The lowdown on the Downtown construction boom

The lowdown on the Downtown construction boom
Stefano Giovannini

The face of Downtowna and DUMBO is set to change dramatically in the next few years thanks to a slew of development projects taking shape within a 10-minute walk of Borough Hall. From DUMBO’s first townhouses to the second phase of City Point, here is a guide to what is going on behind all those construction fences:

252 Atlantic Ave.

The two-story mini-mall planned for the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Boerum Place has faced long delays and it will have the Brooklyn House of Detention for a neighbor, but that has not stopped home furnishing store Pier 1 Imports and Retro Fitness, a gym, from lining up to be the first tenants, according to a spokeswoman for Renaissance Realty Group. The shopping center will be called Atlantic Galleria. Pier 1 has claimed the top floor of the building and Retro Fitness is getting the basement, leaving the first floor up for grabs.

Work has finally begun, but a Renaissance Realty spokeswoman would not confirm the group’s previous projected finish date of winter 2013.

City Point

Phase two of City Point — the huge development slowly rising around the Dime Savings Bank building on a lot touching Fleet Street, Flatbush Avenue, and Albee Square — started construction last year and should be finished by 2015. The first phase, a boxy four-story retail space at Fulton Street, is finished and waiting for Century 21 to move in as an anchor tenant. But at the moment, the rest of the project just looks like a massive hole in the ground.

The completed cluster of structures will include 19- and 30-story residential towers. (A 65-story high-rise appeared in an early rendering, but the design was “really totally imaginary,” according to an Albee Development spokesman.) The lower levels will house a movie theater, a “Market Hall,” and retail galore.

Lately, though, the project has been making headlines for a labor dispute that has become a focus of local pols this election season. In May, Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) and Assemblyman Walter Mosley (D-Fort Greene) joined a group of unions in filing a lawsuit complaining that the non-union contractors on the project were paid bottom-of-the-barrel wages. Last week, James reversed her position, calling herself a proud supporter of City Point.

Klitgord Building

The 51-year-old Klitgord Building — the New York City College of Technology auditorium at the intersection of Jay and Tillary Street — is in the process of being razed and should be demolished by September, according to Department of Buildings records.

Going up in its place, with an expected completion date of 2016: a shiny eight-story academic building housing an auditorium, a gymnasium, classrooms, and theater space.

The plan is a far cry from Mr. Brooklyn, developer Bruce Ratner’s earlier vision for a condo-classroom combo reaching as high as 100 stories. Mr. Brooklyn was to be built in partnership with the City University of New York but Ratner scrapped the project in 2008 after the university backed out over cost concerns. The final design is more modest at 149 feet tall, according to the school.

Dumbo’s townhouses

The first townhouses in DUMBO are going up where a famous elephant mural once decorated the ‘hood. The last time we looked at the five-building project at the intersection of Pearl and Water streets, the developers at Alloy were still struggling to get their plans approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which wanted assurance that the new buildings would fit in with DUMBO’s industrial brick look.

Now, Alloy has cleared that hurdle by widening the windows of the four-bedroom townhouses from their original design, which featured a Soviet-style cement grille. Two townhouses are already on the market for over $4 million each — despite the fact that construction is still under way.

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.