Too much green in Ft. Greene • Brooklyn Paper

Too much green in Ft. Greene

Luxury units in the Forte condos — Fort Greene’s first new residential skyscraper — officially went on the market last week, beginning another chapter in the neighborhood’s complete transformation into Brooklyn’s own Upper West Side.

For those who maintain their gaze at ground level, the Forte is that massive, flatiron-shaped, glass-walled skyscraper nearing completion on Fulton Street and Ashland Place. Its 30 stories will house 108 luxury units.

Last week, I got a chance to visit the Forte’s first completed apartments at the sales kick-off. Like the building itself, this was an A-list event. Expensive suits and pricey pastries, coffee flowing freely from silver samovars, gourmet quiche with slices of roasted red pepper on top. And tout le monde was there, from Downtown development czar Joe Chan to Borough President Markowitz.

During the requisite pat-on-the-back speechifying, Markowitz made a prescient comment.

“In the days to come, when New Yorkers say ‘Downtown,’ they’ll mean Downtown Brooklyn,” he proclaimed with the typical zest.

His geography may have been slightly askew — everyone knows that the BAM Cultural District is inspired by Lincoln Center far uptown — but he got the gist: Fort Greene is part of the new Manhattan.

From the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building to the state’s planned sale of 55 Hanson Place, the neighborhood surrounding BAM is turning as pricey as the Upper West Side.

The Forte’s gorgeous one-bedrooms start at $600,000, its two-bedrooms at $800,000, and its three-bedrooms at more than $1 million, said David Perry, the head of sales for Clarett Group.

You’ll get a lot of luxury for that — a “sumptuous and theatrically designed lobby,” 24-hour concierge service, a doorman, a fitness center (no need for that Crunch Gym next door), a roof deck, gorgeous views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, enormous windows, oak-strip flooring, and, of course, the mild resentment of your brownstoner neighbors.

So those of us who’d rather live in a nice, middle-class, racially diverse community in Brooklyn — not Manhattan — see the Forte’s rise as bittersweet.

Yeah, the architects at FXFowle — the same firm that designed the Reuters and Conde Nast buildings in Times Square — did a nice job. The building is lovely.

The thing is, few of us moved to Brooklyn because we wanted to live in the city’s “Downtown,” or Brooklyn’s “Lincoln Center,” or any of the other metaphors so often bandied about.

Had I wanted to live in Downtown Manhattan, or its Brooklyn approximation, I would have. Maybe I could have squeezed myself and my two cats into some sort of itty-bitty studio, with a bed lofted over the litter box and a hotplate for a kitchen.

One thing’s for sure, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to live the high life there, or for that matter, here, in Fort Greene, and its first newly constructed luxury tower.

And if I, a middle-class single woman, can’t afford to live here, then where’s the single mother with two kids going to live?

Maybe that’s the point.

Welcome to Forte Greene.

The Kitchen Sink

We hear Clarett Group, which built the Forte condos, is planning another 500 units in Downtown Brooklyn. The location has yet to be revealed. …

Two commercial spaces on the same DeKalb Avenue block — both once home to real estate brokers — are for rent. Insiders told The Stoop it’s merely a coincidence. Location Location Location will be moving to South Portland Avenue, and TB Realty will be run from the owner’s home. …

Clinton Hill Art Gallery just opened an exhibition by artist Jimmy James Greene. Greene’s show, “Troubadour — Greene on Blue,” explores “communal expressions of the African Diaspora.” Check it out at 154A Vanderbilt Avenue (near Myrtle Avenue). For information, call (718) 852-0227. …

Speaking of the show, Clinton Hill Art Gallery proprietor Lurita LB Brown just celebrated her venue’s 15th anniversary. Congrats! …

And kudos to our friends over at Pratt Area Community Council, which was awarded a $150,000 grant from Deutsche Bank. The grant will allow the do-gooding organization to hire more staff, and, presumably, do more do-gooding.

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