Neighborhoods like Midwood and Sheepshead Bay are a largely untapped market for commercial development. But developers are starting to realize that there’s growing demand for new office space in heavily trafficked shopping corridors near the subway, even in southern Brooklyn.
One property owner near the northern border of Sheepshead Bay took the plunge in 2014 and decided to demolish a few two-story commercial buildings at 1601 Kings Highway. Then he filed plans for a five-story office and retail project on the site, which occupies most of the block between East 16th and East 17th streets.
The 68,000-square-foot building will have retail on the first two floors and office space on the next three floors.
Ten businesses moved out of the little commercial buildings before they were demolished. It’s encouraging to see new retail taking their place, even if the building won’t exactly fit in with the surrounding neighborhood.
Chelsea-based Murdock Solon Architects designed huge, almost floor-to-ceiling windows for the retail floors. The office floors will be clad in precast concrete and white masonry panels, and they’re setback from the retail portion in an attempt to maintain the streetwall. Most of the hood is populated by two-story brick and concrete buildings, and back in 2014, neighbors told Brooklyn Daily that the project looked out of context.
The development will also have a 25-car garage in the cellar, but the local community board thought that simply wouldn’t be enough parking to accommodate all the new shoppers and office workers who would drive to the building. The parking probably won’t be a major issue, because the Kings Highway stop on the B and Q trains is only steps away.
The owner is Walter Schik, doing business as Lake Realty Management. Schik fled Austria during World War II and founded Bentley Cravats, a tie manufacturing company, in Chelsea. His corporation, Kingsway Realty, has owned the 17,000-square-foot lot since 1973, according to public records.
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