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South Brooklyn's Metabolist-inspired green tower rejected over parking concerns

The proposed 1508 Avenue Z was rejected by Community Board 15 for its lack of parking spaces and concerns over its proximity to an elevated subway line. (Citiscape Consulting via YIMBY)

A 14-story, sustainable, mixed-use tower complete with a senior care facility that’s situated just blocks away from a subway station in the low-density, single-family home neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, sounds like a smart, responsible idea. However, community board opposition may shutter that dream due to—of all things—a lack of parking. Last week, Community Board 15 voted unanimously against the development at 1508 Avenue Z created by Citiscape Consulting, citing concerns about parking space and proximity to the elevated subway tracks. 

What’s more interesting about this proposed project is its design. The tower features a patterned hexagonal facade and exterior greenery that together evoke the Metabolism movement of post-war Japan. Metabolist architects like Fumihiko Maki and Kishō Kurokawa approached constructing high-density urbanism through the forms and systems of living organisms and cells. The design of 1508 Avenue Z  takes their creed quite literally, featuring walls of CO2-capturing plants and pluming that utilizes stormwater stored on the rooftop.

The hexagonal facade features a concrete, timber, and louver panel pattern. (Citiscape Consulting via YIMBY)

The Brooklyn Eagle reported that property owner SB1 Holdings LLC had requested for zoning waivers for the building’s proposed height, floor area, and parking, but were not met favorably from locals. One board member called it “the most ridiculous project I’ve ever heard for this area in my entire life. Period.” A former board member said it was “totally objectionable that you want to put residents with memory problems up against a subway station.”

Despite the objections, the proposed building wouldn’t be unprecedented in the area. Just last year, a 30-story tower at 1 Brooklyn Bay opened a block away from the site and is currently under debate. 

The community board’s vote hasn’t put the nail-in-the-coffin for the project just yet. The building could still get a green light from the Board of Standards and Appeals after further consideration and clarifications from the developers. Lawyers for SB1 Holdings told the Brooklyn Eagle that the already-available street parking spots should relieve the developer from providing the necessary 30 parking spots. The developers will also have to appeal to the city for permission to park ambulances in front of the building, which is currently a bus stop. 

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