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Brooklyn’s Most Hated Buildings Are New, Sleek High Rises



Why hate a building? Time and time again we are seeing that it’s not the old decrepit buildings that aggravate and rile up the masses. Rather it’s the new shiny high rise buildings, which threaten to bring about change, that become most contested. Also, the major reason for the contempt is no longer the increase in population density that a tall tower will bring. Rather, a major classification of today’s most hated buildings in Brooklyn can be entitled, “Darkeners of Green Spaces”.

This category includes potential high-rise towers which threaten to place the Brooklyn Botanic Garden beneath their shadow. Currently, thanks to a law passed in 1991, buildings in the vicinity may not exceed 13 stories. As reported by the NY Post, this is now being challenged by Cornell Realty, which aspires to build two 16-story residential buildings, at 40 Crown St. and 931 Carroll St., in Crown Heights. Should those permits be granted, a string of other developers are already waiting with their own plans. Continuum Co. will be next in line, planning for the old spice factory at 960 Franklin Avenue, in Crown Heights.

The vision is for two towers, 39 and 37 stories tall, with a total of 1,500 apartments, about 750 of which would be affordable, as well retail and community space. Alicia Body, co-founder of Movement to Protect the People, says the results of such construction would be “horrendous.” “We calculate 17.3 acres of shadows. You are basically talking about . . . the destruction of the garden, ” she said. The activist group conducted a study, finding that the projects would block sunlight to the botanical garden year-round. Moreover at certain time of the day, a scorching glare from the glass towers would burn the vegetation. Cornell Realty did not comment. Continuum Co. spokesperson, Lupe Todd-Medina, said “The two buildings that we have proposed are stepped back . . . to mitigate any adverse shadow impacts.”

In other Brooklyn neighborhoods, namely that of Boerum Hill and Fort Greene, there is another tower building up lots of animosity. Alloy Development’s project at 80 Flatbush, which is dependent on the proposed rezoning that would allow for a 986-foot “supertall” skyscraper, has been the target of multiple protests. The five building complex would feature a 74-story, $900 million, glass building. The complex would also include a 38-story building with a high school, elementary school and community space, along with offices and apartments. “We have been surrounded by 35- to 50-story buildings and it’s [already] affected our sunlight,” said Ron Janoff, the coordinator of the 40-year-old Rockwell Place Bears Community Garden, which grows vegetables, grapes and flowers. “Virtually everything we currently grow in the garden couldn’t be grown in the shadow of 80 Flatbush.”

As per the Post, another highly opposed development is Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp.’s pair of waterfront buildings on Pier 6, which will be completed next year. The Quay, a 30-story tower with 126 condos, will offer 2 to 5 bedroom luxury apartments ranging from $1.9 million to just under $8 million. 15 Brooklyn Bridge, it’s 15 story counter part, will provide 100 affordable units and 40 market-rate units. The developer agreed to set aside revenue from both buildings to pay for repairs to piles that support the piers at the famed Brooklyn Bridge Park. This did not stop opponents from filing lawsuits against the construction. “We need open space at the park, not needless new condo towers,” said Patrick Killackey, the president of the Brooklyn Heights Association. The group fought for a smaller tower, saying the builder had promised to develop only enough housing to support the park.

By: Ilana Siyance

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