70 Washington Street

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70 Washington Street, New York City, NY

70 Washington Street
70WashingtonNYC.jpg

The industrial character of 70 Washington Street shines through
Building Information
Developer Robert Gair
Architect William Higginson
Number of Units 225
Number of Floors 12
Year Built 1916
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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70 Washington Street, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning M1-2/R8A
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

70 Washington Street has had a unique history. Originally a factory, this building, at the heart of Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood is a case study in creative class urban development theory. Development company Two Trees Management has bought, essentially, the entire Dumbo neighborhood. Their buying spree began in the 1980s, while the area was still an industrial zone. They soon began converting the old brick and concrete factories of the area into apartment blocks. As a way to kick-start the revitalization of the area, Two Trees leased their new units at below-market cost to artists and provided both gallery and studio space. By creating a critical mass of creative class residents, the buzz about the Dumbo area grew and Two Trees capitalized on this buzz. Incorporating leases that expired en masse across a building, Two Trees was then able to sell large swaths of units in their buildings. Two Trees was able to maintain its reputation in the creative class community by first offering below-market rates, second, offering to find new space for residents who are displaced, and third by allowing leasers to transition into owners in their buildings. The goodwill that this has built has allowed Two Trees to take full advantage of the area's revitalization.

None of this is to say, however, that the rise of Dumbo is purely the work of Two Trees. Artists were working in the area prior to the Two Trees development strategy and revitalization of the area was already underway, albeit in a slow, unassuming way. Two Trees managed to hit the fast-forward button, make some profit and maintain a reasonable relationship with the city's artists.

70 Washington Street went to market in 2004. Its location near the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, the nearby classic industrial architecture and easy access to Brooklyn Bridge Park and the waterfront leaves little doubt as to the reason for the popularity of this building. Combined with high end finishes, easy access to transit and strong amenities, living at Dumbo's 70 Washington Street is an experience in and of itself.

Location

DUMBO, a local acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, had long been an under-the-reader mecca of creativity. The development strategy of Two Trees Management, though, has helped make this area both trendy and elite. The industrial factories and warehouses that dominated this neighborhood for the majority of the 20th century are still there, but inside they've been transformed into spacious lofts that attract high-end buyers looking for industrial ambiance, high-end amenities and classic waterfront and Manhattan vistas throughout their neighborhood.[1] In 2007, Dumbo became an official New York Historical District.

A number of independent restaurants have flourished near 70 Washington Street, though larger chains have gained a foothold in the area. There are a number of markets nearby, including the Dumbo Farmer's Market, only .15 of a mile away. There's plenty of green space in the area, anchored by Brooklyn Bridge park, easily within walking distance of 70 Washington Street. There are a number of high schools and elementary schools in the area. There are plenty of shops in the area and transit is close at hand, as the subway was an easy walk of less than .2 miles.[2]

Construction

The concrete construction of 70 Washington Street, and those buildings around it, marked a change in New York's industrial architecture. Previous to 1914, New York's industrial structures were primarily wood-frame structures. Cardboard box magnate (no, seriously), Robert Gair commissioned William Higginson to build reinforced concrete factories in order to expand his enterprise. Higginson has been described as "perhaps, the city's pre-eminent industrial architect". Together they built a complex of 10 buildings in Dumbo, including 70 Washington Street and the iconic Clock Tower building.[3] The building has a reticulated base, as well as reticulation towards the top of the building.

The redevelopment of the building as a luxury condominium was done in partnership between Two Trees Management and Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners LLP. Its last renovation coming in 2004.[4]

Layout and Features

70 Washington Street offers one, two, and three bedroom units. Many one bedroom units actually have a second bedroom-like space. However, these rooms do not have windows and, therefore, cannot be considered bedrooms. The building includes 22 rooftop cabanas which are available for sale to residents in the building. The building has an industrial aesthetic, combined with top of the line finishes.

All residences have bamboo floors, stainless steel, high-end, appliances, marble counter-tops, soaking tubs, chrome fixtures and glass-encased showers in the bathroom, designer cabinetry and granite counter-tops in the kitchen. The units feature high, vaulted ceilings and are spacious. Some units offer views of Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge or the Statue of Liberty.[5]

Floor Plans

There are numerous floor plans available among 70 Washington's 225 units.

Amenities

70 Washington Street offers a number of high-end amenities. These include:

  • Concierge
  • 24 hour doorman
  • Gym
  • Spa
  • Laundry service
  • Rooftop deck
  • Onsite maintenance available[6]

Bylaws

70 Washington Street Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues No



  • Pets are allowed in 70 Washington Street
  • Rentals are permitted in this building
  • There are no age restrictions for residents
  • There are no balconies at 70 Washington street, so no barbecues are permitted.

Sustainability

  • Unlike many buildings of this age, 70 Washington Street has managed to incorporate green features into its construction.
  • Notably, each unit has bamboo floors, an important sustainable product.
  • Green minded residents will also benefit from 70 Washington Street's proximity to the Dumbo Farmer's Market, allowing easy access to sustainable food options.
  • Additionally, transit is nearby and the amenities of the area means many day-to-day errands won't require a car.[7]

Trivia

  • Regarding the areas name, one story claims that DUMBO was coined by area residents in the 1970s, with the hopes that the name would help the area avoid redevelopment. One finds an interesting symmetry with a Seinfeld routine, where he claimed that the area's true acronym is DUMB, but area residents added an O in order to avoid association with the word dumb.[8]
  • The area that is currently DUMBO was formerly known as an industrial area dating back to the turn of the 20th century, but this is a relatively new identity. Prior to the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, the area now know as DUMBO was the commercial core of Brooklyn. As there was no bridge, connections to Manhattan were made via ferry, so the commercial core congregated around the ferry to ensure access. If one were to look at the Brooklyn Bridge, one would see that the landing cuts right through what is now DUMBO and the access to the bridge is further away. As such, commercial activity moved towards central Brooklyn after the bridge's completion in 1883, to ensure access to the new bridge to Manhattan. It was this quick emptying of the commercial core of Brooklyn that allowed for the industrial development of the area.
  • Robert Gair built the ten brand new reinforced concrete buildings to expand his cardboard box empire and, in the process, changed the face of industrial architecture in New York City. Almost immediately after they were completed, he picked up and moved his entire cardboard box business to upstate New York.

References

  1. City Realty
  2. Walk Score
  3. City Realty - Review
  4. Emporis
  5. Street Easy
  6. Two Trees website
  7. Two Trees website
  8. Wikipedia - DUMBO, Brooklyn


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