CB2: This project takes no ‘Toll’ on DUMBO

A “gritty” and very urban residential tower proposed by one of the nation’s largest suburban homebuilders breezed over the first hurdle of the public review process when a Community Board 2 committee approved Toll Brothers’ Water Street design on Wednesday night.

And not only does the design fit the DUMBO context, committee members also said they appreciated that the developers did not shoot for the full 12 stories that the current zoning allows.

Instead, the housing will remain at seven stories, except for one luxury condo unit that will extend to nine stories on one side.

The 8-3 vote is a step in the right direction for the developers — who recently retreated from the toxic Gowanus Canal after it was declared a Superfund site — and their chic, rust-colored steel and gray concrete housing project at 205 Water St. between Jay and Bridge streets that extends through the block to Plymouth Street.

“We loved the gritty nature of this industrial area, and that was our inspiration,” said Navid Maqami of GreenbergFarrow, the project’s architects. “The rust colors, steel and concrete — these are what you find in DUMBO.”

But there was some mild controversy because the tower has two extended stories on the Plymouth Street side.

Committee members touted the rust-colored structure as too much of a “surprise,” and called for the architects to reconsider that portion and make it less obtrusive.

“If there wasn’t a piece that looked like a ship falling off the building, it’d be better,” said Irene Janner, a committee member.

The project will contain 67 market-rate units and 86 parking spaces in an underground garage. The current zoning in the landmark district of DUMBO doesn’t require 20-percent of the units to be below-market-rate housing at each residential complex — but the landmark zoning of 2007 requires that the project be voted on by the Landmarks Commission.

After the project reaches the full community board, it heads to the commission for an April 6 vote.

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