Sixth Ave. But architect Jonathan Marvel refers to it as 664 Pacific St. So does The Brodsky Organization, which has the development rights to the site.

Work is underway at 37 Sixth Ave., AKA 664 Pacific St. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
Work is underway at 37 Sixth Ave., AKA 664 Pacific St. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

Marvel Architects’ plan calls for a 26-story, 323-unit apartment tower with a 100,000-square-foot public school in the base of the building, as I reported when the firm first unveiled its design.

At nearby 18 Sixth Ave. on the corner of Atlantic Avenue, the Brodsky Organization began work in the spring on an 859-unit, mixed-income rental apartment building designed by Perkins Eastman, Real Estate Weekly reported.

SHoP Architects designed this Sixth Avenue rental building

There is a completed Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park building on Sixth Avenue. It is on the corner of Dean Street, right next to Barclays Center.

SHoP Architects designed this 23-story, 300-apartment rental property, whose address is 38 Sixth Ave.

The modern building is 38 Sixth Ave. with Prospect Heights rowhouses in front of it. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
The modern building is 38 Sixth Ave. with Prospect Heights rowhouses in front of it. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

It looks like it’s made of giant blocks, some patterned with red and gray, some silver, others white.

All the apartments at 38 Sixth Ave. are affordable units.

A modular tower on Flatbush Avenue

A little bit further down Dean Street, you’ll find a tower with a shiny red facade. It’s on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and is surrounded on both sides by Barclays Center.

SHoP Architects also designed this 32-story, 363-apartment rental building, whose address is 461 Dean St.

Half the apartments are affordable, and half are market-rate.

The tower is composed of modular units that were constructed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, brought to the site and stacked on top of one another.

I was there in December 2013 when the first unit — which the project architect referred to it as “Mod One” — arrived. It was a pre-fab studio with a washer and dryer and wood flooring already installed.

The red and white building is 461 Dean St., seen from afar on Flatbush Avenue. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan
The red and white building is 461 Dean St., seen from afar on Flatbush Avenue. Eagle photo by Lore Croghan

The modular apartment weighed 30,000 pounds. Spectators cheered when a crane hoisted it into the air and workers set it in place.

It seems like I just attended this event. Time flies, doesn’t it?

When you end your Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park stroll, if you need lunch, Shake Shack is on the other side of Flatbush Avenue from Barclays Center.

Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.


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1 Comment

  1. Joseph Mazias

    Clay is a pretty cool spot for pottery making in 535 Carlton. Worth a mention. I also think the upper portions are more of a sandy color than white? Will be cool to see what goes in the other retail spaces and the green space actually connecting.