Revealed: 285 Schermerhorn Street, Downtown Brooklyn

285 Schermerhorn Street, rendering via Heights Advisors285 Schermerhorn Street, rendering via Heights Advisors

In October, YIMBY brought you word of a permit filing for a residential project at 285 Schermerhorn Street, currently the home of Brooklyn Community Services’s seven-story downtown Brooklyn office building. The filing called for doubling the structure’s size, to 14 stories and 140 feet, and hinted that the old structure would be retained.

Now, YIMBY has come across a rendering of the project – developed by Second Development Services and Heights Advisors, with some apparent involvement by Brooklyn Community Services – which is currently wending its way through the Department of Buildings.

The rendering depicts the old structure (which dates back to 1926, if city records are to be believed) renovated and topped with a modern addition, with floor-to-ceiling windows on the first and part of the second new floors, and a white surface around the windows for the rest of the façade. GF55 Partners is listed as the architect on the permit application.

The permit filing calls for 106 apartments spread over a bit more than 84,000 square feet of residential space (plus a 6,600-square foot retail space at the base), whose 800-square-foot average unit size we said suggested rentals. The unsightly PTAC units shown below the windows in the rendering confirm our suspicions than the apartments will be rentals. (The unfortunate design decision to include PTACs is almost never  to be made anywhere else in the country – or world – but nearly all rental builders in the five boroughs use the inefficient air conditioning units, for reasons that continue to confound us and grate on our eyes.)

While the developers did not return our request for comment, we believe the developers may be planning to set aside 20 percent of the apartments to be let at below-market rates, since the new building permit application does not mention any parking – something only allowed when affordable housing is included.

The new building would sit right next to 33 Bond Street, a much larger project by TF Cornerstone, who secured a $250 million mortgage from the New York State Housing Finance Agency for the 80/20 project earlier this month (the building would replace a parking garage, peaking out of the left-hand side of 285 Schermerhorn’s rendering). TF Cornerstone, however, is making the very welcome decision to build the rental project with a form of air conditioning more civilized than the usual façade-marring PTACs.

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