Caton’s condo corridor is coming together.
Residents gathered at International Baptist Church on Wednesday for updates on several construction projects underway in "Stable Brooklyn," a once quiet neighborhood encased by Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue that is now the site of two sizeable housing developements—22 and 23 Caton Place—and P.S./I.S. 437, a five-story K-8 school currently under construction between E.7th and E.8th streets at Caton Avenue.
Here’s the breakdown of what we learned:
22 Caton Place:
22 Caton Pl. is currently home to a barren dirt lot, but it won’t stay that way for long. The Hudson Companies initially purchased the site in 2011 with the intention of building affordable housing, though ultimately, negotiations fell through due to lack of financial support.
Instead, the planned 73-unit, 7-story structure will become market-rate housing, complete with underground parking (enough for 50 percent of the building's residents), a part-time door man, bike parking, a gym, a kid's play room, a landscaped backyard and rooftop terrace, complete with its own garden. The building will be LEED Silver certified, and possibly LEED Gold.
According to Hudson Companies Vice President Alison Novak, workers will be conducting a pre-construction survey in February and March, and will break ground by the beginning of April.
Construction will initially consist of “quite a bit of digging” in order to make way for the below-ground parking, Novak said. After the site is excavated, a concrete foundation will be poured.
Luckily for residents, Novak said the lot requires no pile driving—generally considered the most disruptive part of the construction process.
Once ground is broken, the project should be completed in 18 to 20 months.
“Everyone understands that we’re coming into your neighborhood, and we want to be good neighbors,” Novak assured the crowd.
While Novak acknowledged that the development would suck up “more than our fair share of parking" during construction, residents were relieved to hear that ultimately, only two street parking spaces would be sacrificed once the building is complete, to make way for the driveway leading to the parking garage.
Anyone who lives in the neighborhood knows that construction on P.S/I.S 437 is well underway. According to Michael Gonzalez, a senior project officer with the city's School Construction Authority, the property is roughly 40 percent excavated, with some of the area already dug 10-feet deep. Much of the site requires another 10 to 20 feet of digging, which Gonzalez said he expects to be complete by the end of March.
Once excavation is complete, trucks will begin delivering steel to the site, and construction will begin on the foundation.
As for truck traffic, the 105,000 square-foot lot is contained inside several high walls. All trucks— including the crane that will eventually arrive—will be parked within the enclosure, therefore causing little impact to traffic on the surrounding roads, Gonzalez said.
A meeting held to discuss the school last August revealed that many residents were upset at the prospect of increased difficulty finding parking. Wednesday proved that little has happened to assuage their concerns.
To wit, drivers are displeased about being forced to fight for parking with the school’s 76 staff members, who will not have their own designated lot, but will be left to find parking on the street along with residents.
While Councilman Brad Lander said the issue will be addressed closer to the school's completion in September 2015, one possible solution would be to approach other nearby institutions about allowing school staff to park in their lots.
Another point of contention is the height of the fence surrounding the construction site, which some residents complained made an already dangerous intersection near E.7th and E.8th streets even more hazardous.
"My husband nearly hit a jogger coming off of E. 8th St.,” said one woman. "It's terrible."
Lander assured the crowd that his office would contact the Department of Transportation for possible solutions to the visibility problem plaguing the intersection.
Residents also expressed concern about eventual traffic flowing to and from the school, though School Construction Authority representative Yvette Knight said the DOT has already conducted several studies, and concluded that installing an additional traffic light would only increase the gridlock.
In all likelihood, Knight said, the timing on the existing traffic light will simply be adjusted to accommodate the increase in cars moving through the area.
The five story, 757-seat school will house a gymnasium, a multi-use gymnatorium, library, cafeteria, science labs, music suites and several levels of classrooms. The property will also contain three separate outdoor areas consisting of a main playground, an early childhood playground and an entry court.
23 Caton Place:
, as no representatives from architects DJ Associates attended the meeting—despite several invitations from Lander's office. Stay with us for updates.