Seven-Story Residential Building With Ground Floor Retail And 9,000SF Public Plaza To Replace El Greco

Preliminary rendering of the new building to replace El Greco at 1801 Emmons Avenue. The view is from Emmons Avenue and Sheepshead Bay Road. (Source: Sergey Rybak)
Preliminary rendering of the new building to replace El Greco at 1809 Emmons Avenue. The view is from Emmons Avenue and Sheepshead Bay Road. (Source: Sergey Rybak)

EXCLUSIVE: A seven-story condominium building with ground-level retail, abundant parking and a 9,000-square-foot landscaped public plaza will soon be constructed at Sheepshead Bay Road and Emmons Avenue, replacing El Greco Diner, the new owners told Sheepshead Bites in an exclusive interview.

Buyer Sergey Rybak detailed his preliminary plans following the $13 million sale of the 1809 Emmons Avenue property on Friday, which he purchased with partner Jason Reznik under the name 1809 Emmons Avenue LLC. Rybak’s company, Rybak Development, is overseeing construction.

Rybak Development already has a track record in the area. The company is part owner of the MatchPoint NYC sports complex on Shell Road, and is developing several luxury condominium projects in the area, including 3041 Ocean Avenue and 104 West End Avenue, as well as commercial projects like 1810 Voorhies Avenue. Their roster of developments is almost exclusively in Southern Brooklyn.

At the moment, all plans shared with Sheepshead Bites, including the plaza and the layout of the building, are subject to change. The final project, he hopes, will be as-of-right, meaning no approval from the Community Board or Board of Standards and Appeals will be required – but that can change, too.

Preliminary rendering of 1801 Emmons Avenue. The view is from Emmons Avenue and Sheepshead Bay Road. (Source: Sergey Rybak)
Preliminary rendering of 1809 Emmons Avenue. The view is from Emmons Avenue and Sheepshead Bay Road. (Source: Sergey Rybak)

Rybak spoke of the transformative power his newest project will have on Sheepshead Bay’s landscape, specifically the public plaza he said will improve its image and draw in passersby.

“This plaza is going to drastically and dramatically change the look and feel of the neighborhood,” he said. At 9,000 square feet, the public plaza is “one quarter of the entire property. That’ll have access to the public. That’ll be fancy benches and seating, raised planters, decorative lighting, bicycle parking and waste baskets.”

The public plaza will stretch along all of Emmons Avenue between Sheepshead Bay Road and East 19th Street, and turn north on Sheepshead Bay Road, covering half the block. He notes that the renderings aren’t fully accurate – there will be stainless steel artwork, but the planters will be elevated and there will be more lighting, including LED strip lighting beneath the landscaping to illuminate the plaza at night.

It’s not entirely altruistic, he notes. By creating the public plaza, he’s permitted a bonus in residential floor area. Without the plaza, the developer would be allowed only a four-story project with ground-floor retail. With the plaza, that swells to seven stories, or 85 feet tall.

Rybak describes the building as being in a “V” formation, with the residential portion pushed towards East 19th Street and Shore Boulevard, pointing towards the Bay. The configuration will help to minimize exposure to the Belt Parkway and maximize views of the waterfront, he said.

Preliminary rendering of the proposed plaza at 1801 Emmons Avenue. (Source: Sergey Rybak)
Preliminary rendering of the proposed plaza at 1809 Emmons Avenue. (Source: Sergey Rybak)

On the ground floor, there will be approximately six retail units. Since the building is part of the Sheepshead Bay Special Zoning District, retail uses are limited to recreational businesses, and Rybak said they’re shooting to bring in new eateries and cafes. They’re already seeking out “flagship commercial tenants in the dining and cafe industries,” he said.

“As far as the end result of the project, we have plans to bring in some great eateries, some great cafes,” said Rybak.

He declined to name names, but said there was some interest from a national cafe brand, but that any deals are far from done.

On the second and half of the third floors, the developer is planning to build elevated parking. Cars will enter from East 19th Street – also where the residential lobby will be – minimizing the impact on Sheepshead Bay Road, Shore Parkway and Emmons Avenue. Like his other projects, where he’s also built more parking than is required by zoning, Rybak said the company is aiming to add 30 to 40 percent more parking than is required. They’re required 54 spaces, but they’re putting in approximately 85 spaces, he said.

Those spaces, however, will be limited to tenants of the building and patrons of the ground-floor businesses only.

The remaining four and a half floors will be condos only, and no rental apartments. That translates to 50 to 60 units, he said. They have not yet determined prices for the units.

With the water across the street and Superstorm Sandy still fresh in memory, flood-proofing the building will be top of mind. Rybak isn’t asking for any waivers when it comes to Department of Building-mandated requirements.

The storefronts will be “dry-proofed,” meaning that construction will be designed for minimal infiltration of water into the spaces. That includes metal panels installed around the base of the building that can be inserted hours before a storm surge. All mechanicals, electrical systems and fire-suppression systems will be on the upper floors, and the ground-level lobby will have grates to allow water to pass through and drain.

Preliminary rendering of the proposed plaza at 1801 Emmons Avenue. (Source: Sergey Rybak)
Preliminary rendering of the proposed plaza at 1809 Emmons Avenue. (Source: Sergey Rybak)

Rybak said his plans are guided by his own experiences in the neighborhood. A resident of the area who attended local schools and builds exclusively within the community, his goal is to make something that improves the look, feel and character of the neighborhood.

“I am from the community. This is my community, it’s where I live,” he said. “So to see this place being designed and presented in a way that’s going to influence the neighborhood in a positive way, as opposed to anything else on Emmons, is something I have a great passion for.”

He’s especially adamant about the proposed plaza, on which he’s currently working with the Department of City Planning on designs.

“This is the only public plaza on Emmons Avenue. This will be a true public plaza, not just something they got through the DOB [for a floor area bonus],” he said.

Still, he notes that there has to be a financial incentive, and cautions would-be naysayers that the community could have done worse than this deal.

“People have to understand this land was not free. In order for something like this to be financially feasible, you have to do a mixed-use building,” he said. “If it hadn’t been sold to somebody like me who does have connections to the area and wants to change the landscape in a positive way, it would’ve been sold to somebody else with who knows what image in mind.”

And on El Greco, he said he’ll miss it, too.

“This place has been serving my generation and the generation before it for the last 40 years. I visited and I was a patron of this place and I love it,” he said.

Correction (December 17): The original version of this article’s photo captions identified the property as 1801 Emmons Avenue. While it will occupy that address as well, the official address is 1809 Emmons Avenue, and the captions have been changed to reflect that.

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  1. and yet another ugly design on sheepshead bay…. WHY?! why can’t someone finally come up with a beautiful architecturally interesting building instead of another grey monstrosity?

  2. When does a neighborhood reach saturation? I think that Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan and Brighton Beaches have reached that point! More is not always good!

  3. The Plaza is a great idea!!! I would hate it is the building
    was built right up against Emmons Avenue. I know the developers can do, pretty
    much whatever they want, but I a extremely grateful and happy to hear that
    someone actually understands what the neighborhood really needs…. that is more
    summertime enjoyment areas for us, common folk, to enjoy and really take in the
    bay. I am also pleased that El Greco will be getting replaced with hopefully
    better and more health conscious food. I am hoping for a Chipotle and a
    Starbucks. That would be awesome!!!

  4. I guess I should be thankful for small things – “horrific” was not the first word that came to mind.

  5. “Horrific”….. I guess the old rat and roach infested “4” Michelin
    Start El Greco was great!

  6. Report Card
    Student Name: Real Sheeps

    Vocabulary – Acceptable
    Reading comprehension – Needs improvement

  7. The building would need to hire their own 24-7-365 security team to patrol that plaza to keep it free from bums, drug addicts and other riff raff, you’ll see. If not they will be “forced” to fence that plaza and create a park for tenants only, a la Oceana.

  8. Jason Reznik is a scammer and builds condos that fall apart within years. He doesn’t build to code at all and practices illegal building tactics. Just ask some people in the neighborhood that are familiar with his condos. He has several law suits on his hands.

  9. I personally do not like Oceana at all. Yes there is a private park up along the Boardwalk that is residents only. But, There are two (2) parks near the front entrance, both open to the public from sunrise-sunset and closed to both the public AND residents all other times. So even if they do have gate the area (which they should) its still good.

  10. Thats a stupid comment. I live in one of his buildings on Kings Hwy. Great unit and was sold to me in 2009 for a great price! Its easy to criticism…. but to roll up your sleeves require a little work! Anon is a HATER!

  11. Chipotle or Starbucks. More one the same in every neighborhood, every town,every city, every state….Everywhere corporate owned and controlled chain store crap. How about a nice local restaurant that is owned by a hard working american family…remember those????

  12. You call Chipotle “health conscious food?” What planet do you live on. Also, when I mentioned this condo and what it was going to do to Emmons Avenue, the person I spoke to who is “in the know” on these things told me”don’t count on ,t.”

  13. Stunning! There is no doubt that Sheepshead Bay and the Homecrest area are becoming tonier, and tonier, as the years go by. I only wish I had the money to buy some property, say a Co-op or Condo, along Neck Road, or there abouts, because for numerous reasons, this will probably continue for many years…

  14. A great mom and pops stop would be great…, but so many keep opening and closing with no stability. I don’t mind a hard working family business, but a little stability in a neighborhood is always nice and should be welcomed. If Starbucks comes…. I am sure an exec did his homework and knows this area will not have a turnover. The same for all other “corporate” guys. There is nothing wrong with corporate guys. All it means is that they got the formula right. That is not to say that I don’t encourage the occasional moms and pops. Good luck to all so long as the crapy infested Diner is out of the picture!

  15. I should have said: “HATER is an unimaginative, infantile, puerile, immature, childish way of expressing yourself.” Thanks for the correction mini-me.


  16. Finally that ugly restaurant with a huge parking lot will be gone for good and replaced with something new and exciting. I salute you guys Sergey Rybak and Jason Reznik. All the best in you endeavor.

  17. Just what we need – more unoccupied housing. How many empty buildings do we need to have in Sheepshead Bay before the building commission gets it?

  18. to amused – instead of spreading a shit on-line just invest your money to plant at least one tree on Emmons ave.

  19. US Government has given for Mr. Bloomberg more than 60 billion for elimination of consequences of hurricane Sandy. So and where that money?
    Have escaped together with the young lover.
    So guys just say thanks to Russian investors for their lifestyle updating of Brooklyn and my favorite Emmons ave.


  21. I think it’s wonderful that finally there’s modern condos being built in this area..quality Buildings, clean, modern, with gym & parking. I was forced to move from park slope & quickly realized there’s NOWHERE to live here. There’s only 1 decent rental building 1125 Banner ave. where u feel like a human being. And yes! The area badly needs great cafes & entertainment ( not cheesy Russian restaurants, c’mon who goes there anymore., unless babushka ili mama zastavit) Obviously it ain’t gonna be Park slope quality ( since Russians are building it 🙁 but still better than disgusting old bldgs that are the only option now..

  22. Personally, I happen to love those “cheesy Russian restaurants” in my nabe- much better than anything in Park Slope thank you! Our food selection here is delightful! Late nights are always busy!

  23. I love it- I really think that Mr Rybak, being from the area, is going to bring something that both looks nice and will benefit our area. El Greco has long run its course. Personally I can’t wait to see what new shops and eateries come in to this space. Don’t really care about the condos, just glad they have their own parking!

  24. If only plaza would be for public use, see how fast outdoor space turns into an illegal outdoor area for restaurant, unless you are a customer you wont be allowed on plaza.Developer gets bonus by promising a public plaza.

  25. What an ugly box! Before you say you like it – imagine this toothless mouth of a building erected in midtown Manhattan. Impossible!!!! But apparently it is considered a great piece of design by the schtinker-apparatchicks of the corrupt and tasteless Brooklyn administration. What a piece of concrete disrespect to the area!!!

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