Permits Filed: 265 Van Brunt Street

265 Van Brunt Street265 Van Brunt Street -- image via Google Maps

The first permits are up for a new residential development at 265 Van Brunt Street, in Red Hook. The DOB filings — which come with a notice at the bottom that they are ‘for zoning review only’ — were submitted on behalf of Cheever Development, and OCV Architects is designing the project.

265 Van Brunt Street has a storied recent history, which begs the question of whether local NIMBYs will seek to preserve the current one-story garage on site; it served as a heroin mill as recently as 2011.

Clearly, the garage’s redevelopment will be beneficial to the neighborhood, and permits indicate the development’s total scope will measure 18,327 square feet, with the entirety of the new building to be dedicated to residential space. 265 Van Brunt Street — which also has an address of 102 Visitation Place — will have 19 units in total, spanning three floors.

Other than a fling with illegal activities, the existing structure has no notable attributes, though the surrounding neighborhood is certainly of interest; unfortunately, it was devastated during Hurricane Sandy, when it became part of New York Harbor. Per The New York Times flood map, the entire block was submerged, with the surge rising up to six feet above street level.

NY Times Flood Map, 265 Van Brunt Street

Flooding at 265 Van Brunt Street, outlined in dark blue; map via the New York Times

Indeed, with regards to surrounding buildings, “garden-level apartments [were] depopulated, and even the ones that have been cleared of mud and sodden belongings [reeked] dankly of mold.”

The design of 265 Van Brunt Street will have to take flood-mitigation measures into account, given the location’s extreme vulnerability to storm surge events. Nevertheless, the resurgence in Red Hook is promising, and hopefully Cheever’s development signals a larger push for new, storm-resistant housing.

With regards to the above, the planned three-story height of 265 Van Brunt may be unwise, given the entire first level will be prone to flooding; the city has been negligent in establishing new zoning standards for neighborhoods impacted by Sandy, where additional height to avoid future flooding should be highly encouraged. It is impossible to move a flood zone, but designing buildings that can withstand future events with minimal impacts should be a top priority.

No completion date for 265 Van Brunt has been announced, but demolition permits for the existing garage were filed on the 17th, so progress is evidently imminent.

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