Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The "New "(ish) 360 Smith Street

At last we know what's going to get built here (well sort of, except for the back of the building that is)...Pardon Me for Asking is calling it: "The New 360 Smith Street: better, Except for That Glass Tower!"

Is that a fair assessment? See for yourselves below. Remember Hannah Senesh is already 50 feet high, so the height figure of 70 feet that Mr Stein is quoting for the "tallest part" of his "Oliver House" (aka "360 Smith Street" aka "Heavy Metal") is very misleading! And remember that Smith Street itself is narrow, as is Second Place, as is Second street, and that this building will abut the sidewalk on the Smith Street side, creating a large vertical barrier that will forever change the street scapes of all the surrounding blocks, especially Second Street, which will face this facade directly (head on) and lose all kinds of sunlight, neighborhood vistas, sky, etc.

Mot to mention the shadows it will cast. Remember, too, that Mr. Stein brought NO pictures of the rear of this building i.e. the important side that will face all the existing backyards on Second Place and First Place, and perhaps with very good reason...they may have truly upset some people in the audience!

So we like to think that yes, developer Mr. Stein, was gracious enough to come to a public meeting and to discuss his building with the community. We know he was "as of right" from the beginning, and he did not necessarily have to do this. On the other hand, we have pointed out to him repeatedly, that he is, in fact, our "new neighbor", and of course it behooves us both to have some kind of civil, working relationship.

But we must also remember he is only willing to compromise certain aspects of this project, and his "bottom line" remains unchanged. (No surprise). The height/bulk/mass/density that we have been taking strong issue with for months are still hugely problematic. What is improved is the exterior treatment of the former "Heavy Metal" building.......the "skin" of the building is quite improved. And we are thankful that Mr. Stein has been willing to compromise in that area.

We agree with Pardon Me for Asking that the glass tower is still an eyesore and too tall. Many people in the audience agreed with this point and pointed out the corner would be much improved by bringing down its height! (That word again). In the final analysis, this building is hardly "contextual" for Brownstone, low-rise Carroll Gardens, except for the new, exterior materials.

And no one last evening mentioned the impact of the increased density on that block. 49 units are now being planned. The former number was 42-44. So what about that, and what about the infrastructure and safety concerns we have been mentioning all along? The jury is still out on these critical issues.

And without immediate changes to our laws here in Carroll Gardens, the saga of 360 Smith street is bound and determined to repeat itself and will soon be coming to a block NEAR YOU!
Please join us in our fight to preserve our beloved neighborhood!

It takes an entire neighborhood to save a neighborhood.



With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........