Red Hook'd

Foster + Partners and SCAPE unveil plans for massive office complex on the Red Hook waterfront

Architecture Development East
(Courtesy Thor Equities)
(Courtesy Thor Equities)

Thor Equities has released renderings of a Foster + Partners–designed waterside office complex in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The four-story, timber frame buildings will host 600,000 square feet of workspace divided over open-plan, 100,000-square-foot floor plates, plus 23,000 square feet for restaurants and retail. The 7.7-acre development will offer the public waterfront access via an esplanade and courtyard, and harbor views from rooftop terraces. New York–based SCAPE/Landscape Architecture is executing the landscape plan.

The project, says Thor, is designed to meet the needs of TAMI (technology, advertising, media and information) tenants. It’s a somewhat nebulous definition, but according to a 2014 report by real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield, the sector is the strongest force behind activity in New York, ahead of even the financial sector.

One of the neighborhood’s challenges, though, is the lack of subway service: The F/G at Smith-9th Street is about 13 blocks away. The developers anticipate that workers will arrive by foot, water taxi, or bike, and that tenants will offer employees alternative transit accommodations, like shuttle bus service to the subway.

Melissa Gliatta, Thor’s chief operating officer, was bullish on other options. Gliatta trumpeted the transit potential of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), a proposed streetcar that would run through Red Hook and could begin service in 2023, although the contentious, developer-driven project is still in its nascent, public input phase. Thor’s press release for the development assumes a done deal: “A planned Brooklyn-Queens streetcar will also serve the neighborhood.” (Dang, well, so much for that stakeholder consensus.)

Academics like Adam Friedman, the director of the Pratt Center for Community Development at Pratt Institute, voiced concerns about this, and similar developments taking shape in the borough. Speaking with Bloomberg News, Friedman noted that developers need to “pace themselves,” lest new properties sit vacant. “Every developer thinks that theirs is the one that is going to be successful. That’s just the nature of the culture.”

Construction is set to begin this summer. Not cost estimate is available as of yet.



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