Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Clarett Came, Dug...And Blighted?


Back in April 2008, when the Clarett Group presented their plans for 340 Court Street to a less than enthusiastic crowd here in Carroll Gardens, the developer estimated that construction on their Collection On Court project would take about 18 months to complete. That was, of course, before the downturn in the economy.

After a few months of steady construction, work came to a standstill in November. It is anyone's guess as to when work will resume. So, for now, Carroll Gardeners have to deal with a big hole and a plywood construction fence that stretches along most of one block on Court Street and wraps around both Union and Sackett Streets.

Through our elected officials, neighboring residents immediately reached out to Clarett to find out who was responsible for site security and how frequently the site would be inspected. Representatives of Clarett were asked to meet to discuss what the delay would mean to the project and to its neighbors. That meeting was never granted. Clarett did respond to a request to clear the street of barricades to restore parking . They have also posted a security guard at the site for a few hours a day.

However, other concerns have never been addressed. Neighbors of the site have repeatedly complained of large pools of water, accumulating trash and an infestation of rats. Though Daniel Hollander, Senior Managing Director of the Clarett Group, promised to " look into the pooling water, debris and specific extermination issues" in a letter dated December 15th, 08, the problems persist. Other concerns expressed by residents include: - a lack of lighting which makes the area dark and desolate at night. - the width of the sidewalk which makes it difficult to walk along the fence - the space between the gates might allow someone access to the site. - dangling Time Warner cable on Union Street which represent tripping hazard.

Carroll Gardeners will have to live with Claretts' construction 'pit' for the foreseeable future. It does not seem too much to ask of the developer to keep the site safe and secure for everyone's benefit.

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Anonymous said...

The 1960's brutalist medical center that occupied this site was my leasrt favorite neighborhood structure, but it was heads and shoulders better than the big, blue fence. Thanks to the Clarett Group, our community has its very own slice of the South Bronx circa 1976. Maybe its really just part of their psychological strategy to get us to accept whatever they chose to build, tugging on an 'anything is better than this' mentality. In the end, though, blight is blight, and it's not in their backyard, it's in ours.

Anonymous said...

BTW did this site still get a tax abatement even though nothing is being built? Are taxes being paid at least? Does anyone know how this works, they got a foundation built by the required date but I see no public benefit to merit a tax break? My property taxes are way up this year.

Kelly said...

Yea, not only do we have to pay our taxes, the city increased ours.
I was wondering myself if Clarett has to pay anything.
How about Mr. Stein at 360 Smith Street?

Anonymous said...

I live on this street and it's been such a pain in the neck. They haven't been keeping up with snow removal, which has turned into a sheet of sheer ice the day after a storm. I fear for the summer when the collected water becomes a health issue and more animals collect there.

I wonder if there is a way to use the space while they wait to get the funding to complete their project. Wouldn't it be nice if it were a small park space or even if it were cleaned up and used as a parking lot again.

Or a killer skateboard rink!

Anonymous said...

Well, Here's another fine mess you've gotten us into, Clarett!

Anonymous said...

Its a shame,but i said it from the beginning, our neighborhood is going to the boarded up looking hood. Now,with this awful weather-ice,rain,snow, windy debris is blowing and everything is icy- no one is there to clean it or put salt down. Its a sore eye. All of the construction sites are a sore eye. They must get there act together- get going on these projects. Between the businesses shutting due to costly high rents. Its a disgrace. Now, the billions of people that will be invading our neighborhood- Gowanus development- Where are we headed for?