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First look at 85 Jay Street’s transformation into massive mixed-use project

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One of Dumbo’s last major undeveloped sites will become a 728-unit residential building

Renderings by Williams New York

The transformation of one of Dumbo’s long-undeveloped tracts of land is finally moving forward. Developers CIM Group and LIVWRK, which own the blocklong lot at 85 Jay Street, are prepping the site for its conversion into a 1.1 million-square-foot mixed-use development.

In advance of that, the developers have unveiled a teaser website for the project—to officially be known as Front and York, a reference to the streets that bound that site—as well as renderings and more details about what the development will entail.

First, some backstory: The property was one of many in Brooklyn Heights and Dumbo owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. In 2016, CIM and LIVWRK, along with Kushner Companies, purchased the site from the Witnesses for $345 million; the group had snapped up other properties in the neighborhood, most notably the old Watchtower building at 25-30 Columbia Heights.

Plans for the new development to rise at 85 Jay Street were first filed back in 2017, and Morris Adjmi Architects was tapped to design the massive project. In 2018, Kushner Companies sold its minority stake in the project back to CIM Group, ending its involvement in the development, which brings us to the present.

Much of the new, Adjmi-designed structure will be given over to apartments: The building will have 728 apartments—408 will be one- to four-bedroom condos, and 320 will be rentals. The units will be spread out across two separate 21-story buildings, each of which will have its own dedicated lobby. Details on pricing aren’t available yet, but the developers expect to launch sales on the condos sometime this year.

Full details on amenities are also TBD, but there will be one enviable perk for residents: a private park on-site, designed by Michael Van Valkenburg Associates, the same landscape architect responsible for nearby Brooklyn Bridge Park. The building will also have ground-floor retail, and public parking.

And true to Adjmi’s style—which incorporates historical references into new structures—the building itself will echo the architecture of the surrounding neighborhood, with arches at the ground level that recall the design of the Manhattan Bridge, and a facade that’s not dissimilar from the area’s once-industrial warehouses.

The site is part of the state Departmnt of Environmental Conservation’s brownfield remediation program, and work to clean up the site is now underway. While sales are due to launch this year, the developers haven’t shared a timeline for when move-ins will begin.