Oh how the mighty have fallen, from 1,000 feet to 768 feet to be precise. We’re talking about the Court Square City View Tower, once slated to become the first supertall outside of Manhattan. However, due to a FAA determination, the City View Tower will have to settle for merely being the first building taller than the 658 foot One Court Square, aka the “Big Green Citibank Building in Long Island City”.
Yes, dreams do come true in Brooklyn, and so does affordable housing. The proof is in the pudding, located just outside the A/C/G Hoyt Schermerhorn stop. Out of a total of 375 total units, the 25 story project will contain 74 “affordable” units. The remainder are expected to be residential condos. As an interesting twist, the regulatory agreement filed in ACRIS states the owner receives a LIHTC (Low Income Housing Tax Credit) and a 421-a tax benefit. The same units can be applied to both tax programs to meet eligibitily requirements. This practice has been criticized as double dipping taxpayer dollars.
Proximity to the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway) seems to be the new “it” amenity in the rental market (if the Gowanus Canal can be, why not?). Construction along this corridor, known for epic traffic jams, seems to be on the rise. This could be the result of this corridor harboring some of the last unused or underutilized parcels remaining in Queens and Brooklyn. We just covered Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, now comes 319 and 329 Broadway in Williamsburg, just east of the BQE.
Jackson Heights has countless things going for it as a community. It has quick and easy access to the 7, E, F, M, and R trains. Finding good eats is simply a matter of walking a block or two. And it’s affordable with a good supply of rent stabilized apartments. And until recently, new development in the area had been limited to small, multi-family buildings. That is changing however, as 71-17 Roosevelt Avenue is making headway towards completion.
Frustration in Bushwick mounts on issues like increasing rents, gentrification, and general unaffordability. Graffiti and construction sites provide an insight into the vibe of the community that DOB databases (and info panels) can’t provide alone. In our trip through Bushwick, we came across several projects with tagged info panels addressing issues ranging from gentrification to lamenting the loss of KFC.
Not long ago, the corridor along Queens Blvd was upzoned to permit a greater density of housing. The stretch of Queens Blvd running just west of Woodhaven Blvd to just east of Sunnyside has always been a historic no-person-land of single story restaurants, auto shops, and parking lots. Essentially, a little slice of Long Island shoved into Queens. With opportunity abound, developers began digging into the landscape and by late spring 2015, 70-26 Queens Blvd was well underway. Then came 70-09 45th Avenue, followed by 46-02 70th Street.
What do all three addresses have in common? Each one sits as a cement monolith with no residents. But what a charming skyline, right?
It’s easy to walk around Bushwick and appreciate all the street art along Jefferson Street, the breweries, and dining options. All of these new amenities come at a price, and often the price is incidental and hidden. Perhaps it’s even unintentional. Let’s take a look at 177 Wilson Ave, aka 1399 Dekalb Ave (make note of the 1399). This unfortunate piece of property was once home to DiMola Printing Co. As of this writing, the building sits empty, the result of recently issued DOB (Department of Buildings) stop work and vacate orders.
845 Broadway is a property in southwest Bushwick, just east of Flushing Avenue, that has seen better days. The roof looks like Swiss cheese, the windows are boarded up, and the facade is wrapped in metal. But there’s something architecturally remarkable that still lurks behind all the years of neglect. The old pre-war facade still remains in salvageable condition. Just a bit of TLC could get this property looking like new, or at least something close to it.
RentCement traveled through Bushwick to document the intense real estate boom and its implications on gentrification. The trip today started at the Flushing Avenue station on the J line, where I visited several construction sites. My travels took me mostly along the southwestern border of Bushwick. The first site I visited wasn’t a residential building at all, but 815 Broadway, a commercial building that just completed renovations – and a bit of tagging.
Property lots merge frequently. Knowing this history means access to important information related to the subducted properties. ACRIS (Automated City Registration Information System) has no mechanism to flag merged lots. Documents registered with ACRIS might give you some indication of a lot merger, but finding a hint here or there is no substitute for knowing the detailed history. Thankfully the DoITT NYC Map and the DOF’s (Department of Finance) historical Tax Maps are here to help. Let’s use the following narrative to find the property records for three lots that merged into one.