Development plans and preliminary renderings are now public for a 23-story commercial tower at 500 Kent Avenue on the South Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn, following submission to the Department of City Planning.
If approved, the building would top out at 350 feet tall, not including mechanical bulkheads. The structure would span over 757,400 square feet, which includes office space, retail, and a 308-vehicle underground parking garage. The 2.65-acre development development would also provide 37,233 square feet of waterfront public space along Wallabout Channel, a narrow inlet that feeds into the East River.
Individual components include 593,435 square feet of office space and 20,476 square feet of retail. The underground parking garage would comprise 143,520 square feet.
Before the development can break ground, city agencies and community leaders will need to review and respond to current proposals, which require major zoning amendments. This includes special waterfront zoning permits to ease maximum building height, maximum base height, setback distance requirements, and the amount of allowable perimeter wall facing the shoreline. Additional zoning amendments are needed to facilitate the construction of the sub-grade parking garage.
500 Kent Avenue was formerly occupied by power generating plants from the late 19th to early 21st centuries. In 1959, Con Edison acquired the property from the City of New York and continued to operate the power plant until shuttering it in 1999, then demolished the plant buildings in 2009. Con Edison performed an environmental remediation on the land beneath the building in 2014 and the land has since remained undeveloped.
In 2019, JLL Capital Markets experts successfully sold the property on behalf of Con Edison for $50 million to the current owner, Kent Member LLC. It is unclear which entity is represented by the anonymous LLC.
While the project will not immediately displace any residents, a significant number of employees, or any public facilities, The Department of City planning has found that the project would still have a significant adverse impact on the surrounding environment. Those details were shared in a lengthy Environmental Assessment Statement dated February 17, 2021.
The basis of those findings could be related to the legacy of the development site, which was historically used by heavy manufacturing and industrial industries. Despite Con Edison’s environmental remediation efforts, it is possible that the on-site soil contains hazardous materials or contaminants that could leech even further into Wallabout Channel.
To determine these variables, the developer will need to submit an Environmental Impact Statement for further public review. If all goes well, the developer anticipates completion by 2024.