$12M for 3 lots next to BAM’s Fulton St. theater
A developer has quietly bought up property next to a Brooklyn Academy
of Music theater, planning what neighbors believe will be a high-rise
hotel and condo.
Manhattan-based developer The Clarett Group paid $12 million for three
lots at the northwest corner of Fulton Street and Ashland Place, an assemblage
that abuts the four-story BAM Harvey Theater.
Under the current C6-4 commercial zoning for that block, a more than 20-story
hotel, office tower or mall could be built. The equivalent residential
zoning, should a zoning change or variance be granted, could support up
to a 30-story tower.
The Clarett Group did not return calls seeking comment for this article,
but the company, which has built four tower-style, luxury residences in
Manhattan since 2003, has in the past developed atop old theaters and
church space. Several sites were in high-demand areas where they bought
a large building, demolished it, and made room for a high-density residential
The first project demolished the Olympia Theater at Broadway and 107th
Street in Manhattan and built the 22-story Opus, a 64-unit building with
family-sized luxury condominiums.
The company has since purchased the Sutton Theater, on West 57th Street,
for its 36-story Place 57.
The Church of the Transfiguration’s parish house, a Gothic-revival
building adjacent to the church at East 29 Street and Fifth Avenue in
Manhattan, will make way for a 54-story tower called Sky House, while
the church offices will move into the new building’s lower floors.
It seems no surprise then, that the new property acquisition is concentrated
around the Harvey Theater.
“We would never sell that building,” BAM spokeswoman Sandy Sawotka
said, laughing at the notion when told this week about the Clarett Group’s
Meanwhile, the leases of commercial tenants in the two- and three-story
properties at 657-671 Fulton St. have been bought out since the Clarett
Group purchased the properties in June.
“We weren’t approached about the Harvey,” Sawotka said,
adding that she had heard talk about the move-outs. “We’re not
involved, because it’s a private developer. They’ll build around
Wendy Chanelis, who owns Yoga People’s Hot Yoga studio, wrote a farewell
that she posted on the yoga studio’s Web site, thanking her clients.
“Our building on Fulton Street in Fort Greene, along with the rest
of the block, is being torn down to make way for a big new hotel/condo.
Our hearts are filled with gratitude for all your support since our opening
in 2002,” the posting reads.
Ruth West, owner of Ruthie’s Restaurant, at 96 DeKalb Ave., had already
been issued permits to renovate space in one of the Fulton Street properties,
where she had hoped to move her soul food restaurant, when she learned
the building had been sold.
“We were supposed to have been here, but we are not going to be going
there now,” said West this week. “Every person on that block
has moved out, except the BAM Theater — they weren’t going to
West said she heard that condominiums would rise on the properties.
“There is not one person on that block. It’s gone. That block
is sold — the whole block. The church, the bar, there is nothing
there,” she said.
“We’re troubled with all the development that’s going all
around Fort Greene, with the Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Atlantic Yards,
and Downtown Brooklyn being rezoned,” said Phillip Kellogg, president
of the Fort Greene Association. “It’s going to be right across
the street from what the BAM Local Development Corporation is going to
The current plans for the BAM LDC’s Cultural District include arts
space, housing and retail developments over four parcels of land just
south of the Fulton-Ashland development site.
“We’ve heard it’s apartments,” Kellogg said, but added
that since it was outside of the residentially zoned area his organization
is trying to preserve as low-rise row-houses, many of them brownstones,
he didn’t have much information on the Fulton-Ashland site.
Although no permit applications have been filed with the Department of
Buildings, neighbors are convinced the buildings next to the Harvey Theater
will be demolished.
An assistant for Community Board 2 said the board had not yet received
any applications for variances to the zoning on that block.
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010