Slope developer answers his critics — but the critics remain unsatisfied

The Brooklyn Paper
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An unpopular developer surprised his critics and faced down a crowd of protesters in Park Slope on Monday night, taking questions from those who are demanding that the city reject the builder’s request to exceed the density limits at the Carroll Street site.

Black House Development says it needs to build three extra townhouses in addition to the 17 luxury units already underway because of “economic hardship” caused, allegedly, by the underground remains of a power plant.

“We had no idea there was a Con Edison substation,” Ashwin Verma, a partner in the firm, told several dozen protesters who were rallying at the construction site, which is between Fourth and Fifth avenues.

Verma and his partner — both admittedly inexperienced in New York real estate — added that they want to “cooperate with the community.”

“We will put in trees; we will support a park,” said the partner, Sean Ludwick.

But the assembled residents still object to the size and design of the original plans — which were created by renowned Mexican architect Enrique Norten — and called for the Board of Standards and Appeals to deny Black House’s application for a variance to the zoning rules. That hearing was scheduled for today and a decision is expected next month.

Norten’s first design called for a large garden-area in front of the five-story apartment building. Now, the developers want to fill in that area with the additional townhouses, four stories tall.

“The major issue is the density,” said Al Tessier, an opponent who lives on Carroll Street, who was not swayed by the developer’s claims of financial woe.

“That’s not a good enough reason for us to suffer in perpetuity,” said Tessier.

Assemblywoman Joan Millman (D–Carroll Gardens) and Councilman Bill DeBlasio (D–Park Slope) have urged the Board of Standards and Appeals to turn down Black House’s proposal. In June, Community Board 6 passed a resolution asking the Board to reject the plans.

Relations were already strained between the developers and neighbors because of allegedly reckless construction. Neighbors claimed work has cracked sidewalks, flooded basements and sent nails and other debris raining onto the street

“They’re not responsible,” said Johnny Werbe, a carpenter, who lives next to the project’s rear side, which extends to Garfield Place. “This has been a disaster.”

Updated 11:33 am, July 30, 2009: Story was updated to fix an error that the editor, not the reporter, put in there. Darn editors!
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Reasonable discourse

Mary from Park Slope says:
There is no Garfiled Street -- it's Garfield Place. Was your reporter actually there?
July 28, 2009, 9:42 pm
Jim V from Downtown says:
Senator Montgomery also sent the Board of Standards and Appeals a letter urging them to deny the variance request.

I was at Monday night's events and almost had to laugh when the developer said they had no idea there had been a power substation on the site. It's still on the City site maps, clear as day, "Power Station." didn't they hire a surveyor? Unbelievable!

And the reporter was there, I saw 'im!
July 29, 2009, 10:16 am
estella from park slope says:
people need to be forward thinking. renewed growth and a beautiful building are hardly reasons to complain. all construction breeds hassles. don't like it, move to a ranch in wyoming.
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:49 am
Mr Know Better from park slope says:
Blackhouse is not telling the truth. Their own phase one report shows the sub structure, the old property maps show the sub structure. Just because Mr. Ludwick wants everyone to believe his version of the story. Does not mean it's true. Why should the community pay for his errors and shortcomings.

Please DOB, Local Board members. Make Mr. Ludwick show his cards and present the phase one report.
Sept. 21, 2009, 7:24 pm

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