Cats’s cradle grows in Fort Greene

Cats’s cradle grows in Fort Greene
Dattner Architects, via The Rinaldi Group

Fort Greene is climbing to new heights.

Billionaire and mayoral also-ran John Catsimatidis is planning a 400-apartment, 32-story tower as the final piece of his four-building development along Myrtle Avenue, permits show. Catsimatidis attended nearby Brooklyn Technical High School and said the neighborhood was not somewhere one would rent a luxury apartment in those days.

“Back then you didn’t go to Fort Greene Park,” he said. “Not without the football team.”

Catsimatidis bought the properties that take up nearly all of the two blocks between Ashland Place and Flatbush Avenue Extension for $1 million back in the early 1980s and finally got around to building on the lots in the last decade. The current construction boom that stretches for blocks into Downtown began with Forest City Ratner clearing a swath of that neighborhood to build the MetroTech Center office campus starting in the 1980s, Catsimatidis said.

“Things started with MetroTech and everything just emanated out to the blocks around it,” he said.

The tower is set to include 80 below-market-rate units and rise to more than twice as tall as the rest of the planned complex. The difference is due to height restrictions in place to preserve the views of the neighboring University Towers, Catsimatidis said.

One building, the Andrea, named for Castimatidis’s daughter, opened in 2010 standing nine stories tall and containing 95 rental apartments, plus a Catsimatidis-owned Red Apple Supermarket on the ground floor. The second, the Giovanni, is an ode to John Catsmitadis, Jr. and is set to open later this year, standing 15 stories with 205 apartments inside. Crews are set to break ground on the third, yet-to-be-named building this year and it is supposed to be about 15 stories as well. Catsimatidis said he thinks he’ll keep it in the family.

“The next will be named after my wife,” he said. “Maybe ‘Margo Plaza.’ ”

And the last one?

“Maybe Cat’s tower,” he said. “Just kidding.”

The skyscraper is slated to sit closest to Flatbush and include ground-floor retail.
When the fourth tower is done Catsimatidis said he’ll shift his focus to Coney Island, where he owns two blocks and is planning three more high-rises.

“It’s the last piece for Myrtle Avenue, then we head to Coney Island,” he said.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at mperl‌man@c‌ngloc‌al.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.