A nine-story apartment building with a curved and rippled facade like an Art Deco ocean liner is rising at the epicenter of one of the oldest settlements in Brooklyn. Benefiting from a rezoning and replacing the gas station that long held the corner of Bushwick and Metropolitan in East Williamsburg, the development will have 136 rentals, some of which will be affordable housing.
The structure had reached six stories and dozens of workers were on site at 828 Metropolitan Avenue when Brooklyn Paper’s sister publication Brownstoner passed by last week. The concrete construction curves around the corner of the two major arterial avenues and, starting on the first floor, is wrapped in balconies whose wavy floors create a rippled effect across the building’s facade.
A rendering attached to the fence shows the building will have a glassy facade broken up by rectangular columns and partially obscured by the translucent brown balconies. The ground floor, which will be used for retail, is largely covered in floor to ceiling windows, punctuated by rectangular columns whose coved tops bend outward, the rendering shows.
The undulating lines of the building accord with a current vogue for scallops in interior design and contrast with the jagged Jenga-like assemblages of boxes that have held sway in Brooklyn building design for the last decade or so. The architect of record is Kao Hwa Lee Architects PC. The firm has designed a number of apartment buildings in Brooklyn, including a small condo in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, as well as a tower in Long Island City in Queens, both with refined details.
The residential units in the building will all be rentals, according to documents filed with the city, and the new-building permit says the building will also include 53 enclosed parking spaces in the cellar.
The property comprises what used to be separate lots from 834 Metropolitan Avenue to 15 Bushwick Avenue. To make way for the new building, the developers demolished two three-story townhouses at 832 and 834 Metropolitan Avenue and the Speedway gas station at 7 Bushwick Avenue. A parking lot sat between the residential homes and the gas station.
A used car dealership occupied the lot at 7 Bushwick Avenue in the late 1930s, tax photos show, and by the 1980s it had been converted to a gas station. Remediation work was required for the new development.
City records show 66 South 2nd Street LLC acquired the site with the gas station for $2.4 million in 2016, with developer Michael Kubersky signing for the LLC. The deed has been transferred several times since, but Kubersky’s signature still appears on paperwork along with developers Yoel Hershkowitch and Konstantin Gubareff. In 2022, the developers bought the townhouses at 832 and 834 Metropolitan Avenue from 834 Metropolitan Avenue LLC for $1.6 million, records show. Later that year, the three sites were made into one zoning lot.
A rezoning of the three sites was completed in 2021, changing the land use of 7 Bushwick Avenue from commercial to residential, and increasing the height limits on new development on the two residential lots. The rezoning means the new building must have between 25 and 30 percent of its apartments income capped and rent stabilized under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. City records show the site also qualifies for the 421-a tax break.
The Commercial Observer recently reported that Kubersky and Hershkowitch secured $60 million of construction financing from BridgeCity Capital, and said the development is slated for completion in 2025.
Across the road at 2 Bushwick Avenue, another gas station that had sat on the corner lot for decades was recently torn down and is being replaced with a three-story office and retail building.
The two aren’t alone. As land values have soared in the borough, a number of gas stations have been razed to make way for taller and bigger buildings that take advantage of the stations’ large sites.
This story first appeared on Brooklyn Paper’s sister publication Brownstoner.