Greenpoint: Mammoth waterfront makeover begins

The wheels are starting to turn on the construction of Greenpoint Landing – a mega-project that will fill 20 acres of the Greenpoint waterfront with about 5,000 apartments.

Greenpoint Landing Associates, an entity of Manhattan-based developer George Klein's Park Tower Group, has filed plans with the city Buildings Department for two relatively small residential buildings – a prelude to planned towers of 30 to 40 stories at the site at Commercial and West streets.

A Buildings Department plan exam is in process for a March filing by Handel Architects to construct a six-story, 93-unit apartment building with about 2,500 square feet of commercial space at 21 Commercial St. And this week, Langan Engineering applied for a permit to build a sidewalk and curb at this location.

The desolate fenced-in parking lot has jaw-dropping views of the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and other jewels of the midtown skyline.

A closer look at 33 Eagle St., which is part of the 20-acre Greenpoint Landing mega-project. Rendering by Handel Architects

On April 1, the Buildings Department disapproved a plan exam for Handel Architects' filing for the construction of a seven-story, 98-unit apartment building with about 1,500 square feet of commercial space at 33 Eagle St. There's a new Langan Engineering application for a sidewalk and curb construction permit for this site, too.  

The fenced-in vacant Eagle Street lot, which has views of 1 World Trade Center, is right next to the city Department of Environmental Protection's East River Sludge Storage Tank. The huge concrete tank will be torn down.  

Most of Greenpoint Landing's high-rise apartment construction is as-of-right because of a 2005 Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning. In December, the City Council gave its approval to some changes to Park Tower Group's development plans, and then the project could get underway.

On Commercial Street, the future home of Greenpoint Landing, a 20-acre development. Photo by Lore Croghan

Greenpoint Landing – which includes affordable apartments, a park and space for a public school – has been a long time coming. The developer bought the site for $44 million in 2005 from Lumber Exchange Terminal Inc., whose president was Stephen Stulman, city Finance Department records indicate.

Park Tower Group had signed a sale contract for the property that was dated June 12, 2003 and was effective as of May 30, 2001.

With big changes getting underway in Greenpoint, it's a fitting moment to take a look at the cherished streetscapes of this once-mighty industrial neighborhood.

The notoriously polluted Newtown Creek is part of its shoreline, and polluted soil and groundwater are underfoot in parts of Greenpoint. At the same time, many residents take loving care of handsome 19th Century rowhouses and apartment buildings – there's even an apartment house that was built by an oil tycoon. Parts of the neighborhood are designated city historic districts.

What a view from the Commercial Street Greenpoint Landing site. Photo by  Lore Croghan

A few blocks away from the Greenpoint Landing location, the pier at  Transmitter Park affords beautiful blue views of Manhattan. Photo by Lore Croghan

Flower Power, not far from the once and future home of Greenpoint Landing.  Photo by Lore Croghan