07/08/13 2:39pm

Prospect Street

(55 Prospect Street on the near left, 117 Adams Street on the near right, 81 Prospect Street on the far left, 77 Sands Street on the far right)

Real estate investment firm RFR and Kushner Companies today announced that they have entered into a contract to acquire six properties in Brooklyn from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society for $375 million. According to the press release (July 8, 2013), Jared Kushner (of Kushner Companies), Aby Rosen (of RFR), and Asher Abehsera (a former Two Trees Management Company executive) teamed up to purchase the portfolio of buildings which total 1.2 million square feet of commercial space. The buildings include:

  • 117 Adams Street
  • 175 Pearl Street
  • 55 Prospect Street
  • 81 Prospect Street
  • 77 Sands Street
  • 90 Sands Street

These buildings are included as part of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle master plan and could be key buildings in the development of the plan for creating appropriate commercial space and connectors between Dumbo, Navy Yards, and Downtown Brooklyn.

90 Sands Street is a 30 story, 500+ room residential building will be turned over vacant at closing in September, according to a NY Post story.

According to the Post, the Jehovah’s Witnesses moved their headquarters to Brooklyn in 1909. As part of their plans to move to Warwick, NY, they have been selling off a 34-building portfolio, including lots in Dumbo at 173 and 177 Front Street as well as 200 Water Street in April 2013.

175 Pearl Street

(175 Pearl Street)

Full moon over 90 sands
(90 Sands Street, Photo by a.pitch)

{The Watchtower Moving Some Operations from Brooklyn, 26Mar2009}
{Watchtower Properties in Dumbo?, 29Sept2011}
{Jehovah’s Witness Buildings Could Offset Brooklyn Bridge Park Costs, 08Oct2010}

02/15/08 2:35pm

Brooklyn Tow Pound

So your car got towed in Dumbo? I realize that this may not apply to a lot of people in Dumbo, a neighborhood that’s promoting environmental responsibility and green-ness, but I’ve received enough emails about towed cars and where to go that I’ll post a recent experience. I have a car, but only drive on weekends, so I park on the street. I’ve never had any problems finding parking but occasionally I forget to move the car on no parking days.

For the first time, my car was towed last week, and found that all cars towed in Brooklyn go to the Brooklyn Tow Pound in Vinegar Hill on the corner of Sands and Navy Street (thank god it’s so close!). It’s a 10 minute walk from Dumbo. You’ll need any outstanding tickets paid before you can redeem your car. Bring your registration and current insurance card. If it’s in your car, they will allow you to get it. Once you get to the pound, (go early when there’s no line), pay your tow fee ($185 plus $20 per day) and you’re on your way. It was much easier than I had anticipated. I just have to remember to move the car next time. Anyone have other experiences to share?

Brooklyn Navy Yard; corner of Sands St. & Navy St.
Tel: 718-694-0696
Mon-Fri 8am-9pm; Sat 8am-4pm; Sun 12pm-8pm

[UPDATE: 23-Feb-2009; a reader informed us that the pound was closed on Sunday, despite what the NYC website states. Call the location before you make the trip out.]

{How to Redeem Your Towed Vehicle, nyc.gov}
{Towed Vehicles, nyc.gov}

08/28/07 10:46am

167 Sands Street

This 7 story (plus basement) “China Mansion”, as it states in Chinese characters on the top of this building at 167 Sands Street, was the original location for the Brooklyn Navy YMCA. It was the headquarters for sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen for nearby Brooklyn Navy Yards. The building, built in 1901 and completed in 1902, was a “gift of Miss Helen Miller Gould (Mrs. Finley J. Shepard) and Mrs. Russell Sage to the men of the Navy.” The building has great Navy-related details and looks like a solid structure.

According to property records, this co-op building has 120 residential units, and is owned by Chung Hwa Tenant Corp. There aren’t too many sale records, but Property Shark has two co-op sales during 2007:
  1) 5/30/07 $100,000, unit 114b
  2) 3/6/07 $155,000, unit 118

Looks like most or all occupants are of Chinese decent. Anyone else know more about this building?

{Property Shark: 167 Sands St.}
{nyc.gov BIS: 167 Sands St.}
{Google Map: 167 Sands St.}

08/07/06 7:26pm

Image courtesy NY Times

Sweat darkened the brim of Nicholas Evans-Cato’s straw hat last week as he brushed oil paint onto a six-foot-wide canvas, all the while perched on the tar-paper roof of an old factory building in Dumbo, Brooklyn. It was scorching hot up there, but Mr. Evans-Cato had no time to waste.

In front of him was a half-finished painting of the Brooklyn waterfront, a panorama that includes the Williamsburg Bridge, several new condominium buildings and a quintet of towering brick smokestacks from the Consolidated Edison Hudson Avenue Generating Station on the edge of Vinegar Hill. The problem for Mr. Evans-Cato, who has been working on the painting for more than two months, is that the view is about to change.

In the next week or so, said the plant’s manager, Gus Sanoulis, workers will begin dismantling three of the five stacks. Only two are needed now because the plant is using fewer boilers to generate steam. The job will take about four months but will begin to alter the view immediately.

“I guess all I can say is I’m trying to paint better, faster,” said Mr. Evans-Cato, 33. “It’s a matter of not second-guessing myself as often as I usually would.

“They’re like musical notes on a staff,” he said of the 350-foot-tall stacks, erected three-quarters of a century ago. “If I lose them it disrupts the whole composition.”

Pointing to the canvas, he explained: “I’m using these stacks to tell me about these windows. The dark of these lines against the sky helps me calibrate the other darks. When they’re gone, there will be that much less to define the arc of the sky.”

The smokestacks Mr. Evans-Cato values have long been regarded as difficult neighbors by many who lived near them.

Don Condrill, 84, who grew up on the corner of Sands and Navy Streets, near the Brooklyn Navy Yard, remembered how neighborhood women used to scramble to take their laundry off the lines when the stacks were venting black dust.

“They’d yell out, ‘Soot’s coming down! Soot’s coming down!’ ” Mr. Condrill, who now lives in Centreville, Va., and is a friend of Mr. Evans-Cato’s, said by phone. “They wouldn’t have any sentimentality about losing those stacks.”

Mr. Evans-Cato, who said change had always been a part of New York, isn’t out to save the smokestacks. But he has a show in October and had expected to work on his Dumbo painting until then.

“I’d never want to stop the clock,” he said. “It’d just be nice if I could slow it down just a little bit.”

{Now You Paint ’Em, Now You Don’t, NY Times}