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Fancy Soap Shop Rain to Open in City Point for Your Self-Care Needs

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Photo: Rainafrica.com

Soon you’ll be able to get all the artisanal soaps your heart desires at City Point. Rain, an au naturale soap, skincare, and fragrance company is opening up their first Brooklyn storefront in July.

The bougie self-care brand is known for incorporating sustainably harvested African botanicals into their luxury bath bombs and body scrubs. Makes sense since Rain originally began in South Africa and is recognized for their Fair Trade practices in Africa and Europe. They currently have one other NYC location in Rockefeller Center.

Lined with Gold: Street Name Change to Honor Founding Black Female Civil Rights Activist

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Ida Wells portrait

Gold Street, between Myrtle Avenue and Willoughby Street in Downtown Brooklyn, may soon be renamed to honor Ida B. Wells, an African-American investigative journalist, teacher, feminist, and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement. Wells spent several years on Gold Street in the early 1890s (living near today’s existing Chase Bank), after her Memphis journalism offices were destroyed by white mob violence.

Born into slavery in 1862 Mississippi, Wells became freed a year later after the Civil War and resulting emancipation. Relocating to Memphis later as an adult, she would become one of the founders of the NAACP, and is most remembered for her investigative journalism, dispelling stereotypical myths around the lynchings of black men. Wells’ writing exposed her findings that the lynchings were the result of white social control and subjugation, and not the common claims of attack or sexual violence against white women.

Jacob Morris, the head of the Harlem Historical Society, conceived the idea for Gold Street to bear Wells’ name as a part of his citywide effort to honor prominent black New Yorkers by renaming streets after them. Councilman Stephen Levin introduced the application to rename the street to Community Board 2’s Transportation Committee which granted approval in April. The Executive Committee will vote to make a final decision later this year.

Map of Gold Street to be renamed

Dépanneur to Open This Summer

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Sandwich from Dépanneur
Dépanneur is known for their savory weekly special sandwiches. Photo via Instagram.com/depanneurbklyn/

There’s been some activity at 300 Livingston Street. The French general store has begun building out their newest location (part of the retail component of 33 Bond Street). Calling themselves “a better bodega,” Dépanneur will be a welcomed addition to the Downtown Brooklyn lunch circuit. They’ve gained popularity in Williamsburg (their first location) and Clinton Hill with unique weekly sandwich specials that they announce on social media.

According to Winick Realty Group, Dépanneur signed two leases for two separate ground-floor spaces so they’ll have a rather spacious general store component as well to pick up bougie local pantry goods.

So how soon can you expect to bite into a mouth-watering baguette sandwich? Well, a quick call to the shop confirmed it will be mid-summer at the earliest before their doors are open. It’s back to salads till then.

Retail rent prices are soaring in Downtown Brooklyn

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Fulton Mall mural at Albee Square

From The Raw Deal, regarding retail rents going up up up in Brooklyn:

Downtown Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall from Boerum Place to Flatbush Avenue remained the most expensive strip with average asking rent of $359 per square foot, up 10 percent from a year earlier.

I doubt anyone is surprised. With the sheer number of chain stores in our zip code, how could the rent not be that ridiculous? Not that I was expecting any mom-and-pop stores in the neighborhood.

Speaking of high rents, has anyone else noticed that nearly this entire block is full of shuttered stores?

Shuttered stores on Fulton Mall

I wonder if the owner(s) are trying to plan some big construction project for this space. Seems crazy to just keep all those retail locations empty, when they’re worth so much.

New Hotel beginning to rise at 61 Bond

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Construction at 61 Bond

There’s some intense construction happening at Schermerhorn and Bond, right across the street from the upcoming Chelsea Piers Fitness. No, it’s not more luxury apartments. This time, it’s a fancy new hotel.

I mean, look how fancy:

61 Bond Hotel Rendering

Image via Broadway CG

According to Broadway Construction Group, the hotel is going to be 13 stories (spooky) with 287 rooms and a restaurant. It’s estimated for completion in Q4 of this year, so it’s no wonder it’s going up so fast.

No word yet if it will have a pool. The existing Holiday Inn a few doors down has one, but it’s next to impossible to get access unless you’re actually staying at the hotel. We even tried to give them money. No dice.

Anyway, I guess we’re getting a new hotel for all your out-of-town guests. In case they weren’t happy with the existing selection of hotels.

More construction pictures at 61 Bond

Even more construction pictures at 61 Bond

Chelsea Piers Fitness coming to Downtown Brooklyn

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Chelsea Piers Fitness future storefront

We’re getting a fancy gym. Chelsea Piers Fitness is coming to Downtown Brooklyn. The “showroom” is now open for new members. I heard through the rumor mill that “founding member” prices are about $150 per month, and that price will go up once the gym actually opens. That puts this gym in roughly the same category as Crunch, Equinox, or (RIP) David Barton.

The place sounds pretty sweet. Aside from all the regular workout equipment, there’s a A 3-lane, 75-foot pool, two areas for CrossFit-like HIIT training, steam and sauna, and even a “co-working space,” whatever that turns out to be.

From what I hear, the original Chelsea Piers is pretty popular, and this is their first outpost of the brand. If high-end fitness is your thing, it’ll be worth checking out.

If you don’t want to pay that much, there’s always Planet Fitness around the corner.

The new gym is going to be at 265 Schermerhorn Street (between Bond and Nevins), but the “showroom” for interested members is at 442 Atlantic Avenue.

Community Board votes against development of imposing 80 Flatbush tower

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80 Flatbush mockup

Image via 80 Flatbush

The community has spoken. Well, the Brooklyn Community Board 2’s Land-Use Committee has spoken at least. And they’ve voted against the giant construction project at 80 Flatbush Ave at a meeting held Wednesday.

Unlike other, approved development projects in Downtown Brooklyn, the planned tower at 80 Flatbush met a wave of backlash from the community. A group called Block 80 Flatbush Towers formed to fight against the construction project. They’ve been vocal online, as well as covered the neighborhood with their message. With this vote, it appears as if their vote has been heard.

It’s not over yet, however. The next public hearing will be on April 30th, and the full Community Board 2’s vote will be at their next scheduled meeting on May 9th.

Unlike Downtown Brooklyn, which was re-zoned in 2004, the location of 80 Flatbush (between Flatbush Avenue, State Street, 3rd Avenue, and Schermerhorn Street) Beorum Hill, and isn’t zoned for such tall buildings. That means the developer, Alloy Development, needs to have the zoning changed to continue with this planned 986 foot tower.

Community members are having none of it, though. If voting continues this trend, Alloy Development will need to come up with a new plan for the space.

 

Construction on 9 Dekalb Ave tower seemingly at a standstill

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9 Dekalb Ave Construction

Construction appears to be at a standstill at 9 Dekalb Ave, the giant skyscraper coming to Downtown Brooklyn that will be twice as tall as any current building in the neighborhood.

The image is an aerial view of the construction site, with the old Dime Savings Bank in the lower right-hand corner of the image. Construction crews were hard at work removing floors of the attached building last summer/fall, but it seems like no progress has been made since then.

I assume the next step will be pile-driving. Which, if my experience living in Carroll Gardens during the early construction of 365 Bond is any indicator, will be neighborhood-shaking.

Does anyone know what’s the hold-up? As much as I dislike the building design, I am excited for more of these giant construction projects to be done.

9 Dekalb Ave mockupImage via CityRealty

A Macy’s Parking Garage No More, Ready for 11 Hoyt

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11 Hoyt Construction Site

It can be hard to see from the street, but Macy’s old parking garage is no longer a parking garage. The first step in constructing the next skyscraper being added to Downtown Brooklyn’s skyline, at 11 Hoyt. I shot this photo from our roof on April 14th, 2018, so everyone could get a look at the current progress.

You can click through to the 11 Hoyt website, to see renderings of the new building. New York Yimby has even more. Not too bad, IMO. Definitely not as utterly terrifying as the monstrosity coming to 9 Dekalb Ave.

I don’t think the 11 Hoyt website has been updated in a while, because it still says “anticipated launch summer 2018.” Although, who knows what “launch” refers to. Maybe that’s when they’ll start selling units? Apartments at Brooklyn Point, the third City Point tower that’s currently under construction, went on sale a few weeks ago.

Units in 11 Hoyt will apparently start at $600k and go up to $4M, competing directly with Brooklyn Point. But have you seen the renderings of Brooklyn Point’s amenities? That rooftop pool…rock climbing wall…children’s playroom…those are going to be hard to beat. Yimby says that 11 Hoyt will also “include a pool, squash court, game room, children’s area, and an exercise room.” We’ll have to wait and see how the renderings stack up.

What do you think of these two upcoming additions to the Downtown Brooklyn skyline?

Construction near future(?) Willoughby Square Park

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Construction near Willoughby Square Park

It came out last week that the promised park-above-a-parking-garage might not be going as planned.

Back in 2004, when this neighborhood was first rezoned (prompting the building frenzy that’s happening now), the city promised a one-acre public park right across from the new City Point structure. The city even approved tearing down rent stabilized buildings to make way for this new park slash parking garage.

But the construction company that won the bid (back in 2013) to complete the project couldn’t seem to get funding. So they just tore down the existing buildings…and here we are today.

You can see the edge of the perfectly cleared lot in the top right of the above picture. It’s just waiting for a park.

The construction pictured above is for…what? I don’t know. Is that supposed to be part of the park as well? Is it some new structure? Whatever it is, it’s actively being worked on.

If anyone knows anything, let us know.