200 new apartments
A Real estate developer David Walentas, known for converting DUMBO from
an industrial area to a trendy residential neighborhood, is ready to start
building an expansive, 16-story building near the Brooklyn Bridge, according
to plans he filed with the city.
But local community groups are crying foul.
“We feel that the proposed building is too tall and too close to the
bridge span,” said Nancy Webster, president of the DUMBO Neighborhood
The Brooklyn Heights Association, Fulton Ferry Landing Association and DUMBO
Neighborhood Association are all calling on the developer to scale back
the sweeping project at Water and Dock streets, saying that it is too tall
considering its proximity to the iconic bridge.
“Brooklyn Bridge is a national landmark,” said Judy Stanton, executive
director of the Brooklyn Heights Association, “and we think [this building]
The 200-unit residential and commercial building would rise at 38 Water
St., currently a two-story building that is home to the St. Ann’s Warehouse
performance space, and extend down Water Street.
The plan also includes a three-story public parking garage facing Front
Street with 327 spaces.
Because the area is currently zoned for manufacturing, Walentas, the principal
owner of Two Trees Management, is seeking a variance from the city.
Walentas certified his plans with the Department of City Planning on March
24, starting the clock on the approximately seven-month city Uniform Land
Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which requires public review before the community
board, borough president, City Planning Commission and City Council.
Community Board 2 will host a public hearing on the project at 6 pm on April
21 at Polytechnic University, at 5 Metrotech Center. [For more information,
contact Community Board 2 at (718) 596-5410.]
The 178-foot-tall, L-shaped building would be among the tallest in the neighborhood,
and would include 8,000 square feet of retail space.
That retail space would fall along Water Street, opposite the Empire Stores,
which are being converted into a major shopping mall by developer Shaya
Boymelgreen. Gary Vanderputten, president of the Fulton Ferry Landing Association,
said he was disappointed that there are no plans for Front Street storefronts.
“This particular project just takes Front Street and will use it entirely
as a facade of a garage,” said Vanderputten, who is also concerned
about the height of the building.
Dale Linton, a manager at 5 Front, a restaurant at Front and Old Fulton
“I think they should develop Front Street as much as possible. There
are a lot of small businesses that could be useful to the neighborhood,”
said Linton. He said he would like to see more shops along that block of
Front Street, which is currently filled by parking garages.
Walentas did not return calls seeking comment.
But his isn’t the only new high-rise irking neighborhood residents.
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, commonly referred to as Jehovah’s
Witnesses, is looking to build a soaring, 1,000-unit apartment complex several
blocks away at 85 Jay St.
That plan includes towers 14, 16, 18 and 20 stories high on the largest
developable assemblage of property in the city after the World Trade Center
Several community groups have already expressed concern about the Watchtower
project and have even started a Web site, 85JayStreet.org, to keep the community
informed about the development.
The new Walentas building would also include an 8,000-square-foot performance
space for a non-profit institution. That space would not be large enough,
however, to house Arts at St. Ann’s which is currently located in the
38 Water St. warehouse, which would have to come down to make way for the
For the past two years Walentas has offered the space rent-free to the non-profit
group, which lost its home at the Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity
in Brooklyn Heights several years ago.
Now it may be set a drift again.
“We would like to stay in DUMBO, but we knew they were always planning
on developing that site,” said Julie Feldman, the president and artistic
director of Arts at St. Ann’s.
The Walentas application also calls for rezoning another building, across
Last year, home improvement guru Bob Vila renovated 85 Water St. for his
television show, converting an old pepper factory owned by Walentas into
three gleaming apartments and a ground-floor retail space. That space, however,
is zoned for manufacturing. ”
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010