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Dock Street Development Sprouts In the Shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge

The historic Empire Stores warehouses provide a backdrop to the Dock Street development project in DUMBO. Photos by Lore Croghan.

Eye On Real Estate

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

An apartment complex is beginning to take shape thisclose to the Brooklyn Bridge.

The skeleton of Two Trees Management's 290-unit rental development, long known as the Dock Street project, is starting to rise above the construction fence on the Water Street side of the big site.

The world-famous bridge looms near the Dock Street block where the development – which includes a 300-seat middle school for District 14 and has substantial frontage on Front Street – is located.

The project ignited years of opposition from DUMBO residents and activists, including a lawsuit. One bone of contention was that the development would block public views of the beloved bridge.

An early design version nixed in 2004 located much of the building's mass near the Roeblings' masterwork.

Now, the apartment house design is massed in three sections of varying heights – with the highest point of the building, which will be 17 stories tall, as far as possible from the Brooklyn Bridge, said David Lombino, Two Trees' director of special projects.

The lowest portion will be seven stories high; the building steps up to nine stories along Water Street.

The middle school will be on the second floor of a low-rise structure that will have an entrance on Dock Street, he said.

A preliminary drawing of the project that's posted on construction fences “is meant to give neighbors and passersby a sense of the massing and scale of the project but is not a complete or accurate rendition of the building in its final form,” Lombino said.

We're publishing our photo of it with that caveat. (A tip of the hat to Curbed.com, which posted its rendering photo last week.)

Two Trees doesn't yet have a final rendering that will be used to market the apartments in the development, whose address in city Buildings Department filings is 60 Water St.

The project's design architect is high-profile Thomas Leeser – who also drew up plans for glam new hotel 95 Rockwell Place, which is being built at a BAM Cultural District site next door to the just-opened Shakespeare-centric Theatre for a New Audience. The architect of record for Two Trees' Dock Street development is Ismael Leyva.

Fifty-eight apartments – 20% of the total – will be affordable units for low-income residents, with rents ranging from about $500 to $1,000 per month. The marketing will begin very soon for the units, with a preference for Community Board 2 residents, Lombino said.

As in all Two Trees developments the affordable units will be “completely integrated throughout the building,” he said – and there will be no “poor door,” or separate entrance.

Two Trees plans to turn over the middle school's core and shell in August to the School Construction Authority – whose estimated interior buildout period will be two years long. The apartments should be ready for occupancy in first-quarter 2015, he said.

There will be ground-floor retail along Water Street – about 25,000 square feet of it, Buildings Department filings indicate.

January 8, 2014 - 6:30pm


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