Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Movies, Food on 15th - no new luxury units at one end, a zillion at the other

The New York Times announces incoming food and entertainment venues at opposite ends of 15th Street.

Condos out, & Nitehawk in. A full-sized movie theater will remain in place at PPW, with Williamsburg-based Nitehawk taking over the space of the beleaguered Pavilion Theater.  The second Nitehawk, which will offer seven screens and its standard in-theater dining, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017.  Nighthawk founder Matthew Viragh, along with a team of investors, purchased the building for $28M..

This will be the first expansion for team Nitehawk, which opened the popular dine-in boutique cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2011. In an era of megabudget superhero flicks and ever-better television, Nitehawk thrived, proving that if you build a three-screen artisanal movie house in a hipster-rich neighborhood and serve burrata, kale salad and cocktails tableside, they will come. (NY Times)

Despite a 2015 Landmarks approval of a six-story condo conversion, the plans for which were modified after anxious community input, the residential conversion has now been completely scrapped. According to the Times, former owner Steven J. Hidary resists the notion that market concerns influenced his decision to sell:

Brooklyn’s residential building boom has led to concerns about market oversaturation, but Mr. Hidary said that the company’s decision was not affected by a softening real estate market, because Hidrock bought relatively low and just two dozen units would be built on a prime site. Condos might have even made them more money, but “we had to decide, do we build condos or do we save Brooklyn?” said Mr. Hidary, who is from Midwood. “So we saved Brooklyn.”

It's heartening to learn of this heroic gesture.  Nitehawk founder Matthew Firagh is similarly attached to serving borough residents."That's in our DNA to cater to this area," Firagh claims.

Though the Times announced the story in this morning's paper, local Council Member Brad Lander broke the news to constituents yesterday, calling it "a victory for community activism and partnership," and the Nitehawk "one of the best theater operators in NYC."  Lander also promised that the Park Slope Nitehawk will be "even-more family-friendly."  We hope that this means a more moderate range of theater concessions.  While six-dollar soft-serve, seven-dollar donuts, eight-dollar chocolate bars, and nine-dollar jerky might satisfy Williamsburgers, it's a tad pricey for the average movie-goer, and even, perhaps, for some cinema fans in Park Slope.

We're delighted that a full-sized movie theater remains in place, and happy for nearby residents, who were "terrified’ by the idea of the"(24) "new condos being the first thing people see when they come out of the subway at 15th Street,”  but are rather disappointed that in Lander's email to constituents, he associates the kind of "smart planning and preservation" work involved with the theater's preservation and the latest Park Slope land-marking expansion with Bridging Gowanus rezoning planning.  The issues in Gowanus are far more complex and the potential for change (for good or for bad) far more drastic.  Rezoning in the area hasn't worked too well thus far, and some residents are rightly leery about the extent to which their views will be represented by their local politicians when decisions are made. They feel they've already been burned. They live, for example, with the failed rezoning legacy of Fourth Avenue (thousands of luxury units here) - the effects of which have clearly influenced a demographic shift in a once Latino-dominant community - and more recently, rezoning that permitted luxury, flood-zone rentals on the banks of a polluted canal. What comes next?

Talking of Fourth ... Higher-end dining is making its way south down Fourth Avenue, with the restaurant & retail A&E Supply Company coming in soon at 548.  A & E will be run by Danny Meyer alumni, who promise morning coffee, local pastries, a butcher and cheese counter and seasonal restaurant dishes, along with local beers, "crushable" cocktails and a "thoughtful" wine list. Chef Adam Harvey, "a native New Yorker, with the NY skyline tattoo across his chest to prove it," has worked at a number of high profile restaurants, including Bouley, Union Square Cafe & the North End Grill.
Residents will recognize Fourth and 15th as a development epicenter. with a Slate/Adam America 12-story retail building planned at the SE corner, a stalled Slate construction site at the NE corner, and a Brookland Capital condo building planned for the SW corner.  548, at the NW corner, was completed a couple of years ago.  Its Ideal Properties listing still (sort of) entertains:

548 4th, the most eagerly anticipated rentals from your favorite local developer passionately committed to sustainable building practices... are finally here. . ..Reaching higher by several stories than its neighbors, 548 4th has made a wonderful bedfellow of that glorious, brilliant ball in the sky. A calm dawn will accentuate breathtaking panoramas of the Brooklyn Manhattan skylines reflected of the surface of the East River and Brooklyn Harbor. One struggles to adequately describe the sunsets with just words in a gorgeous living environment where polarized shades are a must. ...Amenity packed and stress-free Brooklyn living with a rock-star worthy view.  Come and see for yourself how moonlight plays off of the new Freedom Tower and make 584 Fourth Ave, Park Slope Brooklyn your new home.

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