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Renderings of 285 Grand Street, a Passive House under construction in Williamsburg (Corcoran) Renderings of 285 Grand Street, a Passive House under construction in Williamsburg (Corcoran)
As the general public becomes more aware of the likely-disastrous effects of climate change, a growing share of builders is doing their part to ensure the next generation of buildings are more sustainable and energy conscious. At 285 Grand Street in Williamsburg, Blue Zees Real Estate has finished construction on a Passive House condo with ground-floor retail and two spacious residences above.
285-Grand-Street-Passive House 285 Grand Street as of November 2019 with its new COR-TEN steel facade installed (CityRealty)
Earlier this week, the building's 'Villa One' came online. The capacious four-bedroom spread is one-of-a-kind for its grand proportions on still the humble and fun Grand Street. From its 18-foot ceilings to its 50 feet of street- and yard-facing frontage, the 2,204 ft2 three-bedroom opens onto 1,183 square feet of private outdoor space. Though the unit is located on the second floor of the four-story project, the home is accessed by a private keyed elevator which opens onto a great room measuring 41 feet wide. There are wide-plan oak floors throughout, three full baths plus powder room, and a Scavolini kitchen with Gaggenau appliances, Caesarstone countertops, and temperature-controlled wine storage. The master bath feature deep cast iron soaking tub and Dornbracht fixtures. The home also includes 100 square feet of private storage.
285 Grand Street
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285 Grand Street
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285 Grand Street
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285 Grand Street
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Brooklyn condos
While this residence doesn't quite embody efficient and compact urban living, its Passive House construction will surely lend its occupant a lighter carbon footprint, especially when compared to a similar-sized home in the suburbs. The home also comes with an eye-watering price tag of $3,500,000 (1,588 per ft2).
Developer Blue Zees, led by James Stock and Steven van der Zwan, filed construction permits in early 2014 and tapped David Berridge Architects for the eye-catching design which provides a COR-TEN steel facade made out of 13 joined vertical metal sections. Clusters of awning-shaded windows puncture the rusty front which was fabricated by Maloya Metal Fabication & Manufacturing.
A retail brochure from Lee & Associates shows that the ground and cellar levels will accommodate two skylit retail spaces. Above "Villa One", is a duplex apartment whose top floor is greatly setback from the street, resulting in a terrace.
Villa One's listing makes no mention of the building officially going for Passive House certification. The rigorous, German-born standard is said to deliver up to a 90% reduction in heating and cooling demand and up to a 75% reduction in overall energy use when compared to most existing buildings. Rooted in a nearly-airtight exterior envelope, the standard results in a highly-insulated building with ultra-efficient heating and cooling systems, low energy bills, and tranquil interiors. Last year, we tallied that there are now more than 100 current and forthcoming Passive House projects Passive House projects in New York City.
Brooklyn passive house in Wiliamsburg
285-Grand-Street-04 285 Grand Street's insulated facade in 2018 before the COR-TEN steel front was applied

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