Yet another hole in the Bushwick landscape will be filled by new residential construction. Developer Louis Handler, doing business as Willtrout Realty, is planning a five-story apartment project at 963 Willoughby Avenue, on an abandoned lot near the elevated M train tracks on Myrtle Avenue.
Karl Fischer will design the 63-unit building, which will have just over 43,000 square feet of residential space. The average apartment will clock in at about 683 square feet, meaning that rentals are likely. Each floor will host 10 to 14 apartments, and 1,600 square feet of amenities will occupy the two cellar levels. There will be another 1,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor recreation space on the first floor, along with 32 off-street parking spots.
In this part of Bushwick, the city’s onerous zoning code forces developers to build parking for half the number of apartments in a new development, even though the J, M and Z trains are about 10 minutes away at Myrtle-Broadway.
The new building will take up half of the 19,600-square-foot plot. The huge vacant property last changed hands as part of an assemblage that included several neighboring lots on Charles Place and Troutman Street. Willtrout Realty paid $5,000,000 in 2011 for the 10 properties.
The developer tried to build two little three-story apartment buildings on the the side of the lot that fronts Charles Place—a short, dead end street that extends from the corner of Willoughby and Myrtle Avenues—but plans were ultimately disapproved.
This part of Bushwick, near the Myrtle-Broadway stop and the elevated train lines, has become a hotbed for most of the neighborhood’s new construction. The arson wave of the ’60s and ’70s hit this area particularly hard, and small infill projects that range from townhouses to small apartment buildings have begun to revitalize many half-empty blocks.