Press | January 26, 2005

Mid-Income Condo Development Planned for Atlantic Avenue

By Ben Silverbush

Brooklyn Eagle


In a presentation last week at Polytechnic University, the Fifth Avenue Committee, Mega Contracting and Magnusson Architecture and Planning announced their joint venture to construct a 10-story, mixed-use building with 80 condominiums on Atlantic Avenue between South Portland and South Oxford Streets.


The developers were awarded the site through bidding conducted by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Competitive bidding criteria had included the percentage of affordable units proposed, as well as the quality of the proposed design.


Their announcement made before Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee, was said to be a preliminary presentation before the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) approval process begins.


Known as “Atlantic Terrace,” the project would bring 40 affordable housing units to the neighborhood according to the Fifth Avenue Committee’s executive director, Michelle de Ia Uz.


A fact sheet states that 45 percent of the condos would be affordable to families making at or below 80 percent of the area’s median income (AMI). Additional units are supposed to be affordable for families earning at or below 65 percent of the AMI.


As proposed, the building would include 10 floors above ground, and an underground parking level for 80 to 90 spaces. Its first floor would house12,000 square feet of residential use – 21 one-bedroom units, 40 two-bedroom units and 10 three-bedroom units.


Will Take Ratner’s Arena Plan into Account
Architect Barry S. Gordon and Magnusson principal Joseph Lengeling said the building was designed to provide a transition between the brownstone houses to the north and loft/industrial structures to the south.


It also aims to take into account the possibility of future construction by Forest City Ratner, on their Atlantic Yards plan.


The exterior design includes a red brick facade with expansive windows, cornice lines and smaller windows related to area town houses, a residential entrance with plantings in front of it on South Oxford Street and a large courtyard space with landscaping. Inside the building would be a small community room, as well as individual laundry units within apartments.


De la Uz said area residents will be given a 50 percent preference to purchase the housing units, noting that it would be great if people “get the word out” to encourage more locals to obtain them.  She added that the building’s height could have been higher but is going to be limited to 10 stories, with an application for a negative declaration attached – which would prevent its height from increasing further.


During the question-and-answer session that ensued, project representatives said that the retail area would not include fast food vendors, that the windows were designed to prevent people looking directly into neighbors’ gardens, and that environmentally-smart roofs were a possibility.  They also said there may be contamination at the site from old gas tanks, but an appropriate environmental study will be done to check that.


Board member Dorris Gaines Glomb said that there’s a lot more to Fort Greene than industrial buildings, but complained that the proposed structure has an “institutional” appearance. Fellow board member Nannearl Blackshear asked about security and maintenance, and was told there’d always be officers stationed at the lobby, parking and retail areas.


Asked is she supported the project, Councilwoman Letitia James said she needs to learn more about its design before deciding, but “applauds” the fact that it’s designed to be affordable.


The developers hope to begin the 14 to 18 months of construction required for the project by the end of this year or early 2006.