Developers plot massive glass tower in Fort Greene

The 285-foot condo tower will house an expanded Brooklyn School of Music at its base on St. Felix Place.
Courtesy of FXCollaborative

Manhattan-based developers are angling to erect a massive glass tower in Fort Greene, which will house around 120 residential units and a spacious new music school.

Builders with Gotham Organization plan to construct the 285-foot condo building on St. Felix Street between Hanson Place and Lafayette Avenue — on a vacant lot adjoining the historic Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower — senior rep for the company Bryan Kelly told Community Board 2’s Land Use committee on Wednesday.

Some members of the civic panel took issue with the glass facade of the building and its large podium entrance,, which is shown in renderings donning a modern look next to the surrounding stately townhouses and brownstones. 

“That seems garishly out of place to what’s going on on St. Felix — it jumps at you,” said Eric Sprueill. 

Kelly told the civic board member that the architects would take that feedback into consideration, and possibly change the proposed tower’s aesthetic to fit more with its surroundings.  

“I hear what your saying, that entrance should be more of a brownstone feel, I understand that,” Kelly said. “I think it’s a very valid, reasonable comment. We’ll do some studies.”

The building will have a glass podium entrance to the new addition to the musical education facility on St. Felix Place.Courtesy of FXCollaborative

If approved, the planned development would include some 120 condos, 30-percent of which will be slated as so-called “affordable housing” units under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program — which requires developers to set aside a percentage of cheaper units if they add housing via land use actions.

The “affordable” units will be targeted at households earning between $52,000 to $110,000 a year — the most expensive out of four options given to developers under the city’s regulations. 

The development’s cellar and first two floors will also house a 20,000 square foot space for the Brooklyn Music School — which is currently bursting at its seams hosting some 2,100 students in four connected townhouses adjacent to the site, according to the school chair of its board of trustees, Shelby Green.

Gotham bought the lot in 2015 for $5.5 million, along with the music school’s unused air rights for $7 million.

The school will fund its part of the build through the revenue from that sale of the air rights, along with $6 million in funding the previously city allocated for its expansion and other proceeds the education facility collected with its own fundraisers, according to the developers.

The building company hopes to launch the city’s lengthy land use review to allow for more residential units on the lot during the middle of 2020 and they anticipate having the green-light by City Council a year after that, Kelly said.

The project will also first need to get a Certificate of Appropriateness from the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, due to its location within the Special Downtown Brooklyn District.

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