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October 4, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Downtown Brooklyn Gets the Gotham City Treatment

Two new skyscrapers, Brooklyn Tower and 100 Flatbush, point to the soaring Art Deco architecture of the 1930s.

On an overcast day, the delicate pointed crown of the Brooklyn Tower is invisible in the clouds, as if a vengeful enemy has shrouded its superlative vantage in smoke. Nonetheless, over the low-rise flatlands that comprise most of the borough, the jagged edges rising along the dark shaft are present and unmistakable.

The Batman building, the Tower of Sauron — the nicknames write themselves. And why not? Better this than another squared-off tower that simply fiddles with the ratio of white solid to blue glass. Maybe I should hate it for its bigness, its blackness, its thrust — but I don’t. Skylines need punctuation. The designers of the Brooklyn Tower, SHoP Architects, threw everything at this to make it an exclamation point.

The Brooklyn Tower towers over the rest, a 1,066-foot-tall fortress at 9 DeKalb Avenue that marks the borough’s first foray into the supertall stratosphere. Yet it is not completely alone in altitude: Downtown Brooklyn has added more than 20,000 housing units since it was rezoned in 2004, most of them in undistinguished high-rises. Exceptions include Studio Gang’s 11 Hoyt and Alloy LLC’s forthcoming 100 Flatbush, which also play with texture and technology in ways that reference the 1930s — New York’s first great skyscraper age.

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

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The Gowanus Canal.
Photo: Lore Croghan/Brooklyn Eagle
Around Kings County

Adams and Hochul Hack Tax Break Impasse to Spur New Housing


Through government ownership of land in Brooklyn’s Gowanus and Staten Island’s North Shore, the mayor and governor provide financial relief to developers despite 421-a program’s expiration. Last week, Mayor Eric Adams unveiled an ambitious development agenda that would make it easier to build new housing in every neighborhood in New York City — if the City Council approves. Meanwhile, the mayor is not waiting and neither is Gov. Kathy Hochul after the state legislature this year refused to pass any elements of her proposed housing program, including tax relief and office-to-residential conversion powers Adams sought. Now both the governor in Brooklyn and the mayor on Staten Island are moving to make an end run around the legislature, by providing big property tax breaks to selected new residential development projects that would have qualified for the 421-a tax abatement that lapsed in June 2022.

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Dekalb Commons Affordable Housing Complex Breaks Ground In Bedford-Stuyvesant

City officials, project partners, and community leaders recently joined to celebrate the commencement of construction at Dekalb Commons, a three-building affordable housing complex in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Designed by Magnusson Architecture & Planning and developed in partnership by the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and St. Nicks Alliance, the buildings are currently addressed as 652 Dekalb Avenue, 639 Dekalb Avenue, and 1187 Fulton Street. The complex will include a pair of seven-story buildings and one four-story building that together yield 85 affordable units. This includes 13 apartments set aside for formerly homeless individuals. There will also be around 1,190 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. The buildings are all designed to Passive House standards and have already received New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Buildings of Excellence Blue Ribbon Award, demonstrating commitment to building more carbon neutral-ready multi-family spaces.

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Top 10 Brooklyn Real Estate Listings: A PLG Row House, a Ditmas Park Standalone

The most popular listings on Brownstoner this week include a Crown Heights row house, a Cypress Hills standalone, and a Park Slope manse.While Crown Heights was popular with two listings in the top 10, for the most part listings were scattered around the borough. The least expensive property on the list is a Cypress Hills house at $750,000 and the most expensive is the Park Slope manse at $13.995 million.

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300 Huntington Street Nears Completion In Gowanus

Work is nearing completion on 300 Huntington Street, a six-story commercial building in Gowanus. Designed by Dattner Architects and Bernheimer Architecture and developed and built by Monadnock Development, the 101,000-square-foot structure will yield 80,000 square feet of office space, 12,290 square feet of retail space, a 3,470-square-foot industrial workshop, 5,780 square feet of unspecified building service area, and a 15,490-square-foot rear yard dedicated to the anchor tenant.

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Affordable Housing Lottery Launches for Tower 77 In Greenpoint

The affordable housing lottery has launched for Tower 77, a nine-story mixed-use building at 85 Commercial Street in Greenpoint. Designed by CetraRuddy Architecture and developed by Clipper Equity, the structure yields 240 residences. Available on NYC Housing Connect are 230 units for residents at 40 to 125 percent of the area median income (AMI), ranging in eligible income from $32,023 to $218,875.

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Excavation Progresses At 380 4th Avenue In Gowanus

Excavation is continuing at 380 4th Avenue, the site of a 17-story residential building in Gowanus. Designed by GF55 Architects and developed by Quinlan Development Group LLC, the 175-foot-tall structure will span 211,650 square feet and yield 197 rental units with an average scope of 830 square feet, as well as 6,030 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, a cellar level, a 40-foot-long rear yard, and 30 enclosed parking spaces. Fifty of the units will be designated as affordable housing. McGowan Builders Inc. is the general contractor for the $78 million project, which is located between 3rd and 6th Streets.

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What $240,000 Buys in Midwood

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Granular Details Spell Success For Brooklyn’s Refinery At Domino

The benefits of converting age-old structures to new and different uses are compelling. Adaptive reuse represents a more sustainable means of creating new developments. It is also a method saving developers the cost of razing old buildings. It puts back into productive use older structures that may have stood empty for years or decades. Because structures built before 1950 were built for a much less automobile-dependent society, adaptive reuse projects tend to restore density and encourage walking within the districts where they’re located.

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Housing Solutions From 

Across The Globe

The New Utrecht Reformed Church was built 190 years ago in what is now the neighborhood of Bensonhurst.
Photo: Paula Katinas/EBrooklyn Media
California Legislature Passes Slew of YIMBY Reforms

Two bills approved by the Legislature this week will make it easier to build affordable housing on church land and in coastal areas. The state Senate gave final approval to S.B. 4, requiring local governments to approve affordable housing projects on land owned by religious institutions and non-profit colleges, even if their zoning codes wouldn’t usually allow it. Passing “Yes in God’s Backyard” (YIGBY) legislation, a play on “Yes In My Backyard” (YIMBY), has been a long-running priority for many of the state’s churches, who are often eager to develop housing on their land as part of their religious mission and as a means of financially supporting their operations in the face of dwindling church attendance.

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In Ireland, Could Modular Homes be an Answer to the Housing Crisis?

Ireland’s housing catastrophe needs urgent action. But there is a way to potentially increase the supply of homes that has received surprisingly little attention. The State may be reluctant to embrace a new approach to housing, but these could deliver thousands of homes.

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Perspectives On Brooklyn
And Beyond


► Supreme Court Turns Away Challenge to New York’s Rent Regulations

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would not hear a challenge to New York’s rent-stabilization regulations, under which the government sets maximum permissible rent increases and generally allows tenants to renew their leases indefinitely. Landlords had argued that a rent-stabilization law that covers about a million units is an unconstitutional government taking of private property. Other petitions asking the Supreme Court to rule on aspects of the regulations are pending, and the justices may yet agree to consider one or more of those cases. The trade associations that brought the challenge — Community Housing Improvement Program and Rent Stabilization Association of N.Y.C. — vowed to continue to fight. “We see the Supreme Court’s decision not to take our case as a signal to bring more targeted challenges to specific provisions of the law illustrating direct impacts on housing providers,” the associations said in a statement. “This is not the end of the road.” Read more.


►  Can NYC Ease Housing Costs With ‘City of Yes’ Proposal?

Zoning reforms could address several of New York City’s issues, but experts say Mayor Eric Adams may need to ask for more to get affordable housing results. Over the next year, residents of New York City will weigh an ambitious new housing agenda from Mayor Eric Adams, one with the potential to change more than just high rents. Read more.


►  Wells Fargo Buying Hudson Yards Retail Space for $550M

Bank plans to convert former Neiman Marcus store to office. Wells Fargo is spending more than a half-billion dollars to buy a Hudson Yards property for a retail-to-office conversion. The bank is paying roughly $550 million to buy Neiman Marcus’ former space at 20 Hudson Yards, Bloomberg reported. Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group are selling the three-story, 400,000-square-foot space while retaining ownership of the rest of the 11-story property. Read more.


►  Op-Ed: Local Housing Development Efforts in New York Need Statewide Help

The New York State Legislature’s inaction on housing this year — despite a historic opportunity and unprecedented focus on the issue — was very frustrating to advocates and the affordable housing industry. However, the session and its aftermath have at least shown that the lack of adequate housing supply is now front and center in political and policy discussions at all levels of the state. Read more.


►  These Neighborhoods in New York City are Sinking the Fastest

According to a study by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Rutgers’ University Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, researchers have found a way to determine exactly which regions in the New York City metropolitan area are sinking the fastest. The areas in New York City that saw the most rapid vertical land motion from 2016 to 2023 were LaGuardia Airport and Arthur Ashe Stadium — both located in Queens. The sinking is due to a process known as glacial isostatic adjustment. Read more.


►  Governor Hochul Announces Start of 76 Unit Affordable Housing Development in Yonkers

The project in Downtown Yonkers is part of the State’s efforts to expand housing opportunities near MTA transit hubs. Known as the St. Clair, the development will be subject to environmental standards as part of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s Clean Energy Initiative. Read more.


►  Morris Adjmi Delivers a Brick Residential Building in Atlanta’s new Fourth Ward

In case you haven’t noticed, Atlanta is booming. At present, the city touts a $30 billion design economy and is poised to become the “creative capital of the Southeast,” according to representatives from the upcoming Atlanta Design Festival. Amid a housing crisis, located in Atlanta’s historic Fourth Ward Park is one of the city’s most ambitious megaprojects to date: Fourth Ward. The mixed-use district developed by New City, an Atlanta development company, boasts designs from Morris Adjmi, Olson Kundig, and others. Previously, New City has completed other transformative projects in Atlanta like Ponce City Market, a redevelopment project not far from the new buildings. Read more.

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