November 2017
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MAS Board Members Tour Greenpoint – Williamsburg

greenpoint terminal market

Following the recent rezoning of 180 blocks in the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg, a group of MAS board members visited the area to assess the potential impact of the proposed changes. Under the rezoning, these neighborhoods will see up to 10,000 new housing units, 1.6 miles of publicly accessible waterfront, new parkland and renewed investment in public open spaces like McCarren Park.

The tour of the rezoned blocks on July 13 included stopped at several development locations, historic sites and future East River access points. The group began the tour at the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center on Manhattan Avenue, where the center’s Senior Project Manager Paul Parkhill led a tour. The facility houses 54 small woodworking, metal-spinning and manufacturing businesses all working together in an affordable space.

On the western border of Huron Street, along the East River, board members viewed the largest single parcel of land in the rezoned area. Up to four million square feet of new development is slated for the parcel. A portion of the planned 27.8-acre waterfront park will also occupy the space.

In the ethnically rich communities along Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, the issue of industrial retention is a major concern — and one the MAS follows closely. We remain committed to helping manufacturing businesses in the borough to ensure that they can remain in the area or find suitable homes elsewhere. In this neighborhood, board members saw the historic manufacturing building that housed the Eberhard Faber Pencil Factory, which dates from 1912.

Returning to the waterfront, the group traveled to the former WNYC transmitter site, which is now zoned for parkland development. In collaboration with the city’s Economic Development Corporation and the Parks Department, landscape architect Donna Walcavage has created an exciting plan for this site that will include floating piers and wetlands as well as recreational spaces.

Just south of the transmitter site stands the Greenpoint Terminal Market, a magnificent complex of 16 buildings that originally housed the American Manufacturing Company. Established in 1890 as a manufacturer of rope and bagging, the company quickly became the largest “cordage concern” in the world and the second largest employer in Brooklyn. The MAS Preservation Committee has requested that the Landmarks Preservation Commission designate the complex as a landmark.

The tour wrapped up on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, where board visited the hub of the neighborhood’s thriving arts scene. The area also boasts a number of restaurants and boutiques, including fashion clothier Brooklyn Industries.

The tour served to reinforce the MAS’ commitment to the communities of Greenpoint and Williamsburg and to encourage the city to continue to make its best efforts in the area of innovative city planning and zoning – the starting points for building a more livable city.

All photos: Amanda Hiller.