Brooklyn leads NYC in demolition permits — by a wide margin

More than 400 buildings in the borough were slated for a wrecking ball last year

275 Atlantic Avenue (Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal with Getty Images, Thomson200/CC0/via Wikimedia Commons)
275 Atlantic Avenue (Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal with Getty Images, Thomson200/CC0/via Wikimedia Commons)

When it comes to demolitions in New York City, Brooklyn’s pile of rubble leaves the other four boroughs in the dust.

Data from the New York City Department of Buildings show that Brooklyn far outpaces the rest of the city in both the number of permits issued for demolitions and the number of building stories to be demolished in each of the last two years.

An analysis by The Real Deal shows that more than 400 approved demolition permits were approved in Kings County last year, over a hundred more projects than in second-ranked Queens. Those 426 demolition permits account for nearly 900 stories of buildings destined for a wrecking ball.

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Behind Brooklyn’s 426 approved demolition permits, Queens had 293, the Bronx had 192, Staten Island had 135 and Manhattan had 112.

In sheer volume, Brooklyn also had the most building stories to be knocked down with 883. Queens had the second most with 493, while Manhattan had 390, the Bronx 378 and Staten Island had 214.

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Slightly fewer demolition permits were approved last year compared to 2021, 4.7 percent year-over-year decrease. Manhattan was the only borough that saw more permits approved, jumping 13.1 percent from 99 in 2021 to 112 last year.

The rest of the outer boroughs saw demolition permits fall. The Bronx saw the largest decrease at 11.1 percent, while Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn saw decreases of 10.9 percent, 7.5 percent and 7.2 percent, respectively.

Demolition activity was most prevalent near the Northwestern Brooklyn waterfront, with Dumbo, Vinegar Hill, Downtown Brooklyn and Boerum Hill combining for 127 stories set for demolition with across 27 applications.

The largest building to be demolished is the 11-story Brooklyn Detention Complex at 275 Atlantic Avenue, which will be rebuilt as a much larger complex as part of a de Blasio administration plan to close Rikers Island and replace it with city jails in each borough. Demolition contractor North Star is handling the teardown.

The Rikers Closure also accounts for a large demolition permit in Queens. The eight-story Queens Detention Center at 126-02 82nd Avenue in Kew Gardens will be demolished to make way for a community center and 800-bed jail by the end of the decade.

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