Walentas: Call my new condo ‘House of D’

The Brooklyn Paper
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Some of the richest tenants in Brooklyn would share a sub-basement with the borough’s meanest thugs under a developer’s bold proposal for a new Brooklyn House of Detention (left).

DUMBO developer Jed Walentas wants to knock down the existing House of D and build two new towers on the Atlantic Avenue site — one for tenants and the other for inmates.

“It would be more efficient for a private developer to come in and just rebuild the whole site,” Walentas told The Brooklyn Papers.

For the project to be profitable, Walentas would need to build a second residential tower on the same foundation, he said.

Walentas, best known for his posh DUMBO real estate, compared his Big House plan to his company’s Court House building, a 321-unit apartment complex a block away that shares a foundation with the new Dodge YMCA.

And he doesn’t think his ritzy tenants would mind their unsavory neighbors.

“Do you know, or care, who you share a foundation with?” Walentas asked.

The city Department of Corrections has said it will double the capacity of the jail by building a new annex in the back.

The jail could reopen as early as this fall.

Despite its lowly status, the jail has become a hot commodity for developers. Michael Burke, director of the Downtown Brooklyn Council, said Walentas is not the only builder to inquire about the site.

Area residents want to see the shuttered, 11-story jail stay closed, despite a Department of Corrections plan to include neighbor-friendly retail on the Atlantic Avenue-facing ground floor.

A Corrections spokesman declined to comment on the Walentas proposal.

“There are a number of options being explored,” he said.

Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010
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