40 stories and a rule

The Brooklyn Paper
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A 40-story tower will rise on the horizon for the Greenpoint waterfront — if the city allows the developers to build 10 stories higher than the current zoning permits.

The 422-unit rental tower is part of a 620-unit development planned for a waterfront site at 155 West St., between Huron and India Streets, at the very northern part of Greenpoint.

But in order to erect the a building that tall, developer Dean Palin — the man behind the Gold Street condo tower Oro — needs permission to exceed the 30-story cap that was instituted as part of a controversial 2005 upzoning of the neighborhood.

That upzoning has caused a wave of development along the waterfront, including the Edge condos at North Sixth Street and Northside Piers at North Fifth Street. Neither exceed the 30-story cap.

Alongside the tower, the developer plans to construct a $2-million public waterfront esplanade as well as three six-story buildings containing 218-units — 140 of them affordable for families that earn maximum incomes ranging from $32,280 to $41,460. Affordable housing was mandated as part of the city upzoning.

The developer claims that he needs to make his high-rise 10 stories taller than zoning allows because he cannot build within 50 feet of a sewage pipe that runs through the lot, and he cannot touch a 25-foot section of wetlands at the corner of the property, said Ken Fisher, a former councilman who is representing the builder.

Oddly shaped parcel aside, opponents of the project said that the builder should follow the same height rules that govern the rest of the waterfront.

“The developers at 155 West St. knew the lot was irregularly shaped when they bought it — and they still chose to buy it,” said Assemblyman Joe Lentol (D–Williamsbu­rg), who rallied against two proposed 40-story towers in South Williamsburg’s Domino Sugar development this spring.

“I would think that a building that was hoping for such a big concession from the community would include more affordable housing. But even if they had offered that, a 40-story building would be completely out of context with the community, would cut off sunlight and further strain vital services in the area,” Lentol added. “I think they can expect a great deal opposition to this idea.”

Supporters say there won’t be any opposition at all, actually.

“The benefit of the project is that we’re finally going to get some additional open space on the Greenpoint waterfront, and a bigger benefit is that we’re going to get 140 units of affordable housing at rents that fit the population,” said Richard Mazur, executive director of the North Brooklyn Development Corporation.

The project won’t begin until the developers secure financing — which Fisher is “cautiously optimistic” will happen by the second quarter of 2009.

Community Board 1’s Land Use Committee will discuss the tower on Nov. 25 at the board office (435 Graham Ave. near the corner of Frost Street) at 6:30 pm. Call (718) 389-0009 for info.follow the same height rules that govern the rest of the waterfront.

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Reader Feedback

Ken Fisher says:
As-of-right, the zoning permits 4 buildings: a 300 ft tower, two 150 ft towers and a 65 ft. building. What Dean is proposing is to cut both 150 ft. towers to 65 ft and increase the 300 ft. tower to 400 ft. There is no increase in square footage. We think its a much better design all around with better view corridors and more light and air.
Nov. 20, 2008, 11:44 am
Setting the record straight from Greenpoint says:
It's funny how this paper has lied about where the property is. It is nowhere near the water treatment plant. The water treatment plant is along the Newtown Creek on the other side of the neighborhood in a remote industrial zone. This property is on Greenpoint's gorgeous East River waterfront just blocks from the Greenpoint Historic District. Funny how when the skyscrapers in Williamsburg were being built, the papers forgot to mention that those were being built adjacent to Williamsburg's radioactive waste facility (RADIAC) and directly on top of an unremediated toxic brownfield (Williamsburg's Historic Eastern District Terminal). Guess we know whose pockets these "Journalists" are in.
Nov. 20, 2008, 12:45 pm
Brooklyn Is the Best from Greenpoint says:
Hey Brooklyn Paper,
Thanks for removing that phoney comment about the water treatment plant from your article on the web. Maybe there is some integrity left in the media.
Nov. 20, 2008, 1:22 pm
keep greenpoint ours from greenpoint says:
I just moved into this beautiful neighborhood, two blocks from where this abomination of a building is meant to be erected. What you developers are doing to Brooklyn is sickening. You're the reason everyone moved out of Manhattan, and now you're doing your damndest to make this borough as generic and unpalatable as possible. And how you propose to get financing, a) at a critically weak moment in the city's economy and b) when North Brooklyn is already teeming with half-built, cookie-cutter glass condos failing to sell units, is beyond me. I hope you don't get funding, and I hope this building never gets built. As new additions to this lovely community, my friends and I will do everything we can to oppose this project.

Screw you guys. Seriously.
Nov. 20, 2008, 2:07 pm
Rich from Greenpoint says:
I'm glad you just moved into the neighborhood. I've lived here since 1950 and grew up right around the corner from the proposed development site. You need to look at what an eyesore this site has been for as long as I can remember. The waterfront is dangerous at this location (people have died there) and there are some pretty ugly solid concrete wall abominations of industrial buildings that are the current view approaching the waterfront. Take a walk down Huron St. to the waterfront tell me you love the access to the waterfront & the streetscape as it is now. Have you seen the plan for the park, the esplanade & the brick (not glass) buildings (rentals not condos) that have been proposed? Welcome to the neighborhood.
Nov. 20, 2008, 3:16 pm
Ana R. from Greenpoint says:
whether you've lived here for 5 days or 50 years (i've spent twenty wonderful years here), it's quite obvious that we would all benefit from a safe, clean, accessible waterfront. i don't think we need a 40-story tower. (and not that it's at all relevant, but the building in that rendering seems to contain quite a bit of glass.) one of my favorite things about our section of north gp is the low-profile buildings that afford many of us great light and even better views. instead of continuing the trend of rampant development we should be investing in resources, such as a park and esplanade, that benefit the whole community.

and rich, how hospitable of you to welcome new residents with bitterness and vitriol.
Nov. 20, 2008, 5:14 pm

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