26 October 2007

"Well-Respected, Credible and Hard-Working" Developer Makes Presentation

Brooklyn's Community Board 6 played to a full house at the Long Island College Hospital on Oct. 25, as a covey of Cobble Hillers, Carroll Gardeners and Columbia Heights Waterfront Districtians (someone's got to change the name of that neighborhood) gathered to hear what L&M Equities had to say about the three condo buildings (totaling 152 new housing units) they want to scatter across the area.

No one in the crowd was holding a lit torch or anything, but the atmosphere was tense. These citizens were irate. The four-man team representing the proposed development didn't do itself any favors with their tone-deaf presentation, either. They must have known they were playing to a tough room, because they were nervous as a group of cats in a rocking chair warehouse. The voice of Jack Hammer, director of Brooklyn planning for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, quavered something terrible.

There was a serious quotient of, well, I'll just say it, bullshit in the proceedings. A man from L&M described the company as obviously "well-respected, credible and hard-working." Now, that may be. But an honest man doesn't stand up and say, "Hey, I'm obviously I'm an honest man." The architect was there, looking very much like an architect in his beautiful dark suit and thick head of silvery hair. His self-serving observation that "I think we can all agree that what makes New York a vibrant place is development and change," was deservedly greeted by a mighty groan.

As for the rendering of the buildings, they were what you'd expect: unbeautiful, flat, without character or significant adornment. Basically, boxes of brick in which to pack in people and pull out money. The worrisome one was the big baby they want to put on Hicks between Warren and Baltic. It wasn't overly tall, but it sure looked bulky and massive and there's no doubt it would dominate the area if built.

After the presentation, a motion was proposed and carried requesting a 75-day period in which the developer would have to work with the community in designing a more contextual building. 75 days—that means at least one more Christmas with the old Hamberger Christmas ornament factory. Hooray!

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