85 Eastern Parkway to get an additional 8 stories — Brooklynian

85 Eastern Parkway to get an additional 8 stories

edited March 2014 in Prospect Heights
As seen above, the building is presently six stories. It has filed an application to receive an additional 8.

8 + 6 = 14 stories. This will make it about as tall as nearby Turner Towers, 135 Eastern Parkway. I believe this property is zoned for that height, so no variance or special permissions will be required.


  • edited March 2014
    Here's a visual of the surrounding area

    This is a rental building, covered by rent stabilization, so I am interested in seeing how they handle/compensate the present tenants. 

    My guess is that the building will need to be vacant for about 2 years while this project occurs, and that all of the apartments will be renovated while the mechanicals are upgraded....In order to obtain the benefits from merely doing an "alteration" (as opposed to new construction) this may be an instance in which they merely keep the façade.
  • Today's building alteration has been brought to you by the number 8, and the letter X.As in, this property is zoned 8X.http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/zone/map16c.pdf.
  • edited March 2014
    An analysis by a friend who lives in Turner Towers (135 Eastern Parkway):

    "The owners of 85 Eastern Parkway have filed a permit application to add eight stories to the six-story building, for a total of 123 feet. I thought folks might be interested in how that is possible and its implications for all of us who live above the roof line of neighboring buildings.The north side of Eastern Parkway (as well as the area around GAP) is zoned R8X. This zoning district allows construction of buildings with a floor area ratio of 6.02, and a maximum height of 150 feet. An FAR of 6.02 means that the building's floor area can be six times the size of its lot area. The lot area occupied by rear yards, side yards, courts, or setbacks is added to the buildable area, which is why a building with an FAR of 6.02 can end up being much higher than six stories. On top of that, an owner is allowed to purchase the excess development rights of neighboring buildings and to transfer that additional "bulk" to his property, which allows him to build higher than he would otherwise be permitted. This is probably what the owner of 85 Eastern Parkway did, because he was only allowed to add three more stories "as of right." 

    The Meier building at the corner of Plaza Street bought air rights from buildings on St. Johns Place to reach its height limit.The bottom line here is that we are surrounded by buildings that have surplus development rights and, in a market like ours, those rights are very valuable. Once 85 begins construction, other buildings might see fit to add to their footprints. Since such developments require no city approval, other than of the building plans, there is nothing that can be done to stop them from doing so."

  • Pretty impressive statement about real-estate values around here if, after buying out a building full of rent-stabilized tenants, renovating, and adding eight stories to an existing building a project is STILL profitable.Impressive, or just downright scary.
  • edited April 2014
    Yes, on all counts.

    I'd be interested in learning how much $ the apartments are presenting renting for, and if the owner can "successfully" (a loaded term) document that the "coming alteration" results in capital improvements that can be legally recouped from the apartments.Will they be enough to get the rents above the rent stabilization cap ($2500)?If they are, the owners will be under no obligation to buy out the present RS tenants; they can just be presented with their new rent and told to call a moving company if they can't pay it.
  • The expansion, according to that article, will cost a bit over $3M, or $81,275 per new unit.I imagine they will sell for rather more than that, and that's the price we pay for restrictive zoning.
  • edited March 2014
    One can track the decisions of the DOB in this matter via this link:

    The application was apparently initially submitted incomplete, but now the DOB is reviewing it. As stated by my friend above, if this plan is approved, several of the nearby buildings could "grow taller".
  • Yup - my building on Lincoln btw Under and Wash applied to go higher too. The city rejected the application, though. There was also that building on the North side of St. Johns near the corner of Under that did this a few years back though they only went a story or two up. Writing's on the wall..
  • The contractor for the proposed addition to 85 Eastern Parkway said that the owner has no plans to vacate the building during the work. However, it is very difficult to imagine the work being done while tenants are living here without it being dangerous, noisy and just awful. Does anyone know the address of the building on Lincoln Place where the proposed addition was rejected, why it was, and when that happened?
  • sorry vidya57, I don't know anything about the Lincoln place building.

    However, I can add that there is now a drilling truck exploring the front garden area of 85 Eastern Parkway.

    Presumably, the DOB requires this before they grant approval for projects. The drill determines where bedrock begins and therefore how many stories the existing foundation could support?
  • Someone has begun posting flyers on the poles and mailboxes that line this block of EP, to voice their concerns over this project.

    The flyer encourages people to call DOB.

    DOB isn't going to be able to approve or disapprove this project based on public opinion.
  • The flyer also encourages people to call Eric Adams and Tish James, who can certainly put pressure on the DOB based on public opinion, though.
  • Someone has begun posting flyers on the poles and mailboxes that line this block of EP, to voice their concerns over this project.

    The flyer encourages people to call DOB.

    DOB isn't going to be able to approve or disapprove this project based on public opinion.
    I'm not sure I have an issue with the proposed new height of this building.  Eastern Parkway (along with the other major arteries) is where the taller, bigger buildings SHOULD go.  Brooklyn needs more housing, and I find the idea of this proposal (yes, the devil is in the details) much more aesthetically pleasing than the finger buildings in Williamsburg.

    Just my $.02.  Don't want to start a gentrification debate.
  • I'm pretty indifferent about it.

    I'm just kind of amazed that people think this is something that is subject to public opinion, or politicians.

    We have an established system of zoning and property rights.   The DOB will determine whether this proposal complies.
  • edited May 2014
    Residents living in the building have created a website which documents the work so far:

    Note:    They seem organized to the degree that their site will have more up to date coverage than Brooklynian.    
  • edited August 2014
    The proposal to increase the size of the building has been withdrawn: http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobsQueryByNumberServlet?requestid=2&passjobnumber=320825862&passdocnumber=01

    However, this may stem from the DOB requiring the building to remedy existing violations before it will review and approve a major addition.

    These conditions are presently being worked on, and time will tell whether:

    -they are significant enough to free the building from rent stabilization rules.

    -the owner will increase the size of the building under an As Of Right process.
  • Related, I saw one of those well-digger type trucks in front of one of the Plaza Street East buildings a few months ago.

    I thought I read somewhere on Brooklynian that the city was requiring some kinds of boring tests to check on soil stability.  Is it being done borough wide, or just when a property owner requests it?
  • I believe that is a standard part of the approval process.

    BTW, while the plans to put an additional 8 stories on top of 85 Eastern Parkway appear to be on hold, there is a similar project occurring on the Upper West Side.

    -rent stabilized building.

  • A less extreme example, but a set of three adjoining apartment buildings on the east? side of Lincoln Place, between Washington and Underhill are getting and additional floor of apartments. I can't tell how well integrated the top floor will be with the rest of the building, but they do have nice, large windows.
  • I think its the north side of Lincoln Pl you are referring to.  Yes, saw the additional floors going up, and was curious as I thought those were Section 8 buildings. Perhaps something is brewing there? 
  • Very few, if any, of the buildings on Lincoln take Section 8 anymore.
  • The NYT has written a piece on the UWS developer:    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/11/nyregion/when-tenants-cant-be-evicted-building-around-or-over-them.html?smid=fb-nytmetro&smtyp=cur&_r=0

    This could get very interesting, 85 Eastern Parkway.
  • Yep. If you can't get rid of them, build around them. This works with NYCHA too. 
  • edited November 2015

    While this landlord is no longer pursuing their plan to construct an additional 8 stories, they are continuing to get rid of the stabilized tenants.

    Through a combination of buy outs and other means, the landlord has no vacated and renovated enough units that he has placed a banner midway up the façade that announces:

    "Luxury Units for Rent.  Immediate Availability"

    I'll post a picture if I get a chance.


  • edited December 2015

    It seems he is subdividing the units as well:  http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20151223/prospect-heights/landlord-illegally-subdividing-units-at-prospect-heights-building-tenants

    ...possibly illegally.

    Some predict this kind of thing will slow down in rent stabilized building in 2016:  http://therealdeal.com/blog/2015/12/23/what-to-watch-out-for-in-brooklyns-multifamily-market/

  • Holy jesus. 
  • Someone apparently rented the obviously-subdivided #1DA for $2,750 (I wonder how they chose that number?) in November:
  • I admire the tenants for organizing and getting public about the goings on at the building.
  • edited April 2016

    To my knowledge, this landlord has not offered the existing tenants buyouts.

    Instead, "his" strategy seems to be to renovate and subdivide apartments that become vacant in a manner that is disruptive and illegal.

    ...rumors are that the above vacate order stemmed from completing renovations on 1D and 1DA that were not only outside of those stipulated by the existing work permits, but also completed during prohibited hours:   Tenants reportedly regularly heard construction until midnight.   

    However, it took DOB until after the unit was completed and rented to secure a Vacate Order, and void the other permits issued on the site.


  • Here's what the tenant website says about the 1D situation.  This appears to be an older post:

    Back at the beginning of 2014, long-time tenants moved out of rent-stabilized apartment 1D. Rather than rent it out again, advisors talked the owner into turning it into two miniature apartments. The concept they touted: claim rent stabilization was ended because the apartments are new, and charge a fortune in rent. That the kitchens are in the living room, and some of the bedrooms are barely eight feet wide was apparently not considered relevant.

    That was the idea, and so the owner spent a very tidy sum to gut the apartment, frame out two miniaturized apartments, and redo the plumbing.

    Then reality appeared: the architect didn't think out the plans, and a number of features won't pass inspection by the DOB [Department of Buildings]. At all. Six months later the apartment stands unfinished [and unrented]. The prospects for its future are equally dim, as some of the problems in the design [i.e. proper egress et al] have no obvious solution. And sitting in the wings are all the violations of the Multiple Dwelling Law that have yet to be cited.

    Hanging over everything is the basic legality of claiming that the space has been destabilized, an unresolved legal issue that begs years of litigation.

    To add insult to injury, the architect and his contractor tried to cut corners with the DOB [permits and such], and as a result, have incurred two separate Stop Work orders, resulting in fines of $5000 each.

    In the meantime, 1D sits empty, the rent disappearing, month by month.

This discussion has been closed.