Empire and Bedford will be ....... — Brooklynian

Empire and Bedford will be .......

You guessed it...  ANOTHER storage facility.   Holy crap, we've got a lot of crap to store.

Empire blvd. deserves better IMO.   Do the residents of Crown Heights and PLG really want these facilities here?

(note, we'll find out what Bedford and EP will be soon as well, these properties were dissolved from the same trust.)


  • edited April 2015
    readers, we are talking about the NE corner of Empire and Bedford, seen here as in its prior form, a Gulf Station: http://goo.gl/maps/UHD8l

    155 Empire

    Empire and Atlantic seem to be in a race to see how many storage facilities can built.

    In a prior era, they would have been built on 4th Ave, but new zoning allows residential.

    That stretch of Empire would make a lovely Ave of condos if it were re zoned.
  • What do community boards think of these storage centers moving in.  In a way it must be kind of a win for them, no?  A large chunk of land gets paused for a generation as opposed to turned into nightlife
  • Empire and Atlantic are horribly planned roads with no setbacks or sidestreets like Eastern Parkway has. So you just get things like storage facilities, gas stations, and fast food drive-throughs. They were built strictly for cars and not people.
  • 4th Ave has a similar design, yet the demand for housing in that area is creating mid rise housing.

    The nice ones have windows with 3 layers of glass.
  • Where is the demand for storage coming from?  I understand people may be downsizing, but to the extent that we need so many?
  • Many of the units seem to be occupied by businesses.

    -Storefronts store out of season merchandise in them.

    - financial records in bankers boxes that must be kept for 7+ years.

  • Interesting, but it's not like we have so much more retail space in the area than a couple years ago.  The demand seems to be increasing exponentially; otherwise, they wouldn't be building so many of them.

    And I guess it must generate more income than a gas station... 
  • edited July 2014
    Ah, but many areas that were storage (ie 4th Ave) no longer are.

    Another factor is that some of the storage buildings are built in a way that they can be converted into offices.

    Needless to say, at the moment, the trick is to buy commercial property that may someday be rezoned as residential.

    ...the trend is to rezone areas that are presently exclusively commercial, into mixed use.

    The stuff stored comes from all over the city...
  • So there is a possibility that this is temporary, and simply a way to make money while sitting on the property while waiting until it gets rezoned.  Here's to hoping...
  • And singing. It is important to sing while you hope.

  • Are we talking about where the Gulf station used to be?  
  • Did anyone ever confirm what is going on with the Gulf Station at Bedford and Eastern Parkway?
  • If and when they do rezone Empire Blvd to be mixed-use, I hope they put a limit on the frontage of retail spaces, like they did on the Upper West Side, in order to foster a pedestrian-friendly environment.
    I'd like to see a dense, mixed-use, mixed-income, live-work-shop environment that makes the most of the B/Q, 2/5, B43 and B48.

    If they do it right, Empire will look more like Nostrand or Flatbush Avenue than the suburban turnpike that it resembles today.
  • Empire and Atlantic were planned as truck routes. They have no setbacks or service roads becuase they are supposed to accommodate large trucks as the major routes east west through Brooklyn. Its also why they didn't have a lot of trees. Years ago those streets were populated with car dealerships, factories, warehouses, and slaughterhouses, and the streets worked perfectly well for those trucks making either local stops or as through routes. Unlike 4th Avenue that was mixed use (commercial and residential), Atlantic had almost no housing from Flatbush to Kingston, and only a small percentage of housing out to Ralph Avenue. It's only been in the last 15 years or so that zoning has changed to allow for residential development on that street. Empire always had apartment buildings on the east end and smaller houses, but it was the route used to get to the warehousing districts on Utica, Linden, Ralph, etc. and out further to the airport. Many of those facilities remain with big box stores, UPS consolidation centers, Verizon, Cablevision etc.

    As for whether storage facilities are the best use, I think they'll go away when people stop storing goods. According to the Self Storage Association "The self storage industry has been one of the fastest-growing sectors of the United States commercial real estate industry over the period of the last 38 years. It took the self storage industry more than 25 years to build its first billion square feet of space; it added the second billion square feet in just 8 years (1998-2005)"

    Given these numbers I don't see these facilities going away.
  • edited April 2015
    Grwd- I totally agree.

    @lilern - I have no news re: Bedford and EP. If I get any, I'll awaken this thread: http://www.brooklynian.com/discussion/38184/the-gulf-stationdunkin-donuts-at-ep-and-bedford-1550-bedford

    It is one of the big developments I am watching:
  • BOO!  Another storage facility depresses me - I live right by there and Empire is reminding me of the awful stretch of suburban highways back home in Texas - actually worse since there isn't even an Applebee's or Red Robin (I jest).  But now I realize it is all about zoning.  Will the zoning change?  is there an appetite to get it changed so the whole street doesn't look like a suburban storage nightmare?
  • edited July 2014
    @homeowner -
    I think a lot people don't realize that a lot of those routes need to remain, because The Belt Parkway does not accommodate trucks and the S Brooklyn area is dense with people needing deliveries from trucks.

  • edited July 2014
    "A large chunk of land gets paused for a generation as opposed to turned into nightlife"
    There is a club next to the one storage place on Empire that is across the street from the carpet shop.

    Years ago when I was a kid, there was a bar on the SE corner of Bedford and Empire. (That area is now fenced off.) 

    I wonder what's going to become of the old RS Strauss auto goods shop. That's been vacant for quite some time. 

    ETA: Re: Rezoning...the people who are pissed about 626 Flatbush said they had been trying to get the city to rezone that area for years with no movement. How effective would a push to get Empire Boulevard to be rezoned in this current climate?
  • edited July 2014
    The people annoyed about 626 Flatbush are trying for a rezoning that limits height.

    This is in opposition to what I perceive to be the present trend in the city: Increase the height and density of commercial strips, while maintaining the present limits on residential areas.

    Most people don't realize how dense and high NYC can be under the present code. As economics allow, NYC will become much denser, and the zoning code allows room for this growth.
  • Until NYC creates a network of underground tunnels for truck deliveries, which we all rely on because we live on an island, there are always going to be some roads/parkways that are purely designed to facilitate the transfer of goods from point A to point B. Empire Parkway and Atlantic may just be our permanent supply routes.
  • edited July 2014
    Yet, Eastern Parkway is an actual parkway with greenery, a pedestrian island and residential housing! :)
  • Eastern Parkway, lovely as it is, is pretty useless as a truck route, because of the slow speed limit and the number of red lights.
  • To those who assume that because Empire Blvd is a "truck route", it is forever doomed to be a hostile environment for pedestrians, I present this partial truck route map, taken from the NYC DOT website and placed here for your convenience.

    Red Lines: Through truck routes
    Blue Lines: Local truck routes

    I only hope that the community is proactive in setting the terms for how it will densify, instead of just saying no and then being portrayed as being NIMBYs.

  • Eastern Parkway is not a truck route. Empire Blvd is a truck route, and one that is only supposed to be used for "local" traffic - getting from the red routes above to the final destination. Because there are so few through routes, the local routes are key to local deliveries. Currently, it costs more than $600 to get a tractor trailer delivery from Newark to Brooklyn. What's the cost going to be when we have fewer blue lines on this map? The zoning and density questions deserve to be scrutinized, but I wonder what happens when we have 2x's the population due to increasing density in these areas and 1/4 of the warehouse space or truck routes?
  • edited July 2014

    I don't think the issue is whether or not Empire is a hostile environment for pedestrians. It's about getting something better than blocks of storage spaces, as the op said. Even if it isn't
    rezoned for residential, there are plenty of commercial options. Why not a movie theater or bowling alley (there used to be one in that area when I was growing up), or kids' rec space like BounceU? With the park right there and the right commercial mix, it could become a leisure destination. Even hotels, nightclubs, or the big box chain stores that people seem to want in Crown Heights would be better than more storage spaces.
  • edited July 2014
    If we are talking about Empire, we should talk about all of that fast food in addition to storage.
  • I wonder what happens when we have 2x's the population due to increasing density in these areas and 1/4 of the warehouse space or truck routes?
    More of the burden for the "last mile" of delivery will shift to the receiver restaurants, stores, etc. The trucks will stop at a given location and the recipients can come and do the rest. People wanting delivery to their door will pay more for it.
  • The burden is already on receivers and on consumers. 90% of area warehousing is located on the west side of the Hudson River. So where is this "given location" going to be? Its not at the edge of the borough because we are converting all of our waterfronts to housing and recreational uses. It's not our traditional industrial neighborhoods, because those are being rezoned for luxury housing. And clearly its not places like Empire Blvd.

    It's great to believe that we can push all of our less desirable needs (waste processing, warehousing, industrial uses, heavy transportation,etc) off to some other community that will service those of us living here, but there isn't any indication that is going to happen. We have to plan for ALL of our needs, and I just don't see any indication that anyone wants to talk about the bad stuff that we need to survive. Energy generation, trash processing, climate controlled storage, additional mass transportation options, all need to be accounted for. This is SimCity 101.
  • While I do admit that there is a need for storage space, the idealist in me would rather see a 1,000 square foot for-profit seminar storefront that gives people the knowledge and confidence to finally get rid of their stuff, than a 100,000 square foot storage facility that profits off of your hanging on to crap you don't really need.

    Even better would be a 10,000 square foot interactive theatre experience that inspires people that they have the power to let go of their junk. Think fat camp for hoarders set on off-Broadway.
  • What do community boards think of these storage centers moving in.  In a way it must be kind of a win for them, no?  A large chunk of land gets paused for a generation as opposed to turned into nightlife

    Community Boards have no authority to make any changes. They facilitate "discussion" and CB9 has done a good job of that, in fact it's done. They've hosted open public discussions with City Planning involved and they have sent a letter to City Planning demanding a re-zoning study be done immediately. From what I understand we're probably another 3 - 5 years away from actual broad zoning changes. However, individual zoning changes may be passed for specific projects.

    Regarding storage facilities, they may be a way to "hold" a property while turning a profit, but that seems like a stretch. We're living in a consumer based economy and storage facilities will do well if the economy is chugging along (we buy more crap). And they do well if the economy slows (people downsize living spaces and need to store stuff. Some folks even "live" out of storage facilities).

    I think these storage companies will find that their property is more valuable once zoning changes take place. However, that's no guarantee they will become residential or commercial.

    I would love to see more creative zoning options or more creative use. It would not be difficult to design a building that included storage, residential and commercial uses. But that would require a developer that puts the development and community above profit.
  • "Eastern Parkway, lovely as it is, is pretty useless as a truck route, because of the slow speed limit and the number of red lights" 

    Even more so because it's a parkway and commercial traffic isn't permitted to use it.
  • The Q at Parkside made this informative post about what is allowed under the current zoning of Empire Boulevard.

    There are worse things that can be built than another storage place. They could open up a crematorium or a chicken market. 
  • edited April 2015
    Or, another fast food place.

  • edited November 2014
    Just to clarify, the old gas station on the northeast corner is the one this thread is dedicated to. The property in the photo has been for sale/lease for many years.
  • As much as i understand the need for storage Why are these typically sheetmetal clad buildings SO UGLY? What is achieved by turning the building into a huge billboard as if we are blind and cannot read ? Are they adveritsing to aircraft or google earth?
  • edited April 2015
    It is official: There are now more than 3x as many self storage locations in the US than there are McDonald's locations.

  • The building had started. A small tower now emerging from the fence
This discussion has been closed.