El Condo: Work begins on building set for El Greco site

Diner serves up condos
GFI Realty Services, Incorporated

The beloved diner is gone, but the residential tower cooked up to replace El Greco is getting ready to rise.

Construction at the corner of Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue began last week and is expected to last until the summer of 2018 on a new mixed-use building that will include retail space, a public plaza, and an amenity never before seen in Southern Brooklyn.

The developer said he hopes the building will modernize the image of Emmons Avenue.

“We are trying to push the envelope in terms of architectural design in South Brooklyn,” said Sergey Rybak, of Rybak Development and Construction, the company developing the property. His company is also currently building the 104 Wave Condo on West End Avenue.

The façade of the building will feature a mix of exposed concrete pillars and curtain wall glazing, and the design will include a maritime motif.

“I think this is the coolest thing about the building,” Rybak said. “We asked people in the community what they would like to see, and instead of doing a red brick box like you might see in most of the buildings in the area, we will be doing something new and different.”

Rybak’s enthusiasm for the building’s modern design isn’t necessarily infectious. Some locals don’t see anything wrong with the old-fashioned brick style that Rybak is so eager to move away from.

“It isn’t particularly my taste,” said Cliff Bruckenstein, a member of Community Board 15. “Most of the larger apartment buildings in the area are brick buildings. It would be nicer if it wasn’t so modern looking. But I’m not the one paying for it or designing it.”

The Emmons Avenue building will include ground-floor retail space bigger than four and a half basketball courts, and 58 residential units on the upper floors with one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments available. It will also boast a rooftop pool.

Rybak expects the development to include 134 parking spaces available for both commercial and residential use.

There will also be a public plaza running along Emmons Avenue between Sheepshead Bay Road and E. 19th Street with fixed and removable seating.

Rybak said the new building will be one of the few in the city to already comply with new flood resiliency codes. It will be outfitted with a metal paneling system designed to protect against storm surges, and none of the electrical or mechanical systems will be on the ground floor.

Bruckenstein praised Rybak’s approach as a developer, citing his open and up-front relationship with the community and the project’s “as-of-right” status regarding adherence to all zoning rules and regulations. Bruckenstein also said he thought that the amount of planned parking spaces was ample — and more than offered by many other developments in the area.

“As developers go, he’s not bad,” Bruckenstein said. “As long as he builds everything according to what he’s saying, it could be a lot worse.”

Meanwhile, ground was also recently been broken a few blocks away at 1501 Voorhies Ave., for a planned 30-story residential tower. Details about the building are sparse, and some of the information that Muss Development presented at a CB15 meeting last year has changed, according to company representative Jeff Kay.

The Voorhies building’s upper floors are expected to be condominiums, with the bottom two-thirds as rental units offered through AvalonBay Communities.

El gonzo: The El Greco Diner was demolished last month to make way for a planned 58-unit residential tower.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

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