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Last of the petroleum! Cobble Hill’s last gas station likely doomed

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Cobble Hill drivers may soon lose the last gas station in their neighborhood now that the land it sits on has sold for a hefty sum.

A Manhattan developer dropped $7.75 million in April for the Atlantic Avenue lot at Henry Street, records show. The gas station is almost certainly destined to become luxury housing with ground-floor retail, a real estate expert said.

“It’s gonna be apartments and retail, what else?” said legendary real estate broker Chris Havens, speaking with a general knowledge of the neighborhood but no connection to the recent transaction.

Havens pointed out that the gas station faces his favorite liquor store, Heights Chateau on Atlantic Avenue.

“It’s across from the best wine store in the city, what more can you want?” he asked, rhetorically. “Talk about gentrifica­tion.”

The gas station also neighbors Long Island College Hospital, which closed in May after 156 years and is on its way to becoming ritzy apartments with a handful of medical facilities mixed in.

Cobble Hill Super Service, a gas station and garage, currently sits on the property its owner bought for $2.67 million in 2009. If the developer’s plan involves booting the fill-up station, the closest option for drivers to get gas will be nearly two miles away in Clinton Hill or Gowanus. Two other Atlantic gas stations have closed in recent years.

A man who answered the phone at the Cobble Hill gas station on Tuesday hung up on an inquiring reporter without a word.

Petroleum has dried up in other parts of the city where property values have skyrocketed, Havens said.

“A lot of Manhattan residents have been complaining that gas is disappeari­ng,” he said.

Real estate firm Avery Hall Investments, the property’s new owner, did not return multiple calls for comment.

Whatever the company decides to build on the site, neighbors won’t have to worry about a towering high-rise going up for now. The property lies within a historic district where zoning limits new buildings to a height of 50 feet.

Turning a gas station into residential or retail space can be complicated, with tanks to dig up and soil contamination possible. But Havens said that probably won’t stop development.

“The numbers are just so high,” he said.

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
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Reader Feedback

da editah says:
“It’s gonna be apartments and retail, what else?” said [constantly self-promoting] real estate broker Chris Havens, speaking [out of his elbow, as he frequently has no qualms of doing].
June 25, 2014, 8:33 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
But we can put a bike station there that we can all share.
June 25, 2014, 9:46 am
ty from pps says:
It's not like you would use a car just to drive around Cobble Hill... presumably you would be driving somewhere else, ya know, where there is a gas station along the way. Hardly a hardship, right?
June 25, 2014, 9:46 am
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Meh, the area doesn't need all those cars anyway. Transplants bringing their cars over and crowding up the streets goes on too much as it is. Leave your car back in bumble-crap.
June 25, 2014, 9:46 am
ty from pps says:
Yes, Rufus. That would be great. Oh, but it's not necessary... there's already one just on the other side of Atlantic.
June 25, 2014, 9:51 am
Resident from Brooklyn says:
This is a better use of space. Apartments for people to live in versus a station for drivers. This is good news.
June 25, 2014, 9:53 am
Rob from NY says:
This is good. Let's keep increasing the supply of housing. If there is a transportation issue, let's add more buses.
June 25, 2014, 10:12 am
Al from Park Slope says:
Wait, Im confused, was this article about a gas station being turned into apartments or is this the Brooklyn Paper's new way of getting advertising money for a wine shop. Since we are reviewing wine shops, Heights Chateau is old, dusty and as unorganiized as that closet you throw all of your crap into when you are having guests swing by.

Maybe Im a bit Park Slope centric but the 5th Ave shops are are some of the best I have been to. My favorites are Red White & Bubbly, Picada Y Vino and Sip!!!!!!
June 25, 2014, 11 am
Chris from NY says:
Yay! Cars don't belong in NYC.
June 25, 2014, 11:28 am
May from PPS says:
Yes, let's keep increasing the amount of housing. Yes, let's keep over-crowding already crowded neighborhoods. We so need one more upscale apartment building that middle-class families can't afford. And when the next real estate crash hits, or Brooklyn isn't the "in" place to live anymore (because it lost all it's interesting bits to gentrification), what happens then? I remember when this happened in the 80's, and it wasn't pretty.
June 25, 2014, 1:32 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
May is able to complain that housing isn't affordable but also warn us of a future calamity in which it will be. That's some evolved thinking!
June 25, 2014, 1:59 pm
The Chooch from The Bohemian Magic Show says:
Brooklyn is going to be hip for a long long time. Brooklyn will be hip long after hydrocarbon burning vehicles have been banned outright from the city. And even then, you will not be able to afford to live here. You squander your chance, you lose your chance. Now skiddy along now scoot.
June 25, 2014, 2:07 pm
Ted from Iowwhhha says:
It's NYC. Who even drives other than those silly folks from Bay Ridge.
June 25, 2014, 4:51 pm
Ted from Iowwhhha says:
@May,

Losing it's interesting bits? Like... a gas station?

Lol, smrts!
June 25, 2014, 4:53 pm
May from PPS says:
@Mike from WillyB-yes, it is-especially when you've seen it happen before.

@Ted from Iowwhhha-it's not just a gas station, it's a host of things. But since you're so hip and cool, it's probably beneath you.
June 25, 2014, 4:56 pm
Common Cents from Crown Heights says:
Hopefully The housing boom will end soon. Then these luxury apartments that are being bought by forgein interests and corporations can be off loaded.
June 25, 2014, 6:12 pm
Bastiaan Van Der Jan Dirk from Breukelen says:
Horrible. Shell is a Dutch company. The Dutch founded "Brooklyn." We need to preserve Dutch heritage and presence in this town. The Society of Old Brooklynites should be out there protesting this.
June 25, 2014, 6:16 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
I know a lot of you dislike gas stations, but there will always be a need for them. The vehicles have to fill up somewhere. Having to go a distance to fill up by itself is using up a good amount of gas. Of course, I just fill up in NJ because gas is a lot cheaper there, but this is using up some gas just to get gas at a lower price. I do agree with May on this issue, because I feel that she is right about this.
June 25, 2014, 8:59 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Wrong, Tal. I don't need gas stations. I used to, but now I don't. My point is that the "need" for gas stations isn't absolute or even "always will be." We can decrease the need for gas stations, and a good place to decrease the number is where people don't need them anymore.

Claiming to agree with May though. Maybe you're a fake Tal--May's comments were beyond dumb. No one would say that in real life.
June 26, 2014, 12:11 am
Dot from Dasssshhhh says:
Get on you bikes comrades! Forward!

Besides the Dutch brought slavery to Brooklyn - they should pay reperations.

More Luxury Housing for the masses!
June 26, 2014, 6:23 am
ekiM from Williamsburg says:
Talking about "comments beyond dumb," here is Mike again with his math but not really math about housing. How to answer him? Why, put a broken needle on a broken record!

From the last article Mike pretended he was an "economist" about "affordable housing", ["626 Flatbush ave. Project Under Fire" 6/10/2014]:

""Rents will never go down. They also don't have to explode like they have over the past decade either though."

Mike talks about people using "Orwellian language" largely because he's so adept at it. He's also very good at describing himself while ostensibly describing others: "I know the cause of the opposition--that old I've Got Mine sense of entitlement. Sometimes it's mixed with a misunderstanding of economics, too."

The first statement by Mike is a recent change, because Mike has for months, perhaps years, pushed the specious argument that, in fact, "building more brings rents down." Anyone can look up ANY Brooklyn Paper article and note a curious item about Mike's "understanding" of economics: he NEVER advocates this "build more, rents go down" argument when it involves affordable housing or any housing period EXCEPT for luxury condominium housing. In fact, whenever Brooklyn Paper covers any construction or proposed construction of affordable housing, you will find that Mike, who apparently fancies himself an economist, suddenly dispense with "build more, rent down" formula and start with his "perversions" argument--an equally simple formula.

Mike is not an economist. He doesn't possess much of an "understanding" of economics. He doesn't possess much "understanding" about housing. And when he advances an argument that is categorically false for how long now flying in the face of history and facts and some of that Colbertian "truthiness," and now finally admits but only with a squeak that it is false he also doesn't possess much "understanding" about "Orwell."

No, Mike. You either don't understand economics or housing or Orwell, or, quite simply, are either deluded or deceptive.

But, hey Mike, if you want to keep pretending you're so superior to those you disagree with, especially when you're pretending to know "economics," why don't you try arguing with Forbes, not exactly a bastion of anti-capitalist sentiment, when they shine a light on "build more, rent down," and expose you:

""When libertarians (and liberals) argue that increasing the supply of urban housing will lower the price of urban housing, they’re drawing on some pretty basic and well-established economic concepts. AND YET, THE COEXISTENCE OF GENTRIFICATION AND HOUSING SUPPLY GROWTH SEEM TO PUT A LIE TO THAT THEORY - IN CITIES ACROSS AMERICA, WE SEE NEIGHBORHOODS ADDING HOUSING WHILE STILL SEEING RAPID INCREASES IN THE PRICE OF HOUSING."
[Stephen Smith, "Does Urban Growth Have to Mean Gentrification?" 9/29/2011]"

And here, more about Mike's "economics," namely a bitter mishmash and ad hominem against "those other people with entitlement and misunderstanding of economics because they have the temerity to disagree with me" than any ACTUAL economics. Mike says "rents never go down." Mike is wrong. And Mike is such an advanced economist, all it took to prove him wrong was doing something Mike rarely does: research. And, like that other ostensibly anti-capitalist Forbes Magazine, here is Bloomberg Businessweek, which must be one of those people "with entitlement and misunderstanding of economics":

http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=23523296
June 26, 2014, 8:28 am
ekiM from Williamsburg says:
Mike, here's a lesson on Orwell for you for the next time: no one in real life, NO ONE but you and that other fool ty, and possibly for your family members and sycophants who have to deal with the excruciating role of "being there for you," NO ONE makes dumb comments like "build more, and the rents will go down."

Granted, you are not saying that anymore, as the last round of comments indicated, but that's largely because you didn't have so many agreeable trolls as you do here. When you're preaching to the choir you go back to that formula which you already admitted is wrong [as you yourself said on 6/26/14: "Rents will never go down. They also don't have to explode like they have over the past decade either though."] That last time you were confronted by a well round of commenters who easily demonstrated how facile even specious your line of thinking is. You couldn't as easily pretend your superiority so you had to actually elaborate on your 2 2=5. And thus you argued that somehow 5-2=14, or a similar analogy to your type of "economics."

Which means you're not really dumb, you're just a liar.
June 26, 2014, 8:37 am
ty from pps says:
Animal Farm is Tal's favorite book.
June 26, 2014, 9:15 am
ColumbiaSt says:
You Brooklyn people sound like Marie Antoinette - let them eat cake - let them just bike. For many of us biking isn't feasible. Some of us must drive & I've used that gas station many a time since it's the only one at the BQE. Should we should have one of those big gas/rest stations put on the pier like they have on the turnpike. Open your eyes & get over yourselves. All this luxury housing & apartments & hundreds of thousands of new people swarming into the area & no infrastructure improvements, no hospitals, no new schools. Brooklyn people just don't get it.
June 26, 2014, 10:53 am
GG from South Brooklyn says:
As long as they have parks for their nannies & tow-headed tots to spend the day nobody there cares how many aprtmnts or condos are built or what is lost. In a few yrs when those tots don't have a seat in the preferred school because of over-crowding, then they'll finally speak up & will probably be quite loud but way too late.
June 26, 2014, 11:57 am
ty from pps says:
Dear ColumbiaSt,
There are many many gas stations in Brooklyn... you make it sound like you didn't drive by several others before getting on the BQE (or there was a force field preventing you from exiting the BQE to visit any number of other stations along that highway).

That said, I can't argue with the rest... The lack of infrastructure improvements when development happens is sad. I'd much rather see these absurd tax breaks for developers go to forcing them to pay for transit enhancements/expansion rather than the inclusion of the phony "affordable housing" allotments.
June 26, 2014, 11:58 am
ty from pps says:
Yes... or schools, or parks, or firehouse, or....
June 26, 2014, 11:59 am
jason from cobble hill says:
Good riddance. Can't wait to walk with my family down the sidewalk without nearly getting crushed by a car pulling in from across Atlantic Ave. But if you don't mind, please leave the air pump.
June 26, 2014, 4:33 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
It's flattering someone took time to look up things I've said in the past. I'd appreciate it if he could find a time when I promised rents would actually go -down- if we build enough. I consistently say the way way to do that is to make the city worse--allow crime, cancel the subway, whatever.

I don't have a Ph.D. in economics and have never pretended to. I understand economics far better than the "stop increasing supply in order to hold prices down!" people, whether they commenting here or on the City Council or anywhere in between.
June 26, 2014, 5:38 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
And I don't intend to argue with Stephen Smith, who I broadly agree with and who has tweeted quotes I've made in comments here because he agreed with me.
June 26, 2014, 5:40 pm
ekiM from Williamsburg says:
Of course you ignore ALL understanding to project only ego when professing to "understand better" than your neighbors, when rightly, in light of your record, humility is in order, but Matthew 12:6.
June 26, 2014, 6:43 pm
ty from pps says:
John 2:19
June 26, 2014, 7:44 pm
ekiM from Williamsburg says:
John 8:41-44
June 26, 2014, 8:11 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Well, this has gotten inane.

Find where I claimed rents will go DOWN from building, instead of allowing that they could fall if we let the city get worse.

It doesn't take much ego to have a better understanding than my neighbors.
June 26, 2014, 8:47 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Or better yet, rather than picking through my comments (which, out of respect for fellow commenters, I keep short), tell us how you think housing can be made affordable. Not just for people lucky enough to already be in New York, but for people who'd like to come but can't afford to do so, since their lives have value too.
June 26, 2014, 8:50 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
First of all, I don't who this May person really is, but she does state a could point as does this ColumbiaSt person has as well. If the current infrastructure can barely keep up with what's there now, I don't see how building so much out of scale or luxury housing can make it any better, but rather worse. Nobody is saying that there aren't other gas stations in the area, but the motor vehicles have to fill up somewhere. Just because this one could be gone doesn't mean that nobody will be driving in Cobble Hill anymore. Seriously, it's important to fix the infrastructure first before thinking about filling every possible space with the latest everything. Let's not forget that under Bloomberg, he hardly cared about the public sector and always allowed for tax breaks for his rich buddies not to mention help them get past certain zoning laws or even get them changed just for them. Another thing is that it was Bloomberg that made the rents increase much higher than before forcing those that lived there for generations to be priced out.
June 26, 2014, 9:29 pm
jay from nyc says:
I don't really know how much "affordable" (what ever the heck that actually means) housing can really exist in New York. There are too many people here who don't make much more, a third of the city's household make less than 30K, only thing affordable for those folks is some kind of subsidy, like section 8 vouchers or some other kind of program.
You can qualify for public housing if you make as much as 67,000 if its mom dad and two kids, or in other words the old fashioned typical family unit. Keep in mind 67,000 is pretty far over the average household income for the ENTIRE country which is around $53,000 or so.
So you have a huge amount of people here whose wages, while well above what people in the rest of the country make, is no where near enough to live that great here, basically at poverty level.
NYC is, to me anyway, a distorted market place, its got huge amounts of rich foreign investors, huge loaded foreign corporations who buy property, a constant influx of new immigrants to keep the population numbers up which keeps apartments full, a ton of crappy aging housing stock that is well below substandard and should be destroyed, little space to build new things without knock down something else, combined with a percentage of super wealthy that is higher than most places who can and do pay any amount for a place and then buy up 50 more as investments, and ownership that is less than half that of the national average.
You could be 150,000 "affordable" units in one week, and two weeks later they would all be full with a line around the block of people waiting to get in. Building new stuff usually results in higher rents because its new and no longer suck and people are willing to pay for it., and as a neighborhood improves all property values go up. SO I don't see either of those things working unless hundreds of thousands of units are built in a short time that are quality, and that aint gonna happen. So basically either earn a bunch of money, or leave NYC, or accept that you can get priced out of where you live after being there for several decades and that you do not own the apartment that you rent.
June 26, 2014, 9:43 pm
Choocharoni from The Chooch and Chocha Show says:
Veiled in velvet-are you here?
Loosened, loosened [be your spell]!
Go not in and go not out!
Let there be none of you
and nothing of your part!
Turn back, turn back, the ocean rages,
Its waves are calling Mike and ty.
June 26, 2014, 9:53 pm
Plato from PPS says:
"Let us first announce to Mike that we do not intend to investigate about him, for we do not claim to be able to do that."
Cratylus
June 26, 2014, 10:15 pm
Gerry H. says:
Are they shutting the gas station down because ISIS took over that oik refinery?
June 26, 2014, 11:01 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
The statement against this project isn't really about the gas station, it's more about how neighborhoods are starting to lose what defines them so well. It isn't just here, but all over the city. All this over development does is ending up pricing out those that have lived and worked there for a long time by driving up the prices on them. There needs to be better rent laws that can protect them or having more affordable housing that can keep them there. This is like saying thanks but no thanks to those that were there before it was popular. Keep in mind that building booms don't always last, because they will end at some point. On a side note, I was thanked for saying this over on the NY Times especially on what I had to say about the LES now being like anywhere else thanks to such gentrification.
June 27, 2014, 6:57 pm
ty from pps says:
Tal - Stop hamassing us.
June 28, 2014, 12:35 pm

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