Posts tagged with "Williamsburg":

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New zoning permits development of Gensler and HWKN-designed Williamsburg office complex

Williamsburg's first office building in more than 50 years is set to rise at 25 Kent Avenue. Designed by San Francisco's Gensler and New York–based Hollwich Kushner (HWKN), the office complex will span 480,000 square feet, rising to eight stories with space available for commercial and manufacturing purposes, as well as an extensive public courtyard area. Brooklyn-based Heritage Equity Partners is the developer.

Crucially, to make the development happen, the city approved a special zoning district that permits developers to trade light manufacturing space for extra office construction.

Approved by the City Council and City Planning Commission, YIMBY reports that the new zoning rules allow for greater design flexibility and mandate less parking to encourage office development. The “Enhanced Business Area” is set to incorporate much of the North Williamsburg Industrial Business Zone, a zoning area which, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, seeks to "protect existing manufacturing districts and encourage industrial growth citywide."

As for the building itself, a stepped-back brick facade respects the surrounding context while certain structural elements are revealed behind glass to establish a modern yet industrial feel. “At the east and west ends of the building, it’s as if an old building was sliced and we put a curtain wall on,” said Joseph Brancato of Gensler. The scheme will also have 16-foot slab-to-slab heights to facilitate adequate daylighting made possible through large windows deployed throughout the building. Per the new zoning regulations, the number of parking spaces have been set to 275—all situated underground. Before the zoning rules kicked in, the scheme would have had to made room for 1,200 parking spaces.

According to Toby Moskovits of Heritage Equity Partners in Brownstoner, the staggered facade enables office and manufacturing spaces to be modular and have greater flexibility. Startups, whatever stage of development they may be in, would be able to step into 25 Kent Avenue at any time, while amenities such as cafes can be positioned centrally on every level.

Moskovits argued that the development will support Williamsburg by “giving economic opportunity to small businesses and people in the community who need jobs.”  Moskovits added: “We’re of the community and we are entrepreneurs. Our goal is to tenant the building in a way that makes sense for the neighborhood...We believe passionately in what we are doing."

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Williamsburg’s 21-story William Vale Hotel-offices-retail development to open July 11

Initially touted to open in April this year, the William Vale hotel on 111 North 12th Street is now due to open on July 11. Climbing 21 stories, the $130 million hotel has already topped out at 250-feet. Designed by Albo Leberis, the hotel rests on a duo of pylons sitting on two low-rise retail-based platforms that greet the streetscape. Covering 320,000 square feet, five floors (starting at the fifth) will accommodate offices, meanwhile the scheme will hold 183 hotel rooms and spare 40,000 square feet for commercial space.
On the first floor roof there'll be a 15,000 square foot public park courtesy of Gunn Landscape Architecture that will offer views over the area and onto Manhattan. Meanwhile, other amenities include a roof located on the third floor.  
“In addition to low-maintenance native plantings and an urban farm, Gunn plans to create arbor structures from living willow, weaving them into sculptural shapes that will both block the wind and beautify the rooftop in a unique way,” the firm said.
Further square footage has been set aside to cater for event spaces, including a ballroom that will be able to accommodate 240 guests for business affairs and 315 guests for social events. 
002. Inspiration in the most unexpected places. #thewilliamvale #brooklyn #architecture A photo posted by The William Vale (@thewilliamvale) on
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With the go-ahead from City Planning, this office building may close the book on the transformation of Williamsburg’s waterfront

Office space is in short supply in Brooklyn. A 2004 rezoning of downtown Brooklyn was intended to facilitate the development of 4.5 million square feet of Class A office space. Since then, the local development corporation Downtown Brooklyn Partnership estimates that only 250,000 square feet of office space has been built. The space crunch also spreads north, to Williamsburg. This week, the Department of City Planning is expected to approve developer Toby Moskovits' (of Heritage Equity Partners) application to alter manufacturing-only zoning for a nine-story, 480,000-square-foot office building at 25 Kent Avenue. AN first reported on the Moskovits' office plans last April. The building's design by New York–based HWKN appears similar in both the original and updated renderings. Ziggurat-style terracing reduces the structure's mass. At street level, the brickwork and arched floor-to-ceiling windows reference the warehouse it may replace. Currently, the lot, between North 12th and North 13th streets, lies in a M1-2 zone. In this area, zoning requires a non-manufacturing facility build in a manufacturing zone to devote more than half its space to medical, school, religious, or non-profit facilities. Moskovits would like the building to be offices, only, thought a portion of the project may be reserved for light-manufacturing use. Certifying the application triggers the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), a process that can take months. The ULURP gathers opinions on the project's request from Brooklyn's Community Board 1; the borough president, Eric Adams; City Planning; and the City Council. So far, signs are good: area Councilman Steve Levin is in favor of the project, Crain's reports. If approved, Moskovits' application could have profound influence on others looking to subvert current zoning in manufacturing areas. Due to the current restrictions, developers shy away from building non-manufacturing in manufacturing zones; creating community space is less profitable than creating office space. Go figure.
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ODA reveals Eliot Spitzer–developed stack of boxes in Williamsburg inspired by icebergs

Stacked boxes are all the architectural rage these days—from Bjarke Ingels' Two World Trade, to ODA's Midtown skyscraper, to ODA's Financial District skyscraper, to ODA's Bushwick residential project, to ODA's Williamsburg condos, to ODA's other boxy buildings in Long Island City, Harlem, and the Lower East Side. It should surprise nobody, then, that ODA's latest project will stay true to the firm's trademark form. The New York Times reported that Eliot Spitzer, the former governor and short-lived cable news host, is now heading his father's real estate business and has tapped ODA to design his first project. The $700 million, 856-unit development sits along the East River, directly south of the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn. The project appears as a collection of stacked-box towers that each rise 24 stories. ODA founder Eran Chen said the design resembles a "molded iceberg." (For reference, here are some pictures of icebergs.) Along the river is also a new park and esplanade. "[Spitzer] said he decided to build rental housing rather than condominiums, and agreed to set aside 20 percent of the units for poor and working-class households," reported the Times. "But with Mayor Bill de Blasio seeking to require as much as 30 percent affordable housing for what are known as 421-a projects, Mr. Spitzer wanted to get his project moving before the current regulations changed or expired this month." This did not go over too well with some people on Team de Blasio. The Observer noted that Lincoln Restler, a senior policy advisor to the mayor, shared the Times' story on Facebook and called Spitzer's attempt to keep the project at 20 percent affordable "offensive." A spokesperson for de Blasio told the Observer that Restler's comments did not necessarily reflect the thinking of the administration. Either way, the Facebook post has been deleted.
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East Williamsburg will soon have its own multi-use co-working space for creatives

As multi-use, coworking-type spaces continue to be all the rage, East Williamsburg is hopping on the bandwagon with a tentatively named ‘Morgantown’ creative community. Planned on an industrial lot on Johnson Avenue, the large complex will comprise office spaces, a retail corridor, rooftop dining, and communal courtyards. An “on-site artisanal food production space” is also in the works and will be located at the courtyards planned on Bogart and White Street, according to brokerage firm TerraCRG, which represents the property owner. The lot will have more than 40,000 square feet of outdoor space and over 23,000 square feet of office space, not including retail. The lot was the former headquarters of commercial printing company A.J. Bart, which recently sold the land plot for $26.75 million. The structure is projected to be three stories tall, according to DTZ, the commercial real estate firm responsible for attracting tenants. According to renderings, a mural will cover an entire wall facing Johnson Avenue. Construction of the complex is starting immediately, with a projected completion date of early 2016. Tenants, however, should be free to move in starting late this year.
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Bureau V’s experimental music venue with a high-tech vibe set to open in a former Williamsburg sawmill

Brooklyn designers Bureau V have completed National Sawdust, an experimental performance venue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that will be home to the Original Music Workshop (OMW). The name of the venue comes from the existing building’s history as a sawmill. OMW is a nonprofit led by composer Paola Prestini, whose advisory board includes heavy-hitters such as James Murphy, Laurie Anderson, Suzanne Vega, and Philip Glass. The 3,000-square-foot space in the heart of Williamsburg at North 6th Street and Wythe Avenue was a collaboration between Bureau V and Arup. It was originally conceived back in 2012 with an estimated opening of 2013. In 2014, it was still unfinished, and a Kickstarter campaign raised over $100,000. Now the project is slated for an opening in October. The design is a mix of a traditional European theater and a black-box space, combining the “crafted beauty of the former” with the “experimental programming and roughness of the latter.” The particular history of the site will add another layer of spatial interest to the building, as its industrial past is conflated with a high-tech present. The result is a sublime collision of new and old: technology and ruin, progress and history, refinement and grit. The acoustics are state-of-the-art and were developed with Arup. For more details on the design, see AN's original 2012 coverage.
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Gensler and HWKN team up to bring a ziggurat-shaped office building to Williamsburg, Brooklyn

If approved, this terraced building will rise in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, bringing the neighborhood new office space for tech and creative companies—and momentarily interrupting its unceasing march of bland and boxy new apartments. The "Williamsburg Generator," as it has been dubbed, would be the neighborhood's first ground-up speculative office building in four decades—but it is not a done deal just yet because the Gensler and HWKN–designed building sits within an area zoned for manufacturing. The Wall Street Journal reported that the project's developer, Toby Moskovits, who heads the women-led Heritage Equity Partners, will seek a special permit to get the project approved. While it would include 20 percent light manufacturing, some are already saying it is not appropriate for the industrial-zoned area. This issue will certainly be hashed out when the project enters ULURP in the next few weeks. As for its design, the Generator's brick and glass exterior is intended to evoke the neighborhood's industrial past while still giving it that glassy, modern feel. According to a press release from the development team, the interior layouts will be flexible and modular to accommodate the startups that will populate its halls. A public passageway will also cut through the building's two main volumes.
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Drop Your Drawers For Cycling: Vision Zero Clothing Comes to Brooklyn

vision-zero-clothing Friday the 13th just got a whole lot scarier. Tomorrow, on the tail of The World Naked Bike Ride in Portland, Oregon (NSFW Link), a similar clothing-optional bicycle boosting event is coming to Brooklyn. Topically dubbed Vision Zero Clothing (in what must be an honest homage to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's Vision Zero plan, which proposes to stop people from getting run over by cars), the event is scheduled to get underway at 6:00 p.m. at Grand Ferry Park in Williamsburg (which, incidentally, is a favorite hangout of the Hasidic Jewish community). Exhibitionists, bicycle enthusiasts, transportation activists, and anybody else with a burning desire to feel the wind on their privates (not to mention a lack of fear of skinning not just their knees if they fall down) are invited to get together for some "consensual behavior" that at the same time involves subjecting innocent passersby to a whole lot more than they bargained for when they left the house (as with a nude beach it's sure to not just be bikini models and basketball players, but everybody). So, disrobe and mount up people! The revolution is here!
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Pictorial> Kara Walker Creates a Sugar Sphinx for Domino Sugar factory

Before the old Domino Sugar factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is razed to make way for the massive SHoP-designed mixed-use complex, it has been transformed into a gallery for famed artist, Kara Walker. Inside the 30,000-square-foot space, which stills smells of molasses, she has created a 75-foot-long, 35-foot-high, sugar-coated sphinx (on view through July 6th). The work, which was created in collaboration with Creative Time, is called A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, and according to Walker’s artist statement, it is “an Homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our Sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World.” Because of its sheer size, the bleached-white sphinx is impossible to fully see and comprehend from just one side; as the view of Marvelous Sugar Baby changes, so do the questions she raises. It is a work about ruins and time, female sexuality and power, and, most fundamentally, sugar and race. “A form like this form embodies multiple meanings, multiple readings all at once, each one valid, each one contrasting with the other,” said Walker standing alongside her work. Inside the cavernous space, Walker has also created a procession of figurines made of molasses and resin in the shape of smiling, basket-carrying boys who appear to be melting away under spotlights. Days before the unveiling, when two of the boys actually did melt away—or at least shatter—Walker picked up their pieces and placed them in the baskets of those still standing. For Walker, this installation was about more than creating another great piece of work and expanding her artistic vocabulary; it was about filling the factory’s final days with something grand. “It was my obligation, being given the opportunity to work in this space, to bring as much as possible into it because it is never going to happen again,” said Walker.
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The Cinematic Future of “Dumbo Heights”

The transformation of the Jehovah’s Witness' Watchtower campus in Dumbo is underway. Real estate wunderkind Jared Kushner is converting the five-building complex into “Dumbo Heights” – Brooklyn’s next tech hub and commercial district. While the 1.2-million-square-foot project won’t open until next year, a new promotional video for the site was released this week. And it’s packed with more Brooklyn stereotypes than a Williamsburg brunch spot on Sunday. Here’s a shot-by-shot guide to the spring’s most epic real estate promotional film. It starts in complete abstraction. A scratching record and flashing light leave the viewer completely disoriented until—aha!—coordinates flash onscreen: 40.7031N, 73.9894W. But what do they mean? Where are we? They’re just numbers, none of this makes any sense. Suddenly, it all becomes clear. A sweeping, aerial shot shows us that we’ve arrived. We’ve arrived at Dumbo Heights. Or rather, some currently existing office meant to look like Dumbo Heights. Cut to a blonde 20-something marching through that office. Lights turn on as she moves through the space. She is likely some sort of celestial programmer, or celestial social media coordinator. Before we know which, she disappears. A man arrives. He is dressed in Brooklyn: a beard, a plaid shirt, and is holding a fixed-gear bike. His dog follows behind him. How did the dog get to the office so fast? Was he also on a fixed-gear? It’s the film’s first mystery. Another young professional appears wearing a bow-tie. To his left, a woman smiles below a floppy hat. They’re young. They’re fun. This is Dumbo Heights. More people. More Apple computers. More dogs. More Plaid. More Brooklyn. There is a tent set up in the middle of an office. Why is there a tent sent up in the middle of an office? And why are people meeting in it? The second great mystery. Look! That guy with the plaid and beard is back. He steps into the tent and smiles. He’s been welcomed by the group. The meeting can commence. More meetings between young professionals cuts to a recording studio, which cuts to a pug running in slow motion. Run little pug, run. "Co-creation” is written on a whiteboard by a white hand. There is an architectural rendering on a table next to a tiny cactus. And then, all of a sudden, children and horses are swinging around Jean Nouvel’s Jane's Carousel. They disappear. A bearded fellow takes their place. He's swinging a bottle of liquor behind a bar. Another bow-tied gentleman raises his chalice. “Cheers,” he seems to be saying. “Cheers to us and cheers to Dumbo Heights. Hooray!” The alcohol gives way to coffee and a latte artist dripping milk across his dark-roast canvas. A woman pulls her friend across the Brooklyn Bridge at dusk. She is squarely in the bike lane, but is this real life? More people working, smiling, and two more dogs. One is sleeping; the other is trying to lick the stubble off its owner’s face. There’s that guy in plaid again. Where is he going this time? Somewhere, and he’s moving fast. A sweeping shot of Dumbo, and—you cannot be serious—a typewriter. What is it writing? Dumbo Heights. Fin. [h/t New York Daily News]
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Changes Ahead for North Brooklyn: Two Massive Projects Move Forward

Last week was a big week for development in the already condo-saturated area of north Brooklyn. Brownstoner reported that City Council gave the massive Greenpoint Landing proposal the green light to construct 10 towers along the East River waterfront. While the project already had the approval to build as of right, the developers made a few concessions including an agreement to build a public school, offer free shuttle service to transit nodes from the complex, bump up the number of affordable housing units, and allocate money towards Newton Barge Park. In Williamsburg, the SHoP-designed Domino Sugar Refinery proposal (pictured) received Community Board One's approval. Two Trees also had as of right to build its string of towers, but the developer is now seeking to increase the height of the buildings and add more green space. Board members requested a few tweaks to affordable housing options and retail.
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SHoP Architects’ Massive Domino Sugar Redevelopment Moves Forward

Today New York City Department of City Planning certified the application for Two Trees' major redevelopment plans for the iconic Domino Sugar Factory site along the Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn, marking the start of the six-month public review process. Two Trees purchased the 11-acre property from developer CPC Resources, and is seeking to bump up the height of the buildings from the previously approved plan of 3.1 million square feet of space to 3.3 million square feet, add 500,000 square feet of office space, and dramatically increase the amount of open space. The developer enlisted SHoP Architects to design the plan. Last March, the developer unveiled their plans, which included a series flashy doughnut-shaped towers.