Gretsch Building

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60 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY

Gretsch Building
GretschNYCExterior.jpg

The converted Gretsch Building
Building Information
Architect Karl Fischer and Gene Kaufman
Management Company Akam Associates
Number of Units 130
Number of Floors 11
Year Built 1916
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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60 Broadway, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit

Over 10 options nearby

} region = New York City
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning MI-1
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

The warehouse look and feel of South Williamsburg
Music, history, and neighborhood conflict converge at The Gretsch Building on 60 Broadway in Williamsburg. The Gretsch Building is one of many warehouse conversions that have taken place in Williamsburg and Brooklyn over the past several years. While the building has only existed as a condominium since 2003, it has been in this location since 1916 when it operated as the warehouse for The Gretsch Company, a prominent North American manufacturer of musical instruments.


Friedrich Grestch was a German immigrant who founded the company and for whom the building is still named. The writing at the top of the building displays the text "Gretsch Building, No. 4." Friedrich first set up shop in Brooklyn and manufactured banjos, drums, and tambourines. When he died, his son Fred took over the company and moved operations to the larger Williamsburg warehouse where the company expanded their products. They are well known for their guitars.


A Gretsch guitar
The lobby of the now loft-style condominium retains a piece of this history with two vintage Gretsch guitars showcased in this space. The lobby itself is a sight to behold with black granite, tempered glass, stainless steel, and a metallic curtain.[1]


The building was at the center of a controversy when it was being built as Orthodox Jews who dominate the area south of the Williamsburg Bridge were not keen on this luxury loft building, the first of its status in the area. The Gretsch Building on 60 Broadway stands geographically and culturally in the middle of two groups with two different visions for their neighborhood. The south side of Broadway has a large working-class Hasidic and Hispanic community, whereas the north side has more affluent professionals, as well as hipsters and artists. With increasing housing rates in the north, artists and professionals are looking for 'cheaper' homes in the south, but Jewish Hasidic families are also growing and want affordable housing, which a luxury condominium like Gretsch does not offer. Rather, this condominium is probably one of the most luxurious homes in the entire neighborhood.


Hasidic Jews staged several protests against the development, but, in the end, did not stop the building from being constructed. However, they did succeed in scrapping the developers' plans for a pool as well as outdoor balconies. The reason being was a clash of values: the Orthodox Jewish community did not want to see their neighbors scantily clad on their balconies or on a roof deck, which is why tinted windows were also added to some sides of the apartment units. Two of the Gretsch Building's developers are Jewish, which, according to the article quoted in City Realty, is likely why the community rallied so hard to protest this site—they had a common religious and cultural affinity.[1]



Location

The Gretsch Building is located at 60 Broadway in South Williamsburg just below the Williamsburg Bridge. This area has an industrial history with many factories and warehouses, but with luxury condominium buildings like the Gretsch, which was one of the first condominium conversions to crop up in the area, the neighborhood is becoming increasingly gentrified and was compared to having a SoHo (South of Houston) vibe by one realtor.[2]


Marlow & Daughters is the nearest grocery store while Marlow and Sons is the nearest restaurant. Other restaurants and pubs to check out on Broadway include Diner and Patrizia's Pizza and Pasta. The Gretsch Building is just down the street from the famous Peter Luger Steakhouse. Some outdoor places include Bedford Playground, Epiphany Playground, and Schaefer Esplanade along the Brooklyn waterfront.[3]


This area has typically been less attractive to residents because it's not as convenient to public transit. That being said, it does provide easy access to the Marcy Avenue J and M trains and is also walking distance from the L train at Bedford Avenue.[4] Flat roads and designated lanes make the area great for biking.


Construction

Retail stores on ground level of the Gretsch

The Gretsch Building was originally built in 1916 when it was home to the Gretsch Musical Instruments factory.

It still looks like a factory on the outside and even bears the same name etched at the top, but inside is a completely different story. Architect Karl Fischer and interior designer Andrew Escobar transformed this eleven story concrete high-rise into 130 luxury condominium units in 2003.

Two floors were added in the conversion, as well as two penthouse suites and a massive rooftop terrace.[4]

An exposed water tank sits on top of the roof. Many of the ceilings are double-height as the layouts are loft style. The building has an elevator and a flat grey facade covered with windows.

Layout and Features

The Gretsch Building is comprised of 130 apartment units ranging from studios to three-bedroom layouts. The layouts are duplexes (two stories) as typical of most warehouse-to-condominium conversions.

The units have large windows and ceilings from 12 to 14 feet high. The kitchens are equipped with stainless steel appliances, a Sub Zero refrigerator, Asko dishwasher, and Nero Impala granite counter tops.

Bathrooms have deep soaker tubs and side-by-side master sinks. The Australian Jarrah wood floors and Pietra Colombina limestone fireplaces put the "l" in luxury at this South Williamsburg residence.[1]

Washers and dryers are allowed in the suites. There is a mixture of central air conditioning and supplementary PTAC units underneath the windows. While there are no balconies at the Gretsch for reasons listed in the "Background" section, residents can take in panoramic views of Brooklyn and Manhattan from across the Williamsburg Bridge when standing on the massive roof terrace.

Floor Plans

With over 60 floor plans available at the Gretsch Building, here is just a small sample:

Amenities

The Gretsch offers a fine list of amenities for its residents:

  • full-time doorman and superintendent
  • large roof deck with views of Brooklyn
  • children's play room
  • free bike parking on Wythe Avenue
  • on-site library
  • 100-car garage
  • health club
  • stunning lobby
  • rental storage units


Bylaws

Gretsch Building Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues No


Pets are allowed at the Gretsch, as well as rentals and pied-à-terre.[4]


Seeing that there are no balconies on the building, barbecues are not permitted.

Sustainability

Since the Gretsch Building was converted to condominiums in the new millennium, many sustainable features were added or upgraded to the original 1916 building, including new windows, new heating, plumbing, and central air conditioning.[1]

Free outdoor parking for bicycles encourages eco-friendly transportation. Residents may also wish to participate in New York's green recycling programs to help reduce household waste.

Trivia

Poster 'Girls'
  • The building's library is double-height and features a fireplace surrounded by floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a glass-walled elevator.[1]
  • 'Girls' HBC TV show creator, writer, and 26-year-old actor Lena Dunham checked out a $4.5M penthouse in the Gretsch Building. The TV show follows the lives of four twenty-something girls and their friends in New York City. Lena plays the lead role of Hannah Horvath, an aspiring writer financially cut off from her parents and living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The Gretsch Building originally attracted artists to its space, but now seems to be attracting actors.[2]
  • Apart from its neighborhood controversies at the beginning of the Gretsch's redevelopment, this condominium has encountered some other controversy as well, from residents clashing over the local art that was displayed on the walls of its lobby, the presence of film crews shooting a movie in one of the penthouses, and reaction about where owners' dogs can and cannot roam around the building. It seems one thing Gretsch residents are united about is their opposition to a development planned for Brooklyn's waterfront called New Domino, which would block their multimillion dollar views.[5]


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 City Realty
  2. 2.0 2.1 NY Daily News
  3. Walk Score
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Street Easy
  5. NY Curbed


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