Shuttle diplomacy: Luxury developer already promising L-train replacement service

Shuttle diplomacy: Luxury developer already promising L-train replacement service
Photo by Louise Wateridge

Yoga rooms and rooftop pools be damned — the next must-have amenity for luxury Williamsburg apartment buildings could be subway access.

The developer of a new waterfront complex is already promising to shuttle its charmed residents to nearby subway stations if the Metropolitan Transportation Authority goes ahead with plans to stop L-train service to Manhattan for years of repairs in 2018, in an effort to dissuade the tenants from defecting elsewhere.

“We decided the best thing we could do is to be proactive and position us in the best possible way both for existing tenants and filling the building up,” said Steven Charno of Douglaston Development, which opened One North Fourth Place near the river last year.

The North Fifth Street Pier-adjacent high-rise — where pads range between $3,500 and $8,500 — says it will drive residents between its front door and the nearest JMZ station at Marcy Avenue during rush-hour if the transit agency follows through on reports that it will close the L-train tunnel to fix damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Real-estate brokers claim the spectre of years without the service to the neighboring borough is already stopping straphangers from moving in along the line, and Charno says the company wanted to offer some early assurance.

“I think everybody is worried about how they’ll get to work,” he said. “We decided very early on that if we could avoid our residents having any anxiety about that, why wouldn’t we?”

Agency honchos say they need to fix up the two concrete L-train tubes that run between the boroughs, which were ripped apart by the 2012 superstorm, but still haven’t announced exactly how it will do so.

The authority may freeze service entirely for a two-year construction binge, fix one tube at a time for around four years, or perform night and weekend repairs that could drag on for seven years. It has already ruled out building a new tunnel altogether.

Officials are expected to offer some answers in a meeting next month.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.