Nov. 28, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez
Five buildings are up for demolition just behind Greenpoint’s Transmitter Park, which will make way for a project revealed late last year that underwent several changes in response to the community’s opposition to it.
The buildings, between one to two stories high, are on the two streets bordering the small waterfront park. On Kent Street, three warehouses with buildings numbers 26, 32, and 38 are included in the demolition plans filed on Nov. 22. Parallel to Kent Street, 13 and 15 Greenpoint Ave. are also slated for demolition.
The permits were filed after a months-long process dating back to December 2016 involving the community and the city. The developers, then listed as Kent/Greenpoint, LLC, and associated with BNS Real Estate, pushed for a zoning change that would orient their planned 11-story, 75-unit mixed use building so that its windows could face Transmitter Park.
The zoning amendment would also let a single building come about as opposed to two separate buildings permitted as-of-right.
Friends of Transmitter Park, the volunteer and advocacy group for the park, immediately opposed the zoning amendment and the development for a slew of reasons, including a potential out-of-context building, shadows cast over the park by the proposed height, and the overall threat of a degraded park if maintenance costs were to shoot up.
Steve Chesler, chair of Friends of Transmitter Park, said during a January CB1 meeting and again in a May hearing before the city that the plans for the site would also make the park “feel like the development’s front yard.”
The volunteer group, along with Greenpoint residents, urged city council, including local Council member Stephen Levin, to vote no to the zoning amendment unless some conditions were met, including setting back the building’s residential section, building a wall between the property and the park, and that the developers direct funds to help maintain Transmitter Park.
After going through the Committee on Land Use, the city council approved the zoning amendment application in June, but not without some modifications before the 11-story-site could go up that mirrored the Friends of Transmitter Park’s pleas, including setting back the building’s residential section several feet from the park line and a barrier wall with a height of at least 6 feet between the park and the development.
“This result is most definitely bittersweet,” Chesler wrote on the Friends of Transmitter Park Facebook page in light of the measures. “…We hope, with these mitigating items in place, in some way the overwhelming presence of an 11-story building next door will be lessened.”
While building permits for the planned 60,000+ square-foot building have not yet been filed, renderings from the designers, Kutniki Bernstein Architects, show the building’s initial look. Updated renderings were published by YIMBY in late June showing a concrete barrier between the park and the building.
The developers did not immediately respond to questions on a construction timeline for the project.