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Lumber lofts! Developer plans studios over his waterfront wood warehouse

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A room with a waterfront view could be yours — if you don’t mind the smell of lumber in the morning.

The owner of a former Williamsburg lumber factory wants to turn the Kent Avenue warehouse into a loft space for artists to raise money for a stalled 754-unit housing project at the same site.

Last week, buildings officials issued permits approving developer Isack Rosenberg’s $3.1-million plan to convert the second and third floors of his Certified Lumber factory at S. 11th Street into 30 units. The first floor would remain a warehouse.

Rosenberg has not set a price for the units but an ally said that the apartments will be competitive to market rate.

“Anyone, no matter race or religion, who has a good credit history will be able to rent there,” said Gary Schlesinger, Rosenberg’s colleague.

But neighbors say renters would be crazy to move in there.

“It smells oily and acrid whenever I walk by there,” said Deborah Masters, who lives in a loft building across the street. “From an environmental point of view, I wouldn’t want to be on that property.”

Rosenberg’s larger plan for the waterfront site is a $400-million housing and retail complex called Rose Plaza on the River.

Last April, the City Council approved a rezoning plan that would allow Rosenberg to build residential towers of 18, 24 and 28 stories. The project would include 240 below-market-rate units.

But the site has sat vacant for more than a year as Rosenberg has tried to secure financing to build.

Now, Rosenberg hopes to attract artists and Orthodox Jewish tenants to live in his former factory with month-to-month leases — a stopgap measure to generate revenue for Rose Plaza, according to a source close to the developer.

The conversion work could be finished by December, if state environmental officials sign off on the plan.

Updated 11:31 am, July 13, 2011
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Reasonable discourse

Stickler from Library says:
Aaron.
Where is it?
What's the cross street?
What part of Journalism School teaches you to give specific information?
The FIRST DAY, I'd expect.
July 13, 2011, 8:16 am
I'm_A_Reader from RedHookedOnPhonics says:
Kent & S. 11th.

Down with Rose Plaza, no more affordable housing developments. There are enough already.
July 13, 2011, 12:18 pm
Really? from WB says:
@I'm_a_reader - Where are all of these affordable housing developments in williamsburg?
July 14, 2011, 8:20 am
Sick of it all from Williamsburg says:
Doesn't matter how many "below market rate etc".. the M.O. is to make rental office information vague and unaccessible, while filling up the building with hasidic families BEFORE the building is complete! no one else stands a chance. Just look at the monstrosity on Wythe and Clymer... built with public funds and not a single non-hasidic family. Yes folks, your mayor and marty and dov, etc. all sell you out! I might report this to the mayor's office of jewish affairs, since there is no office of latino or clack or polish affairs... Hmmmmmmm
July 15, 2011, 3:33 pm
Joe kelsall from LiverpoolUK says:
I have seen the power of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn and also in Israel. Could somebody tell me if the Hasidics are getting the accommodation by claiming poverty?
I am sure that the citizens of Brooklyn sympathise with the Palestinians who have been victims of a subtle and subliminal effort to steal their land. The Old testament should be in the Library under the mythology section. It is not a legal conveyancing document.
Incongruously, I, as an Irish citizen, am continually being offered property for sale in Israel via Email. In the meantime there are no properties available for sale to people born and bred in Palestine.
The state of Israel was founded as an apology for the allies failure to protect the Jews during WW2. Consequently the Palestinians are still being punished for Europe's failures. This phenomenon seems to have spread to Brooklyn.
Aug. 12, 2011, 8:45 am
Ethan Pettit from East Williamsburg says:
@Joe Kelsall. Yes, the Hasidim get subsidized housing by claiming poverty, and in most cases the claim is true. The average Hassidic family in Williamsburg is large and by no means wealthy. But the Hassidic community as a whole is extremely well organized. I've lived and worked here for 30 years. And I am convinced that the preference that is sometimes given, albeit unfairly, to the Hassidim for subsidized housing is political payola.

Thirty years ago and more, it was the Hassidim who maintained a safe and orderly enclave for themselves inside a blighted and dangerous urban area. The Hassidim are tacitly acknowledged in Brooklyn as having earned a stake in the gentrification that started in earnest less than 20 years ago. By contrast, the black and Hispanic communities are tacitly blamed for the blight and violence that preceded gentrification. Consequently, these groups have suffered most from displacement.

You'll never see it spelled out this way "in print" in New York, but it is assuredly the case. Politics and business conspire to divvy out reward and punishment on the road to gentrification.

I am a member of the white bourgeoise artist and bohemian population who set gentrification in motion in Williamsburg. We too have received payola for our efforts. The "Loft Law" allows artists who live in commercial buildings, where it is technically illegal to live, to now live in their lofts legally. It is a law that went into effect in lower Manhattan 30 years ago, and has recently been expanded deep into the industrial reaches of Brooklyn. Today, entire factory buildings are aglow at night, while others still stand vacant and darkened.
Jan. 18, 2012, 12:05 am

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