Williamsburg’s trendy Northside is jam-packed with some of the most unattractive structures of any close-in New York City neighborhood, with the simple-but-handsome faces of the area’s 19th century wood-frame homes disfigured decades ago by tacky vinyl paneling. With skyrocketing demand and little left of the old façades, the logical thing to do would be to upzone the Northside’s old low-rise residential neighborhoods, to make way for denser structures that would – hopefully – sop up some of the demand that is now bidding up prices farther afield, in East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and beyond.
But with anti-development attitudes running rampant in nothern Brooklyn and a misplaced nostalgia for the old homes, that isn’t likely to happen any time soon. The Department of City Planning’s strategy with Williamsburg during the Bloomberg administration, for example, was to upzone the old industrial areas, while downzoning the wood-frame neighborhoods, freezing the aging building stock as it was a century ago, when demand for living in Williamsburg was a fraction of what it is today.
There are, however, some exceptions, as with 27 Havemeyer Street (also known as No. 29) – a three-family, vinyl-faced walkup that, by virtue of its proximity to the former industrial area around the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, is zoned for a density that can support redevelopment.
According to a new building permit application filed on Friday, developer Ami Barr is planning to raze the existing structure, which takes up about half the 46-foot-wide lot, and replace it with a six-story, eight-unit apartment building. The project would have 7,322 square feet of residential space, with units of varying sizes, including two duplexes.
Elmhurst-based Infocus is listed on the permit as the architect, and the practice has designed a few simple but elegant buildings in Williamsburg before.
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