The area around the Barclays Center, stretching from the commercial blocks of Flatbush to Atlantic and Vanderbilt avenues, might soon be Brooklyn’s next Business Improvement District (BID). The Downtown Brooklyn Partnership announced in a press release yesterday that it has taken steps to organize a steering committee made up of local stakeholders to evaluate which BID services are needed. Property owners would pay an additional property tax to subsidize services such as streetscape improvements, maintenance, security, and programming. According to the Atlantic Yards Report, a BID would support Ratner’s “campaign to call the entire Atlantic Yards site part of Downtown Brooklyn.” First the BID needs to go through several hearings and approvals by local community boards, the City Planning Commission and New York City Council before moving forward.
Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal is a Superfunded mess, filled with contaminants and often overflowing with sewage. But a new plan from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that with proper dredging to remove contaminants and a mere $500 million, the former industrial hub could potentially become the borough’s inland waterfront.
The EPA proposes targeting the canal cleanup in three phases to minimize disruption to the neighborhood. According to the NY Times Green blog, “For the first two, more heavily contaminated segments, the agency plans to dredge or ‘stabilize’ the sediment in some areas by mixing it with concrete or a similar material and then capping it with layers of clay, sand and gravel. The third segment would be dredged and capped with sand.” Additional improvements to the city’s sewer outflows at the canal could drastically improve sewage discharges by up to 74 percent. Two public meetings have been scheduled for late January to discuss the plans.
Diagramming Schematic Intangibility
Robert Henry Contemporary
56 Bogart Street
Through January 6
Robert Strati’s work uses everyday materials to expose overlooked and unseen parts of our everyday lives. Employing ink-jet prints, wire sculptures, balloons, and packaging tape, Strati blends art with architectural theory, music, and science. His prints imitate scientific formulas, on top of astrological maps, on top of musical staffs, creating an interaction between formal shapes—points, lines, and planes—and metaphysical visualizations. Three-dimensional space is explored through wire sculptures and balloons that reveal invisible forces, like air and wind. The use of simple materials to reveal complex “dimensions of reality” was inspired by the works of Kasimir Malevich, Agnes Marin, Eva Hesse, Guglielmo Marconi, Leslie J. “Airplane” Payne, Gego, and Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks.
At Tuesday’s groundbreaking of B2, the first 32-story residential tower to be built at Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn, New Yorkers got a sneak peek at how the world’s tallest modular building will be constructed. Just beyond the podium stood what officials call the “chassis,” a steel framed box that makes up an essential structural element of the building. “You don’t need to compromise on design when it comes to modular,” said Developer Bruce Ratner.
For those in the market for prime waterfront real estate, there is something brewing in DUMBO. Today Brooklyn Bridge Park issued a Request for Proposal for a development on a vacant parcel in the north section of the park right next to the Manhattan Bridge. This site, located in what will be called the “John Street Section,” is approximately 9,600 square feet and will accommodate up to 130 residential units (with a maximum height of 130 feet) in addition to over 100 parking spaces and retail on the ground floor level.
It has been a busy few weeks at Brooklyn Bridge Park. Last week, AN got a preview of the Squibb Pedestrian Bridge, which will be completed before the end of the year, and today, Mayor Bloomberg announced the opening of the new sports fields on Pier 5 and the nearby Picnic Peninsula, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Regina Myer, the President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, told the crowd that they have been advocating for these recreation fields since the mid-1980s, which will now be used for a variety of field sports including soccer, lacrosse, rugby, flag football, and cricket.
This $26 million project spans 5-acres and offers turf fields supported by shock pad and organic infill made of sand and coconut fibers, shade sails on the northern and southern sides of the pier, and lighting for evening games. In addition to field recreation, there will be an area reserved for fishing with bait and preparation tables provided and a 30-foot promenade on the periphery of the field.
These days, it seems that the Brooklyn community is doing its best to find creative solutions to ameliorate the awkward neighborhood divisions caused by the BQE. The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) just received a grant for $75,000 from the NYC Department of Small Business Services to create what they’re calling a “funderpass” that will turn the dreary BQE underpass into a pedestrian-friendly passageway, which provides a direct connection between the shops and businesses on Atlantic Avenue and the Brooklyn Bridge Park and Pier 6.
The Atlantic Avenue BID will team up with the Design Trust for Public Space to redesign the underpass to include wall murals by Groundswell, and new amenities such as a bike service station, seating, lighting improvements, and prominent wayfinding signage. BID hopes to finalize the design and possibly implement these changes by the end of 2013.
New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) confirmed today what many had feared: flooding damage from Hurricane Sandy has indeed delayed New York’s beleaguered Citi Bike bike share system. As AN noted last month, electrical components of the Citibike docking stations were damaged while in storage in the Brooklyn Navy Yard along the East River. The initial rollout, now scheduled for May 2013, will include at least 5,500 bikes and 293 stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, later expanding to 7,000 bikes by the end of 2013. The final goal is to have 10,000 bikes and 600 stations across the city.
Before the end of this year, the Squibb Park Pedestrian Bridge will be completed connecting Brooklyn Heights with the Brooklyn Bridge Park on the waterfront. This windy path over the BQE and through the treetops will quite literally bridge the divide and substantial grade shift between the neighborhood and the park. Construction of this $4.9 million pedestrian bridge, made of black locust timber and galvanized steel, is already underway, and on December 14th and 15th, the spans will be hoisted into place over Furman Street.
On Wednesday, Forest City Ratner made it official: the world’s tallest prefabricated building will be coming to Brooklyn with a groundbreaking date set for December 18. As AN outlined in our recent feature on Atlantic Yards, the SHoP Architects-designed B2 Tower will climb, modular unit by modular unit, 32 stories on a slender wedge-shaped parcel adjacent to the new Barclays Center on the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street.
Renderings released with the groundbreaking announcement also revealed design revisions to the B2 Tower since it was unveiled in November 2011, and Chris Sharples, principal at SHoP, told AN what’s new.
Downtown Brooklyn has an unusual situation on its hands: it has a surplus of parking spaces. But soon developers may get the green light to put that space to other use. As AN reported this summer, the city’s zoning rules require new residential developments to build large garages, most of which have remained half empty. With a plethora of transit options in the area—including 13 subway lines, seven subway stops, more than a dozen bus routes, and a commuter rail to boot—there is little demand for parking, which is why the Department of City Planning (DCP) and developers are advocating for new zoning. Yesterday the New York City Council considered a proposal from the DCP that suggests reducing the minimum parking requirements from 40 percent to 20 percent of new residential housing units, which would free up those spaces for other uses whether it be mixed-income and affordable housing or public parking. City Council will likely hold a vote on the proposal on December 4th.