Tucker Reed is sweet on Brooklyn—big time. A resident of Prospect Heights who enjoys frequenting the Barclays Center, the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mr. Reed is a champion of the city’s most populous borough. He is a ball of energy as he talks about all of the work the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has done with him as president for the past two years, from supporting the technology sector with the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Coalition to establishing Downtown Brooklyn as New York City’s college town. About a year after Commercial Observer conducted the Sit-Down interview with Mr. Tucker, we wanted to check in and see how the nonprofit has been doing with the reinvention of Downtown Brooklyn.
Modular New York
Reporters, PR men and honchos from Forest City Ratner and modular manufacturer Skanska gathered today in the cold and considerable shadow of Barclay’s Center to witness the hoisting into place of the first of the modular units in Atlantic Yards’ B2 residential tower, which aims to become the world’s tallest modular building upon its completion, slated for late next year. Of the tower’s 363 units, 181 will qualify as affordable housing—a considerable figure in terms of both quantity and percentage, particularly in comparison to prevailing proportions of market rate/affordable units included in new city construction.
The building schedule called today for the placement of three adjacent “mods,” Skanska’s Elizabeth Miller told The Observer, which together will compose a single apartment. Appliances, fixtures and plumbing had already been installed; all that remained to make the habitat functional was to tie into the building’s central electrical and water lines, which have yet to arrive. No word was forthcoming on whether the apartment assembled today might be one of those destined for affordable rental rates.
Silicon Alley U
Published reports indicate that next week Forest City Ratner will ship and begin stacking modular units next to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn to create the first Atlantic Yards residential tower, a 32-story building dubbed B2.
The 363-unit tower is set to become the tallest modular building in the world when construction wraps up, estimated by Read More
Notes from the campfire
Back in the Spring, The Observer traveled to Steiner Studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where Doug Steiner is working on building the biggest movie studio outside of Hollywood. Part of that plan is building a new media-tech campus, including a new grad school for Brooklyn College’s film program that is already under construction in old radio building at the foot of Washington Avenue.
The marquee feature is a 20 acre satellite for Carnegie Mellon University, to be located on the site of a former naval hospital. On Friday, The Times revealed both a rendering of the project and the fact that the city and Steiner Studios were close to a deal for redeveloping the property.
Finally! Speciality summer camps for all the weird kids who’d rather destroy the capitalist system or work on their stock portfolios than sit on logs and make lanyards.
Here are our very favorite New York–area summer camps. Read More
At the ribbon cutting for Steiner Studios earlier this month, The Observer caught up with Voice of the City Lena Dunham, who had just moved production for the second season of her feverish hit Girls to the studio in Brooklyn. Gretchen Mol of Boardwalk Empire was up on stage, looking radiant beside the mayor and Doug Steiner, but Ms. Dunham hid in the back of the sound stage.
It was actually her first day at the studios, she said, but her experience helps underscore why the city needs more and bigger studios if it is going to continue to grow its film and television industry. (Also, there wasn’t room in our profile of Doug Steiner for Ms. Dunham, but we figure giving her her own post should drive some good Google hits to Observer.com, what with the ultra-buzz humming around Girls at the moment.)
“I’m very excited to be here,” Ms. Dunham told The Observer of her arrival at Steiner Studios. “I love the Navy Yards, it’s such a cool, historic place.” Somehow we could not help but think of that scene from Tiny Furniture where she has sex with the chef inside a giant pipe somewhere in nearby Dumbo.
on the waterfront
“People said we were crazy to build in Brooklyn, no one would ever come to Brooklyn,” Doug Steiner said from the rooftop terrace of his biggest development in the borough. The Jersey-born builder was wearing his usual polo shirt and jeans, comfortable in the unseasonably warm weather in late February, the sun glinting off his clean-shaven head. “In those days, there were wild dogs running in the streets,” Mr. Steiner added for effect.
“But look at these views,” he continued, pointing out across Wallabout Bay and the span of the East River beyond. “You’ve got the gritty industrial underbelly of the city in the foreground, the financial capital of the world in the background.” One World Trade Center and the Empire State Building bookended the panorama.
It was 1999 when Doug Steiner brought the family development business to Brooklyn. As he and so many other fortune seekers have since proved, the decision was anything but crazy. But it was not condos or artists lofts that Mr. Steiner was selling. He was in pictures.
Two weeks ago, with the mayor standing just in front of him at the podium, Mr. Steiner opened five new sound stages at his eponymous Steiner Studios inside the sprawling Brooklyn Navy Yards, bringing the total to 15. That is halfway to the ultimate goal of 32 and, at 50 acres, the largest American film production facilities outside of Hollywood—behind Warner Brothers and Paramount, and rivaling the Walt Disney and CBS backlots.
It took a half-dozen years to come to an agreement on Admiral’s Row, the stretch of Federal Style 19th Century buildings bordering the Brooklyn Navy Yards. There was constant fighting over how many of the historic buildings to save when transforming the site for a new grocery store.
Earlier this year, An Admiral’s Row Read More
July 22 will mark the latest public showdown over the fate of the Navy Yard’s Admirals Row — the string of old mansions along Brooklyn’s Flushing Avenue that has pitted preservationists who extol the homes’ dilapidated grandeur against the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation and residents of the Farragut Houses, who support a plan to Read More
It turns out, there still is a boatyard at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. You just have to go there to find it.
Pamela Talese, who painted the above painting and 19 others of the Brooklyn Navy Yard now up at the Atlantic Gallery, started going there because she was being hassled wherever Read More