BY: STEPHEN SMITH
When we found out in July that Muss Development and AvalonBay were planning to build a mixed condo/rental building of around a quarter of a million square feet in Sheepshead Bay, we knew something big was coming to the neighborhood. But how big, we weren’t quite sure.
Now, we know: architect Perkins Eastman has filed for a new building permit at 1501 Voorhies Avenue, and the tower will reach a whopping 333 feet into the sky, hitting 30 stories at its peak. The project – situated on an oddly shaped parcel adjacent to the Brighton Line elevated structure, overlooking the Sheepshead Bay express stop – will be 280,000 square feet in total, mostly residential but with a 15,000-square foot commercial space.
The project will be a game changer for development in southern Brooklyn, and will be the tallest building — by far — to go up in the area since the post-war years. While the immigrant neighborhood is well outside of AvalonBay’s traditional in-city orbit, it’s solidly within Muss’s wheelhouse – the Forest Hills-based builder is most at home beyond the gentrifying fringe, in areas like eastern Queens and southern Brooklyn.
Muss already proved the market for luxury condos marketed towards immigrants from the former Soviet Union in Brighton Beach with their Oceana complex. While condos elsewhere in Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach tend to sell in the $400s per square foot, units in Muss’s Oceana towers have been fetching $600 a foot or more since the market rebound. We expect similar pricing for the condos at 1501 Voorhies, which will make up for the lack of Oceana’s beachfront setting with height that rivals anything else south of downtown Brooklyn.
While the pricing will likely be high for the neighborhood, it’s a far cry from what you’d pay in a comparable building in downtown Brooklyn or Williamsburg. It’s also the sort of development that New York City desperately needs more of if it ever hopes to become an affordable city, with residences targeted towards immigrant buyers who have done well for themselves, but are not so wealthy that they can afford to plunk down $1 million on a one-bedroom apartment.
The architecture should also be a big step up from the normal Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach fare. Perkins Eastman will likely be designing a much more modern structure than the pastel and stucco buildings normally developed for Russians in the U.S., whether in Brighton Beach or Sunny Isles.
Per the permit, the building will contain 250 apartments, for an average unit size of just over 1,000 square feet. There will also be 124 garage parking spaces plus 52 in a surface lot. With just a single space more than required by zoning, we suspect that the developer would have preferred to make the more financially and ecologically sound decision to provide less parking, were it not for the Department of City Planning’s outdated minimum parking requirements.