Huge new apartment building planned for Greenpoint

Huge new apartment building planned for Greenpoint
Photo by Bryan Bruchman

The developers behind a planned 210-unit apartment building on Greenpoint’s northernmost tip insist there’s a market for luxury rentals — even at the mouth of Newtown Creek.

Builders from Domain Companies bought a one-story industrial warehouse one block from the waterway on Box Street and want to turn it into a seven-story residential complex with retail on the ground floor facing Manhattan Avenue and rents around $1,900 per month for one-bedroom apartments and $2,300 per month for two-bedroom units.

The building’s size and location — nine blocks from the nearest subway station and one block from a body of water so polluted the feds declared it a Superfund site — have raised a few eyebrows in the neighborhood. But Domain’s Chris Papamichael said that the area is still desirable as it’s more affordable than other nearby luxury rental hubs like Williamsburg and Long Island City and it’s less than a 10-minute walk to public transportation.

“With rents pushing up in Williamsburg, you’re going further into Greenpoint,” said Papamichael. “We think the building will do very well.”

The proposed building would boast a large courtyard, a rooftop with several wooden canopies and gardens, a fitness center, groundfloor retail, and 133 underground parking spaces.

The developers do not need to seek a rezoning for permission to build, but like the planners of many luxury buildings along the waterfront, they hope to gain perks from the city by pricing 20 percent of their units below market rate, with rents around $750 per month for one-bedroom apartments and $950 per month for two-bedroom units. Interested tenants would need to apply through a housing lottery to win one of the lower-cost units.

Construction should begin in late 2012 and wrap up in two years, the developers say.

The project might be the second giant project to arrive in Greenpoint, after former basketball star Magic Johnson’s colossal Viridian opened on Green Street in 2009 — and promptly went bankrupt before a new owner bought it for $58 million last year.

Other large-scale projects are slated to pop up on the Greenpoint waterfront in the next few years, including a handful of luxury towers that developer George Klein hopes to build along West Street.

Some community leaders say that the area lacks the parks, open space, transportation, and infrastructure needed to support large-scale development — but they say they still wish Papamichael’s project well.

“It’s not a very innovative building, but it certainly looks to be of a much higher caliber than 99 percent of what’s being built in the neighborhood,” said Community Board 1 Land Use Committee Chairwoman Heather Roslund. “Somebody always moves into these things. People will pay to live nine blocks from the subway because there’s not enough housing in New York for everybody.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2547.