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And then, the Red Hook we knew was gone — Brooklynian

And then, the Red Hook we knew was gone

edited August 2015 in Red Hook

A decade ago, it was some artists and some housing projects.

Then, it was IKEA, Fairway, some artists and some housing projects.

Soon, it will be a massive office complex, a lot of high end residences, a big ferry port, IKEA, Fairway, some artists and some housing projects.



  • Investing $100M into an office development in an area with no subway service would seem ill-advised to me. Dumbo is already a pain in the ass for many commuters, and it has two IND stops reasonably nearby.
  • Agreed, @ehgee. That B61 isn't going to cut it.
  • The ferry will be key.
  • 20 minute peak frequencies and no convenient subway transfer still make for an awful commute for anyone who doesn't live along Kent Avenue or own a bicycle.

    I just can't see a company locating here. It'd massively limit the talent pool they can hire from to, at very best, 1/10 of the workers in the metro area. Even if they're in a 'creative field' and many of your employees live in Brooklyn or downtown, there's basically no decent non-bike commute from Crown Heights or half of Park Slope or non-waterfront Williamsburg or Bushwick or Flatbush. Not to mention much of the East Village or the Upper West Side or pretty much anywhere not on the F/G or East River Ferry.

    Red Hook makes sense as a quiet, tucked-away residential/industrial neighborhood. Not so much as an office hub.
  • Sometimes developers and companies run their own shuttles to support the investment, though.
  • edited August 2015
    For a summer, I temp'd with a firm located in the Bulova watch building in Queens.

    It is a weird, out of the way, office park near LaGuardia airport.

    They provided regular shuttles from the Jackson Heights subway, and were able to keep the complex full of tenants.
  • Apparently that whole complex is now worth $30M:

    Or approximately 15-20 brownstones.
  • edited August 2015
    Whenever I walked into the Bulova building, I felt like I was walking into 1953. The massive parking lot really belonged out on LI somewhere, and was clearly built with the assumption that most employees would drive to work. If buyers can get the zoning to become residential, the complex could host lots of townhomes.

    Returning to Red Hook, I think it could work. I certainly look forward to the new fancy tenants futily complaining about the housing projects and waste haulers that have always been present.

    I get a weird pleasure from watching people try to create change faster than it is going to happen.
  • Redhook does seem to be out of the way. The cruise ship terminal lasted one season. Princess did a few sailings out of there years ago and it was a bust. And lots of people travel to Bayonne or Manhattan to get on a ship so it's wasn't for lack of passengers.
  • edited August 2015
    Pragmaticguy, the cruise ship terminal is still open and operating. They don't do as many sailings as they did the first year, but the Queen Mary continues to call there. It looks like there are about 20 or so ships leaving from Brooklyn this year.

  • Red Hook seems like a perfectly natural place for residential, even relatively high end, since people who are fine with bikes/taxis/ferries and want an easier parking situation can choose to live there. It just seems like a big ol' stretch for high-end offices, when locating there excludes a huge proportion of the NYC labor force.

    It's maybe not that much crazier than tech firms located in Greenpoint/Williamsburg, but the Williamsburg waterfront is at least a reasonable walk from the Bedford L, which is a couple stops from every subway line in the city.

    The same is true of the situation with WeWork trying to develop Dumbo-priced office space in the middle of the Navy Yard:
  • @ Homeowner---thanks for the correction. Haven't sailed on a Cunard ship in about 30 years so I don't keep up with their schedules. I thought Princess was the only one sailing out of there.
  • I suspect the present low downtown Brooklyn office vacancy rate plays a big part in this decision.
  • It's funny, the difference between a store front and an office is one is on the ground floor and one is in a high rise but basically they're the same thing. And we all know how many vacant stores there are so I suspect the vacancy rate might be a little higher than what's being estimated.
  • edited August 2015
    So all in all, with all the proposed changes, is there something that we should be missing?  I only see a positive impact here.  

    But I kinda live far from there and only go to the area once in a while for Ikea and Fairway.
  • edited August 2015
    It is becoming a nice place to spend an afternoon off in the city.
  • Its a fantastic outcome for Greg O'Connell. It will be a great thing for those businesses that get waterfront office space. It will be a win for other property owners in the area. Downsides are that the poor people living there are probably going to be forced first out of the Red Hook Houses then ultimately out of the city as a whole. There will be a huge loss of industrial and warehousing space and rezoning to do away with the rest. The overburdened transit that currently serves the neighborhood will be taxed to even greater levels, but Citibike should do pretty well as a result.

    I guess it depends on your perspective whether its a good thing or not.
  • However, Fairway is not doing well:

    ...If it fails, that would put a damper on Red Hook unless they could quickly find a replacement.

  • i am at once surprised and not surprised at all. on one hand, people act like fairway is mecca, much in the trader joe's vein. on the other hand, i can't believe a fairway would open in literally the hardest-to-access location in brooklyn. Ikea makes sense because it by nature has to be MASSIVE and exceedingly yellow and blue; but fairway? in fact the most recent time i rode my bike to Ikea i was stopped by an older couple in a subaru asking for directions to the Fairway. i had no idea what they were talking about. they were definitely lost and in red hook for once specific reason, as was i
  • edited August 2015
    An older couple in a Subaru headed to Fairway makes intrinsic sense.
  • quote:
    When Sanba's King & Sullivan Townhouses hit the market one week ago, commenters here couldn't believe that people would pay upwards of $2.5 million to live in "transit-starved" Red Hook. "It's going to be tough for them to move 22 of them at those prices," said Eradicator, and many of those who chimed in agreed. But it looks like they were wrong: According to an update in The Real Deal, 12 of the 22 homes have already sold for an average price of $2.7 million. Elliman sales director Patty LaRocca, who's in charge of the project, said that many of the buyers are coming from nearby neighborhoods (duh), and compared the vibe to "Soho in the 1970s or 1980s,"
    according to TRD. "It has that mix of industry and low density and
    artists and it's super chill," she said. How multi-million dollar luxury homes fit into that industrial, chill environment remains to be seen.
  • edited October 2015
    Offices are different from residential— people can decide to take a $1.5 million discount on a house because they like riding bikes or taking cabs or riding a scooter to the subway (or even... driving a car?!) or whatever they do.

    But most people in NYC commute by transit, and it doesn't seem like a great pitch for high-end creative firms to say, 'Welcome, potential employee! Hope you enjoyed your half-hour walk through an industrial wasteland after paying a second fare to transfer from the Q train to the F. If you don't like that commute, you can just buy a car and pay $15 a day to park and spend half an hour circling for parking after you drive home in a big ol' traffic jam. Or wait in downtown Brooklyn for a shuttle bus that comes every 15 minutes except when it gets stuck in traffic— which fortunately never happens during rush hour.'

    I'd just bike if I worked there— but a lot of people wouldn't.

    Etsy's not-very-corporate founder once wanted to move the office to Red Hook (probably to keep the normals away), but the moneymen wouldn't let him.
  • You might be able to live in the residential, and walk.
  • edited October 2015
    The owner might, but if they wanted to limit their employee base to the tiny subset of artsy types within walking distance (rather than the entire NYC labor market), why wouldn't they locate their company in Rhinebeck or Beacon or something and save an enormous amount of money?

    Perhaps the only business I could see this working for would be movie-related offices— they seem to be conventionally located in the ass-ends of the city anyway, and employees seem to be expected to transport themselevs to said locations, and are perfectly OK doing so.

    I guess I don't see this place being pitched as being expected to pull full Dumbo market-rate rents— so maybe they're planning on pitching it as cut-rate back-office / creative incubator space? But this seems like an awful elaborate project for that.
  • I would move to be close to a job I really liked.
  • Obligatory article about Red Hook gentrification having pros and cons, and dividing neighborhood residents.