A gleaming new luxury tower and school is set to preside over the space at 664 Pacific Street, the sixth residential building to rise in the great Barclays Center takeover of that area.
In a press release, the PR rep for developer Forest City Ratner says "664 Pacific Street is a luxury rental building that will rise 26 stories and have a public school at its base."
Jonathon Marvel, the architect who designed the building, said his creation will distinguish itself from the many other soulless high-rises jutting up around Brooklyn by the fact that his is made of brick, glazed in nine different shades of gray.
"We think brick is a noble material," he told me over the phone. "We think that it’s a Brooklyn material."
The bricks will be painted both for practical purposes (they stay cleaner), and because he "felt that the glazed brick would feel modern, and yet feel part of the brownstone carpet of brick construction in Brooklyn," he said.
As for whether the borough needs another shiny high-rise populated by wealthy tenants, Marvel argued that high-density buildings are beneficial for the environment, in addition to the structure being more efficient "than anything that was built 25 or 30 years ago."
"Today’s technology’s allowing us to build so much better, and the systems are smarter, so we’re not overheating, we’re not overcooling, you’re not gonna have to open up your windows in the wintertime," he said. All of the building's housing will be at market rate, though years of haggling between developers and community groups has finally resulted in a plan that calls for a total of 2,250 rent subsidized units by 2025.
Known as "B15," the bottom seven floors (two of which will be below ground) of the 26-story building at 664 Pacific will be dedicated to the 616-seat public school, though it's currently unclear whether it will be a dedicated middle school, as community groups say the area definitely needs, or whether it will also contain an elementary school.
In the view of Gib Veconi, the chair of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council—as well as both community boards with stakes in the property—the many small middle schools in the area don't make up for the fact that it still lacks a larger public school.
DOE has yet to commit to allowing the space to become a middle school, Veconi said, in attempt to delay making a decision closer to when students are set to enroll. The trouble is that such flexibility may result in a compromised school, since middle schools and elementary schools tend to be somewhat differently constructed.
"You would look to do things like build labs for middle school students, you would look to do things like build PE facilities for middle school students," he said in an interview. "You wouldn’t build two sets of administrative offices; you wouldn’t build bathrooms for small children that have to be located in classrooms."
A Department of Education spokesperson said that the agency was "still engaging stakeholders," and had yet to make a final decision.
The school's design will also include a 3,000-square-foot recreation area on the building's fourth floor, and a 2,100-square-foot open space on the ground floor, DNAinfo reports.
The space where B15 will eventually rise was formerly the site of three townhouses, which were seized, along with much of the surrounding area, via eminent domain.
The plan will be fully revealed by Marvel and developer Greenland Forest City Partners at a community meeting tonight, to be held at 55 Hanson Place at 6 p.m.