Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Willoughby Street. 11 projects on 7 blocks

Looks like Willoughby is getting one hell of a facelift.
Willoughby St: From Stepchild To Downtown Development Site
(Brooklyn Daily Eagle)
Downtown Brooklyn Land Rush
(The Real Deal)
Downtown Brooklyn Businesses face Termination
(Associated Content)
On the Outs in Brooklyn
(Villiage Voice)


Engine Joe said...

Does "Five other projects are in the planning stage in the Willoughby corridor, including one by St. Boniface Church that could add a minimum of 800 residential units, 53,000 square feet of retail space and 60,000 square feet of office space." mean that the Church is selling its rectory? It's the only other property other than the landmarked Duffield houses on the same block as St. Boniface.

Or maybe they mean the development going on across Willoughby from St. Boniface and BellTel?

tonino said...

Or they build on top of the existing rectory. that would suck for the A line.

guyfromdobro said...

I'm not sure what this means. We certianly have to watch the progress on this plans.

Engine Joe said...

I don't think they could fit 800 apartments + 113,000 sq. ft. of commercial space in that sized-lot. It would be the tallest building in Brooklyn, by about 30 stories. Three times the number of residential units as BellTel in 1/3 the space? Sure, BellTel has the setbacks in the building, but I don't think it's possible.

Langano said...

When I first started looking at Belltel, one of the sales agents had told me that the church also owned some buildings on Willoughby itself, and I thought they were the building directly in front between Duffield and Bridge.

Engine Joe said...

langano - yep, all of the buildings south of the church itself between Bridge and Duffield (aside from BellTel, of course) are owned by the Catholic Church. In fact, they use them for the rectory.

That's actually what makes this confusing - either the Brooklyn Eagle's description is a little off, or the church is selling its rectory.

I for one can't see the church doing that. Especially since that would deprive St. Boniface of light in all directions (Chase Manhattan to the West, BellTel to the east, and massive tower to be built to the south).

Add in the fact that BellTel's facade is landmarked, and it'll be very difficult to build on that plot.

tonino said...

I sent an e-mail to the reporter asking him if he mind sharing his source for the St Boniface development. I hope I hear back!

Engine Joe said...

I did the math to make the picture a little clearer.

The four lots on Willoughby are 20x94, 20x94, 40x94, and 20x94. This includes everything up to the wall of the church, so the church would be giving up its courtyard as well as all of the space in the current buildings.

That means that the largest the base of any development there is 9400 sq. ft. So that's (maximum) 9400 sq. ft. per floor.

113,000 sq. ft. of retail and office space on that plot would make it 13 floors tall.

800 residential units (let's say the average apartment is 800 sq. ft.) is 640,000 sq. ft. That's an additional 69 floors.

So it would have to be a 82 story building if the space maximally filled the lots. Definitely not going to happen.

Engine Joe said...

Oh, and by the way, the zoning for the four Willoughby buildings is C6-1, which has a FAR limit of 3.44.

That means, on a 9400 sq. ft. plot of land (the max space that can be developed on), the total square footage they can build there is 32,336. So this big project cannot be built here.

Worst case scenario is a tall, but small footprint building (say 3000 sq. ft. per floor) that's about a dozen stories (and won't abut the lotline and destroy the BellTel A-line windows), or a 4 story building that takes up all of the lot space, which is basically what's there now.

In other words, you have nothing to worry about unless and until the buildings AND the church are sold to be developed on.

Anonymous said...

My take on this is that the Eagle reporter missed a comma in the sentence. I think it should read as follows and that the 800/53,000/60,000 numbers are supposed to apply to all the projects on Willoughby, not just the one over the Rectory. If anyone finds out anything more about the Rectory development, plese post. I'm curious to know if they will plan it so as not to block the windows of the A line.

Five other projects are in the planning stage in the Willoughby corridor, including one by St. Boniface Church that could add a minimum[,] of 800 residential units, 53,000 square feet of retail space and 60,000 square feet of office space. These projects could total more than 2 million square feet.

Engine Joe said...

As far as I can tell, there's no proof of a development "over" the rectory at all. Do you have verifiable information to indicate otherwise?

tonino said...

Thanks for the clarification, EJ. Now I can sleep much better. ;)

Engine Joe said...

That "Associated Content" article reads like the author simply read the Voice piece and rewrote it.

It also sounds like the author has never been to downtown Brooklyn -

"Its downtown region is a vast mosaic..."

Er, no, no it's not. Not at the moment, anyway.

guyfromdobro said...

Re: "Associated Content"

I agree with you. Although, I don't think it's bad press at this point.

Anonymous said...


Why are you so certain that the lotline apartments (A line) are "safe" so to speak from development of the rectory offices? I have done some research and the church no longer owns the actual church, only the smaller buildings on Willoughby.... Please advise. Many thanks.