The Triangle at Washington and Grand! — Brooklynian

The Triangle at Washington and Grand!

Wanna do something great for the Washington Ave retail strip - that will only take about two minutes?

Click here to go to the DOT's CityBench online request form:

Request CityBenches for the new DOT sidewalk extension at Washington, Grand and Park. The total lack of public seating along the Washington retail strip is frustrating and off-putting. The new pedestrian peninsula is a natural spot to sit and sip a coffee, read the paper and meet your neighbors. More local eyes on the street mean less street crime and will make the street more welcoming to visitors too.

Our friends at Grand and Fulton have SIX of these benches in and around the new pedestrian mall (see image below). The senior center across the street on Fulton was likely a motivator.

On the DOT form, check "in front of a municipal facility" (the NYPD task force) and "in a commercial zone or shopping district" and give the address as "Washington Ave at Grand Ave and Park Place" and the owner as NYC DOT.

That triangle intersection should be to Washington Ave what Madison Square or Union Square are to Broadway - and some day it will be (when we replace the garage with a Shake Shack and their lot full of junked cars with a landscaped seating area)!

Attached files image image


  • Why are you advocating for shutting down a business simply because you don't like the way it looks? That garage and its cars have been there for years, and whether or not you think it deserves a space on Washington, it was there back when that intersection was the provence of only the cops and the crackheads. Washington Square and Madison Square are PARKS! Seating at parks is perfectly appropriate. Trying to put seating on a newly constructed street corner so as an excuse to then run out the current business by claiming they are no longer suited to the neighborhood is unconscionable.

  • Homeowner and notsayin-

    Other people have had their eyes on the property presently occupied by the auto repair shop for sometime.

    In 2009 and 2010, plans were filed for a 22 unit building on the site being discussed: 656 Grand Avenue ...aka 699-703 Washington Ave.

    As we know, the credit market has become much more difficult since this time, and that may be why it is still an auto repair place.

    While it would suck for a long time mechanic to loose his lease so his landlord (Ernst Cange) could get rich, it would be awesome if the owner of the property (Ernst Cange) was actually the mechanic: With the help of an excellent architect and lawyer, he might get to wash his hands of grease and retire.


  • P.S. Unless more on street parking is provided for them, the cops might park in front of any benches; that would kind of ruin the intent.

  • One can wish, can't they?

    Obviously there's no legal precedent (Bruce Ratner and friends notwithstanding) to "shut down" a business because one doesn't "like the way it looks". That said, regardless of how long it's been there - that garage and it's rusty corral full of junked cars is a huge eyesore in a spot that could be a centerpiece for the neighborhood.

    Many triangle lots in urban areas that are caused by an avenue that breaks the rectilinear grid on a steep angle are pocket parks - often with a monument or other landscaping and street décor. Walk over to Grant Square where Bedford and Rogers meet for a good example. Or see the Grand/Fulton triangle pictured above.

    Instead of a beautiful public space, we have a rusty dagger that bisects the business district and creates a 150 foot dead zone on a retail strip. And no, you can't just "shut it down" - but a community CAN and SHOULD demand that businesses, homeowners and developers meet a minimum level of tidiness. When the market rationalizes a developer's investment in that parcel, the owner will sell or lease it to an enterprise that will likely create many more jobs and commerce (or build a condo on it - which I believe was on the table a year or two ago).

    BTW, Master Motors isn't the only offender on Washington Avenue - there's examples up and down and around the strip. The dangling banners atop Laundry King, the dirty tarp falling off the 'Pizza and Bagel' place sign, and the innumerable rotted construction fences and destroyed sidewalks in front of stalled construction sites all serve to lower property values, encourage street crime and vandalism, and create a negative atmosphere for residents and visitors. And there ARE building codes that address some of this.

    Nothing against auto repair places, either - they should all look to Nok on St. Marks as an example of how to take pride in your business and coexist in a mixed-use neighborhood.

    And I still think the street benches are a step in the right direction. In the Sping they'll be a nice compliment to the two new trees planted there a few weeks ago!

    Attached files image
  • Talk to Mr. Ernst Cange

    A little more digging has determined that he seems to be the owner of the business AND the property. He can be reached at 718-622-6795.

    Hopefully he broke even on the architect drawing up plans and doing all of the filings.


  • Actually, there is a legal precedent, it's Kelo vs. City of New London, 545 US 469 (2005). The Supreme Court held that the government can condemn and take property pursuant to a redevelopment plan. Not the most popular precedent in US jurisprudence, but there you have it.

  • Discussion regarding pressures on local property owners who hoped to develop their properties during the real estate boom can be found here.

  • Update: SUCCESS!!!!

    The DOT placed two 3-seat CityBenches on the Washington Point triangle (Washington/Grand/Park) this morning!! THANK YOU to everyone who filed online requests back in January. It proves that the city is responsive to community input - even if it takes a while.

    Between the shiny new street furniture, and the smattering of new bench-style tree-guards, the Washington Avenue retail strip now boasts as much or more public seating as any other Brooklyn neighborhood I can think of.

    And despite the occasional complaint about a local drunk sprawled out, or loud conversations here and there (both will occur somewhere - with or without benches), Washington is beginning to present itself as a neighbor and visitor-friendly destination for strolling, resting, chatting, and interacting with fellow humans. Still a bit rattier around the edges than some of our more 'gentrified' peers downtown, but the overall trend is undeniable.

    Now, anyone want to buy a piece of an auto repair shop? :wink:

    Attached files image image
  • Love the benches. I saw hope for the miss-managed garage junkyard when they were installed. I like the big boulders too, to ward off the curb jumping cars.
  • You could talk with Mr. Cange and determine which of the cars outside the fence are his.

    At some point, Mr. Cange will likely close his business and follow through on his plans to develop the property.

    In the meantime, I suspect he is making more money from the appreciation of his land, than he does from repairing cars.
  • Fast-forward a year (and raise neighborhood property values about 25%) and Mr Cange HAS relisted the property - and added a slick rendering of an imaginary ten-story building under construction.

    Zillow shows he originally listed the lot (as a development property, obvs) at $6.5 million; then dropped it to $4.1 million just three weeks later (which suggests he's serious about selling while the market's hot - and not just testing the waters).

    Anyone have insight on the realistic buildable max, FARs and such?

    Is a 10-story building really possible there?

    I'd really prefer to see it become a beer garden or park...but realistically never going to be either. This would at least clean up the current eyesore I guess...image
  • Also notice the image is not even from Washington Avenue - looks like they actually just grabbed a shot of another triangle building under construction - anyone recognize this location?
  • edited July 2015

    "699 Washington Ave building and land. development site. picture is general idea of what could exist there; not actual."

    I expect the DOB will only approve something similar to the prior plans:

    7 Stories.

  • 22 dwelling units across 7 floors; ground-floor retail, and 11 off-street parking spaces per the 2012 filing.

    At $4.1 million, that's $186K per unit in property acquisition cost, excluding the retail space. Given that several of the units proposed are duplexes, seems like condos as opposed to rentals (?) Albeit some really pointy condos.

    My geometry skills have faded to the point I can't figure out the maximum floor plate sizes from this plot diagram. Anyone have an older version of Illustrator - or Acrobat Pro - that can calculate the area of this odd plot?

    Screen Shot 2015-07-05 at 10.40.15 AM
  • edited July 2015
    RESIDENTIAL   14,805   R6A   2.73

      1,470   C2-4   0.27

    Proposed Totals:
      16,276 --   3.00

  • edited July 2015
    It looks like the floor plate (minus set backs and whatnot) is 16,276 sf / 3

    As per:

  • edited August 2015
    Still for sale. Price has been increased back up to $6.4M

    701 Washington
    699 Washington
  • edited March 2016

    On 3/23/2016, plans were again filed for this site, aka 656 Grand Avenue


    ...they are close to identical to those filed back in 2012.


  • The triangular building pictured under construction from the post from July is on 6th ave near Broome in Soho.
  • Lot does not appear to have changed hands.   Owner is still  CANGE, ERNST

    Current Search Criteria:

    Borough:  BROOKLYN / KINGS
    Block:  01161  
    Lot:  0001       Unit:  N/A
    Date Range:  To Current Date    
    Document Class:  All Document Classes

  • edited March 2016
    I am interested in seeing if he sells the property once the plans are approved, or secures financing to have it built under his name.

    If this actually comes to fruitition, I suspect we will see the lot begin to have less cars as he begins to decline new work and/or sells his long term projects.
  • edited March 2016
    Question: If the lot changes hands where will the NYPD park their cars? 

    Answer: On the sidewalk in front of the new owners property. 
  • Most cars on that block of Grand belong to the repair shop who has a special relationship with local detectives, while he fills his own property with long term junked car projects that never move. Disgusting.
  • edited March 2016


    The detectives' cars on Grand are easy to spot:   They often have placards and are much newer than Mr. Cange's.

  • "The project will have 22 apartments and 14,805 square feet of residential space, yielding rental-sized average units of 670 square feet.

    The ground floor will host 1,500 square feet of retail, followed by three to five units a piece through the sixth floor. Several of the units will be duplexes, and the top floor will include the upper half of two duplex apartments.

    There will be extra retail space in the cellar, as well as a six-car garage. A five-car lot, which will probably be on the Grand Avenue side of the property, will help satisfy the city’s requirement for 11 parking spots."

  • In addition to seeing the lot empty out, another indicator that this plan is becoming a reality will be a demolition application for the present garage.

    I have yet to see evidence of either.
  • edited June 2016
    June 15th: Business appears unchanged at the garage. No fewer cars present.

    Perhaps he merely refiled his old plans, and still does not have financing or a contractor?
  • July 11th:   No change.
  • Nov 25th:   No change.
  • April 11: Visibly fewer cars are in the lot. Hours of operation have become very sporadic.

    This could be a good sign.
  • No demolition permit on file yet, but I am seeing a clearing out of stuff and cars.
    Screen Shot 2017-04-22 at 8.16.31 PM
  • One less junkyard of false starts around here.
  • Next stop, demolition permit!
  • A source informs me that this project is happening, and that everything of value (i.e. Tools and equipment) has now been removed from the building.
  • I have so far managed to avoid getting razor wire in my eye from this derelict property, and hopefully now I never will
  • edited August 2017
    I am pleased to present a demolition permit, effective 8/29/2017. 701 Washington Ave.
  • The hoarding boards are up (green construction fence) around the lot now.... waiting for the banging noises to start. My son's bedroom window faces the lot :(
  • Demolition should not take long or be that dirty. It will likely be dirtiest and noisiest when they dig the foundation. IMG_5307 IMG_5308
  • Almost 3 months later, the building remains.
  • It seems the retail space on the ground floor of the new building on the SW corner of Prospect and Grand remains without a tenant. Maybe commercial space in this area of Washington Ave is not as hot as it seems.
  • Landlords also love to take their sweet time until they find a high-paying tenant, since commercial leases are so long— as opposed to year-long residential leases.
  • This ad does not state how much the ground floor spaces is asking: 406 Prospect
This discussion has been closed.