Southern Brooklyn

Seven Years And $7.5 Million Later, A 14-Story Dream Heads To Auction

A photo posted by a WiredNewYork forum user in 2005.

The old garage at 2554 East 16th Street, a corner property also known as 1515 Avenue Z, has sat empty for years, a home for stray cats, weeds and construction materials. But its owners had big development plans once.

A pair of developers bought the property in late 2004, with plans to build a 14-story mixed-use tower with a whopping 86,000 square feet. The unidentified owner (records list only “16 Ave Z LLC”) paid $7.5 million, and envisioned building 30 residential units atop a glass pedestal of 5,000 square feet of retail space, a 23,300-square-foot office space, 10,000 square feet of healthcare facilities, and 186 parking spaces, according to The Real Deal. A rendering went up at the site (above), boasting to neighbors who would ultimately have the neighborhood’s tallest building plopped down next to them.

Though plans were approved, the partnership quickly soured, and the development was never built. Local sources told Sheepshead Bites that, over the years, the owner has attempted to sell the property, asking for as much as $17 million.

Now, The Real Deal reports, the property is heading to auction, as the owners look to unload quickly. It’s one of three headlining properties in a $50 million commercial auction managed by¬†Paramount Realty USA (another is a Sea Breeze Avenue condo site in Brighton Beach). Final bids are due June 9.

The property will sell with the plans pre-approved, so if it goes to a moneyed developer, that 14-story mixed-use tower could become a reality. It’ll be in good company: across Avenue Z, a developer is planning a nine-story office building and garage. And, from there, across Sheepshead Bay Road, a 22-story retail and residential center – Station Plaza – is also in the works.

Is Sheepshead Bay becoming a home to sky-scraping monoliths? Not likely. These three sites are the only locations in the area with the ability to build so high. And, with a sour economy, developers are finding it difficult to come up with the capital to get going – which is why 1515 Avenue Z is heading to auction in the first place, and also why a shovel has yet to hit dirt at Station Plaza.

Tip o’ the hat to Local Broker for The Real Deal link.

Comment policy


  1. I’ve got a 7 story monolith behind me that kills my morning sun.
    Now I’ll have one in front of me that will kill the late afternoon sun.
    Time to put out the for sale sign.

  2. If it adds that much parking and really has that much glass (which would reflect and refract natural light) then hell yes, lets hope it becomes a reality.

  3. Maybe you’d like to buy my house and enjoy all those vehicles parking and reflection and refraction of natural light.

  4. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. It’s not possible to have a society were everyone is happy. It’s not possible to have a society where “everyone” wins.

    If you feel this would really impact your life in a negative way, then go ahead and put your house on the market and move somewhere more suitable.

    Would you rather it stay empty? Would you rather it became an active mechanic/garage again? That means increased traffic and noise and pollution, far more then an upscale semi-glass building which will also muffle the sound of the train tracks. It’s not like that space will ever become something like a park. It’s just too valuable.

  5. Empty doesn’t benefit the community, it doesn’t even benefit you or your
    neighbors. It’s infested with rats and other insects and critters and
    garbage because it’s not maintained. Think ahead man. The “ideal” situation
    is a park. That will never happen given the value of the location. They just
    cleaned out the other side of the tracks and they wont even turn that into a

  6. It’s easier to deal with rodents and insects than it is to deal with a population explosion. It’s easier to deal with rodents and insects then it is to deal with double and triple parked obnoxious ambulettes. It’s also easier to deal with rodents and insects than it is to deal with increasing the time it takes to travel from one block to another. Why not just continue to build higher and higher and fill these buildings with people so it becomes impossible to walk, drive, take a train or bus in relative comfort. The DOB laws changed too late to save this neighborhood. All those years of architects self approving their plans have taken a toll. You may not have lived here long enough to remember when it was truly a neighborhood. The problem is that people are satisfied to live in a “community” and not a neighborhood.

  7. Watch them ask for a variance to put in half the required parking like they are doing on Voorhies Avenue. Pay off the right people and they will get it too, and you will have more congestion and traffic too. What’s wrong with just six stories? Why does everything have to be 20 stories?

  8. I’ve lived in South Brooklyn (Sheepshead, Brighton, and Midwood) my entire
    life. That’s 28 years. No matter how you cut it, a rotting, condemned,
    abandoned, polluted lot in the core of Sheepshead’s “Main Street” is NOT
    good for anyone. You’re only concerned with your own personal convenience
    and quality of life and NOT the community as a whole. Nobody can really
    blame you for that, but everyone being too selfish to see beyond their own
    noses is what caused the decline of our neighborhood, city, and country to
    begin with.

    Compromises have to be made, it’s really that simple. As noted in the
    article there are only 3 lots in Sheepshead that allow for a structure that
    tall to be built. If we’re gonna build anything that tall it should be near
    the biggest cluster of tall buildings that already exist anyway. Double and
    triple parked vehicles are a problem with people, not with buildings.
    Progress needs to be made. Over the next 100 years the face of the area is
    going to change dramatically. So, when some developer comes in and wants to
    build some monster tower, who can’t be stopped because of their money and
    connections I’d rather the building they put up actually look beatifull and
    serve the community. The parking lots on Ave Z and Voorhies are always
    packed to the brim. Private homes are being converted into offices and
    condos. A pretty glass building that reflects light from a distance would
    enhance the skyline of the area. The parking would help local businesses

    Look at the area around Shore Road/West 8th/McDonald Ave that runs from
    Neptune Ave to Ave X. It’s a practical wasteland of empty lots. That’s not
    what Sheepshead should ever become or look like.

  9. Is it really 20 stories? Christ that IS excessive. I hope it’s not 20

    No parking variance should be allowed. That’s one of the problems. If a
    building goes up it can’t be allowed to skip or avoid the parts that are
    supposed to help and improve the area. If they go for something like that
    I’d be 100% opposed.

  10. The needs of the many is the community. The needs of the few are they delevlopers. Does this help the developer or community more?

  11. Not quite 20. It’s 14, but that is still too high for this area especially without adequate parking. I also don’t know who will want to live on top of a train.

  12. I agree, 14 is too high as well, I’d say 10 on the far side, but if I had to
    be honest I’d say before I could make a final decision I’d want to see
    scaled mockups either digitally or in model form to see how it really fits
    against the community and any projected future projects.

    As for the train, as long as they soundproof the building properly I don’t
    think the people would mind. On the parking, again, I wouldn’t support any
    new construction that doesn’t add parking to at the very least cover the
    building use, but preferably added space to the community.

  13. A very valid question. The community needs to do everything in their power to influence the developer that buys the property to actually put something of benefit. The project as noted could use some tweaks, perhaps being shorter. The risk of something bad shouldn’t preclude anything at all from being done.

  14. “…1515 Avenue Z, has sat empty for years, a home for stray cats, weeds and construction materials…” What about the semi trailer? I remember the day it appeared there. It’s part of the community now.

  15. Please tell the MTA to sell the train yards because we need to cram even more people into southern Brooklyn. And that ballfield has to go too.

    You would have hated the Sheepshead Bay that Frankie and I grew up in. There were at one time a lot of vacant land here. And many of us were not happy with how that land was eventually used. I remember a time when traffic was not a problem anywhere in Sheepshead Bay. And small businesses did just fine even though there were a lot less people here.

    This is not Manhattan. But years ago we made the mistake of electing officials that did not care about that simple fact. They changed the zoning in the late 1950s to allow more high rise structures.

    We were promised a building moratorium a few years back. Apparently that promise is not being kept.

  16. I don’t get out that often, but in 2003 I visited Seattle. I was a little worried about taking a car to Downtown because I know what Downtown Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn are like. It turned out to be no problem, because in Seattle they don’t believe in occupying every single lot. I was surprised to find out that only about 50% of the land was occupied by skyscrapers and plazas. The other 50% was parking lots, and only a handful of multi-level garages. If you parked three blocks away from the center, the prices were quite reasonable. Of course there were plenty of buses too.

    Now you would think with so many people driving because of all those places to park, that rush hour traffic would be horrendous. It wasn’t. At 2 PM, there was hardly any cars on the street. During rush hours, about 15 cars per lane would queue for the light. All loading was done off-street, and there was no such thing as double-parking. Sounds to me like the City was planned right.

    Maybe we could learn a lesson, but it seems like it’s too late for that here. Here if there is an empty lot, even not in Downtown but in places like Sheepshead Bay, we have to put something there, and not put in the requisite parking or provide for delivery areas. Any wonder why we have congestion especially when we also keep replacing one-family houses with six-story condos?

  17. If there were raccoons in there the cats wouldn’t be there.

    At any rate, wildlife is bad. Our species believe that only we have the right to exist. So we eradicate other species in any way we can.

    The raccoons here have had very little impact. Most people are barely aware of them. Same with the possums. And the skunks.

  18. Not necessarily so, Lisanne. On my street, we have the cat lady, feeding a bunch of strays, we also have at least one racoon and a possum. They live together very well. Thank goodness they are not near my house. I don’t appreciate them.

  19. Cats and possums get along. My experience has been that cats and raccoons do not. I’ve heard that raccoons have killed cats.

  20. I bet Seattle has zoning laws that protect neighborhoods that have one and two story houses.

    Of course here we won’t even wait for a vacant lot, as you point out we replace single family housing with multiple family housing. And the zoning for that sort of development includes more properties than it did 50 years ago.

    Brooklyn had desired this sort of development as early as 1871. The Commissioners Plan of that year, which defined a street grid pattern for the entire County of Kings was design to encourage tight development. Apartment houses of the scale we find common now were being built in Brooklyn in the 1880s. The first southern developments in Flatbush were suburban in nature. But by the end of the 1880s the beginnings of urbanized concentration of population could be seen in New Utrecht. Gravesend and Flatlands managed to retained their rural character into the 1920s, parts of both were undeveloped even as late as the 1960s. But the modern mentality seems to be that we have to cram as many people into every space as financial resources will allow.


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