Craig Montalbano is turning property that has been in his family for decades into something he hopes can transform the community he grew up in for the better.
A new 10-story building soaring above Bushwick will not only be the highest structure in the area, apart from Wyckoff Hospital, it would also offer additional space to the medical center and providing housing for newcomers to Bushwick.
“I grew up right here on this block,” Montalbano said. “I’m probably one of the first of my friends who grew up around here who came back. When I came back everybody said, ‘Oh, I don’t know’; now everybody is saying, ‘How can I get back?’”
The property at 371 Stockholm St. has been in the Montalbano family since 1972 and once had a church rectory, before becoming a parking lot. After retiring from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Montalbano has returned to the neighborhood from Middle Village to complete his first building project from the ground up.
Comprised of mainly two-bedroom units, Montalbano is aiming to accommodate the millennial crowd new to the area who are more “nomadic” than earlier generations in the neighborhood and constantly moving depending on which buildings have the best amenities.
“It’s constantly, constantly trying to keep up with the latest stuff,” Montalbano said. “It’s very, very challenging.”
The building features a four-story underground garage, a gym, lounge and a roof terrace.
There is a total of 27 units, 22 two-bedroom and five three-bedrooms, and has space for a medical facility on the first floor.
Montalbano said the medical space will either be used for support services or a training facility for the hospital.
Two penthouses will have rooftop gardens, Montalbano said, which goes along with views of Wyckoff Avenue which he said is slated for aesthetic improvements to the lighting and sidewalks from Councilman Rafael Espinal.
Montalbano said the announcement that the L train would not be shut down for 15 months came as a relief with the “Now Leasing” sign having just gone up and many people having already fled communities along the Canarsie line.