Back in 2009, photographer Nathan Kensinger visited a neighborhood along the Brooklyn-Queens border that locals call “The Hole.” The small, neglected triangle between East New York, Howard Beach, and Lindenwood sits 30 feet below grade and only a few feet above the water table, and its abandoned development sites have become reputed dumping grounds for Mafia hitmen.
But new development is finally is finally coming to the area just south of The Hole. A new building application was filed to erect a four-story apartment building at 149-27 78th Street, on a large collection of vacant lots bordered by Loring Avenue, 78th (or Sapphire) Street, 79th Street, and Stanley Avenue.
The 35-foot-tall building would have 46 apartments divided across 41,775 square feet of residential space, for average units measuring just over 900 square feet. The first three floors would host 12 units each, topped with 10 units on the fourth floor. The property must have a fairly dramatic drop, because the permits call for apartments in the “basement,” which the building code typically doesn’t allow.
The project would also include 30 parking spots. The area is essentially zoned for low-rise suburban development, and the R4 zoning requires parking for two-thirds of the apartments in a multi-family building.
The group of seven vacant lots spans nearly 31,000 square feet, and none of them have changed hands since 2008. The developer is Zannis Angelidakis, of Whitestone-based Kiva Homes LLC, and Platonic Solids Architecture will handle the design.
Just north of the development site, the street dips several feet, sidewalks disappear, and pools of water fill the street, because the neighborhood doesn’t have a sewer system. We hope that more new development in the area means that the city will finally consider upgrading its substandard infrastructure.
As Gothamist’s Lauren Evans noted last month, “Sewer systems rely on gravity to function, so until the Hole is raised to sea level, it’s going to remain as it is – which is to say, partially submerged in dirt water.” DEP told the blog that they’re looking to extend the sewer system into the relatively remote neighborhood, but it “isn’t on the priority list.”