07 January 2008

Skewed Priorities



I understand that Two Trees Management got their slimy little way and were given permission by City Planning to erect the building next to the old Independence Bank on Atlantic Avenue to their wished-for height—even though that height is 10 feet higher than what's allowed in the Cobble Hill historic district. And I understand that part of their argument in winning this decision was that they were being soooo nice by preserving the landmark bank. (Though, one might point out, that's sort of like arguing one should be allowed to buy a gas-guzzling SUV because one's been so good about sorting out the recycling—a thing you're required to do by law.)

But why, then, I ask you (or, rather, I ask Two Trees) is so much work being done on the luxury rental building and absolutely no work being done on the bank? For the past couple weeks, the new structure has been a hive of activity, quickly rising floor by floor. Meanwhile, at the future home of Trader Joe's: tumbleweeds. No action since the interior was gutted months ago. Apparently, Two Trees has its priorities, and they're the exact opposite of the wants of the neighborhood, which doesn't crave the rental and is longing for the supermarket.

One last thing. If Two Trees is going to be such good caretakers of the landmark bank, why can't they get the corner clock to work? It's been stuck at quarter to nine for four months.

UPDATE (1/16/07): Brownstoner reports: "We've heard from Councilman de Blasio's office that the Council did not approve Two Trees' application to build 10 feet higher than what's allowed in the Cobble Hill Historic District. The Council sent the proposal back to the Planning Commission, and the plans were subsequently approved at 50 feet, conforming to the district's height limitations."

This is contrary to previous reports I'd read, but, hey, it is good news. Still, I'd like to see some action at Trader Joe's.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Exact opposite of the wants of the neighborhood" - maybe, but what about the wants of the others? I'm sure there are lots of people who'd love to move to the neighborhood (I'm one of them) but haven't been able to due to the insufficient housing stock. Please stop the self-righteous Balkanization of the great city.

gary said...

So 9:04, are you David or Jed?

Brooks, are you sure they're getting 60 feet?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

60 feet is what Curbed and the New York Post reported. If you've heard otherwise, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

It seems slightly naive to assume that TT is going to do what's in the communities interest before it does what is in it's own interests. They're not in the development game for fun or to help people, they're in it to sell apartments and make money. If you want development oriented towards benefiting communities try getting the city or nonprofits to build something. I'm not pro-developer but people need to stop being surprised that developers have their own interests at heart. This is what you get when the city has no interest and cannot afford to oversee or plan for development. Without a strong municipal hand you get developers doing what they do, making money by cutting corners.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

"They're not in the development game for fun or to help people, they're in it to sell apartments and make money." Aha! Exactly the source of my ongoing rage. "This is what you get when the city has no interest and cannot afford to oversee or plan for development. Without a strong municipal hand you get developers doing what they do, making money by cutting corners." Exactly, again! You know precisely why I made this post, so why do you complain about it? I can't get the development to do the right thing. I can't get the Mayor to pay attention. So I do what I can do: blog about it and cry "foul!" What's my alternative? Sit back so folks like you don't think I'm naive?

Anonymous said...

So wait, Trader Joe's is more of a priority than the apartments? We actually do have supermarkets already, and specialty food stores galore.

I, for one, liked the bank as a bank. But then I also liked the old Municipal Parking Garage that's now the Court House apartments... and the Optimo cigar store that's now Eckard's... and the old porn theatre that's now Barnes & Noble.

Ah well. Someone should have taken out the bridges 20 years ago (but I'm sure they said that when I moved into the neighborhood too).

Peace :)

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I liked all that stuff, too. Except the parking garage, which was ugly as sin.

barny said...

I don't think 4:19 was serious.