A black-and-white mural by the artist Katie Merz has appeared along Brooklyn's Flatbush Avenue, part of a developer's plan to activate vacant buildings at a site that will eventually be developed into residential, education and cultural space.
The project in question is 80 Flatbush Avenue, a plan by Alloy Development to bring two schools, a cultural institution, office space, retail, and 900 mixed-income apartments to a full-block right at the intersection of Boerum Hill, Downtown Brooklyn, and Fort Greene.
The project will be a mix of new construction and adaptive reuse. Alloy will convert a former Civil War infirmary, which now holds the Khalil Gibran Academy, into a 15,000-square-foot cultural facility. A late 19th-century building on the corner of Third Avenue and Schermerhorn Street will be preserved for retail and amenity space.
However, new construction will be necessary to bring in the 900 mixed-income apartments and 200,000-square-feet of Class A office space. The firm will build two towers, one 28 stories and the other 74 stories tall. The towers will hold market-rate apartments, 200 below-market rate apartments, and office space. The ambitious plan—to be built over two phases—is expected to wrap by 2025.
But before construction begins, Alloy has put various buildings within the site to use: 384 Schermerhorn Street, which just got graced with the mural, is also now home to Jalapa Jar, which set up a pop-up taqueria and "groceraunt" in partnership with Brooklyn FoodWorks this fall.
Another vacant building, 505 State Street, will be used as by BRIC Arts Media as free studio space for grantees of the arts organization’s visual arts residency program, BRICworkspace. Recess Assembly and Brooklyn Justice Initiatives are sharing the storefront at 370 Schermerhorn, which houses a workspace for local artists as well as classrooms for “an art-based diversion program for court-involved youth.”
The mural on 384 Schermerhorn was the result of the developer's request for proposals. The playful work, according to the artist, was a "collaboration with the people walking by 80 Flatbush/A full riff on the past/present and future of Bklyn."