Builder of rejected ‘mews’ plan now seeks ‘Amity’

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To the editor,

Time Equities and its partner, Lucky Boy, does not want to present a project that does not have community support (“City rejects historic housing plan,” Jan. 12). We thought the mews approach at 110 Amity St. did have that support because it was supported verbally and in writing by a number of community residents and local architects at meetings we held in November and December.

The mews design was also recommended for approval by the Landmarks staff that reviewed the plan. It may be that some community members who took issue with the mews did not attend these meetings.

The benefit of the landmarking process is that it gives all stakeholders a chance to be heard. Several concerns that arose at the meetings led to changes.

We value feedback from the community and the commission and will continue to address concerns, such as those that arose in the early meetings that led to design revisions of the Henry Street façade of the new townhouse.

At this point, we will re-conceive the project in a traditional street wall approach and try to present a plan that is responsive to the input received at the most recent Landmarks hearing. As we did last time, we will reach out to the community and Landmarks staff prior to presenting the final concept to the commission.

Francis Greenburger, Manhattan

The writer is CEO and chairman of Time Equities, the developer of the recently rejected plan to build townhouses along a private mews at 110 Amity St. in Cobble Hill.

It’s not a park

To the editor,

All I read are more fantasies about the Brooklyn Bridge non-park (“Supermarket could come to ‘park,’” Jan. 12).

The latest vapor about a supermarket in the looming hulk that is 360 Furman St. is just a feeble attempt to keep that doomed project alive. When originally declared, this building was to have “gallery space,” implying stylish, high-end shopping. It was also was rumored to include a Trader Joe’s as part of the shopping “experience.”

Since then, Trader Joe’s has found a more approachable, and therefore profitable, site on Court Street.

As far as the non-park goes, it is interesting that when the Empire State Development Corporation even mentions the non-park, it is also gloom — the Tobacco Warehouse is falling down according to one of your recent stories (“Empire falls,” Jan. 19).

Meanwhile, the agency is about to knock down the Purchase Building. Thus, while one building is declared in imminent danger of collapse, another building that is structurally fine is going to be demolished solely because its presence might interfere with sight lines from the proposed apartment tower at Fulton Ferry. That structure seems to have vanished from plans now. Since that is not being built thanks to the lagging luxury housing market, why take down the Purchase Building?

Barbara Charton, Brooklyn Heights

More Treklash

To the editor,

I was a member of the Patrick Stewart Network for a while, and I didn’t find the article on Patrick Stewart at all insulting (“Beam them to BAM, Scotty: Trekkies in heaven with ‘Picard’ as Macbeth,” Jan. 12). In fact, thought it was pretty accurate and funny.

By the way, I wouldn’t mess with these PSN people. If you haven’t already noticed, there is a rather conspicuous lack of irony among them (read through a few posts on their Yahoo groups forum).

Wilhelm Meister, Bushwick

Level playing field

To the editor,

Your recent article about the Pratt Store (“FRAMED: Pratt Store irks local biz, Jan. 19) reminded so many of your readers’ artists, customers, neighbors, and friends of Clinton Hill Simply Art & Framing Gallery of the positive influence my business has played in their lives.

It was heartwarming to hear their comments and insistence that the business will continue and will grow despite Pratt Institute’s business decision.

While I certainly welcome competition, you can’t just put a lightweight in the same ring with a heavyweight and call it boxing.

Lurita L.B. Brown, Clinton Hill

The writer is owner of Clinton Hill Simply Art & Framing Gallery.

Trim Two Trees plan

To the editor,

The Brooklyn Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recently had a presentation of the Two Trees proposed high-rise building on Dock Street in DUMBO (“Walentas again fights his neighbors over Dock Street apartment tower,” Dec. 22). The architects, Beyer Blinder & Belle, did their usual good job in presenting a well-thought-out solution, which reflects the old factory building facades.

However, the Chapter has some concerns regarding this proposal, as follows:

1. We would like to see the site rezoned to be consistent with the adjoining property. This will prevent the area from being spot-zoned to meet the desires of each individual property owner.

Also, the change will automatically limit the excessive height of the tower adjoining the Brooklyn Bridge.

2. We are not in favor the proposed elimination of the required setbacks for the south end of the tower closest to the Brooklyn Bridge. This portion of the tower, which is sited at a 45-degree angle to the bridge, is too close to the bridge and the required set-backs help keep the upper portion of the tower further away from the bridge.

3. We are opposed to the proposal to eliminate the required rear yard by offering a 30 feet of open space on an adjoining property, which will give the Two Trees property a light and air easement. The main purpose of the rear yard requirement is to provide block ventilation, which is usually 60 feet wide, and should not be compromised.

Granting this type of a variance would establish a very poor precedent, since any property owner could buy an adjoining property, take back a light and air easement and then sell the adjoining property, whose value would not have been affected since it also needs a 30-foot space for light and air. The property owner, now with an easement, would then apply for a waiver of the rear yard requirement, destroying the concept of block ventilation.

The Chapter accepts the exempting from “floor area” a portion of the community facility for a public school and a portion of the parking as both are needed facilities in the DUMBO area. We would, of course, like to see a lower building so close to the Brooklyn Bridge and our recommendations are aimed in that direction.

I. Donald Weston, Brooklyn Heights

The writer is chairman of the urban design committee for the Brooklyn chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Bus roots

To the editor,

You recently announced that the B77 and B67 bus routes might be extended to South Ferry, but did not specify how they would get there. This reminded me of one of my father’s favorite stories. When the great Jimmy Durante asked if his Manhattan-bound trolley was going over the bridge, the conductor replied, “If it don’t, you’ll get a damn good ducking!”

Phil Forbes, Red Hook

Editor’s note: The busses would reach Manhattan with the help of the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, so riders are expected to stay dry.

Updated 4:01 pm, November 10, 2010
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