Rejuvenating Redhook, Brooklyn

Can the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook emerge from its urban torpor?

By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

New York—Can the Brooklyn neighborhood of Red Hook, cut off from the rest of the borough in the 20th century by postwar Gowanus Expressway and then hurt economically by the movement of cargo terminals and traffic across the harbor to New Jersey in the 1970s, emerge from its urban torpor? In theory, its waterfront could be rejuvenated along the lines of other fashionable Brooklyn areas, and developer Sanba, working in collaboration with AA Studio on a waterfront redevelopment called King & Sullivan Townhomes, is betting that it will.

Demolition for the project has been completed and construction is about to start. The development will include 12 three-story townhomes measuring 2,800 square feet on King Street (109-125 King St.), with the remaining 10 townhomes located on Sullivan Street (72-84 Sullivan St.). Five different facades, inspired by architectural elements present in Brooklyn—steel, arches, brick and terracotta—will add variety to each building, according to AA Studio.

Moreover, each four-bedroom, three-bathroom townhome will include features more commonly found in single-family houses, such as  600-square-foot roof terrace, a fenced garden in the rear, a parking spot at street level, driveway and a storage space. The interiors will feature such amenities as a formal dining area, a living room with a gas fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, sky lit stairwell and third-floor laundry room.

AA Studio founder Aldo Andreoli says that the project draws inspiration from Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands, a newly renovated area of that city built almost entirely of modern townhomes. Each townhome owner was encouraged to select a different architect, which resulted in varied designs and “resembled a contemporary rendition of an old village in the South of France or in Italy.”

Andreoli believes a similar approach will work in New York, because the demand is there for this kind of residential property. “The typology of the townhome is in large demand because of its human scale and because it reflects a comfortable way of living in New York City,” he says. “The townhomes are a compromise between the suburban single-family homes and the urban density of small condominiums.”

King and Sullivan is the firm’s third project in Red Hook. Currently in development are 202 Coffey, a large-scale adaptive re-use of an existing Brooklyn Industrial Warehouse into an art, fashion and event hub, and the conversion of a 230,000-square- foot mixed-use warehouse at 160 Imlay Street into 70 condos and creative gallery and office space.

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