CB2 Hearing on “Out of Context” Downtown Development Wednesday Evening

The Brooklyn Heights Association and others are urging local residents to attend Community Board 2’s public hearing at 6:00 PM this Wednesday, March 28 at St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, on the appliction by a developer to build two residential towers, one 74 and one 38 stories, on a site bordered by Flatbush Avenue, Scheremrhorn and State streets, and Third Avenue. For renderings of the proposed buildings see here (the aerial rendering shows the even taller 9 DeKalb, on which construction began last year, in the background).

Although the site is some distance from Brooklyn Heights, the BHA and some local residents believe opposition is necessary because approval would signal openness to more dense residential development in the Downtown area, straining local infrastructure and blocking sunlight. Also, Third Avenue could be a major route for trucks diverted from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, if necessary, during the reconstruction of the cantilevered portion below the Heights.

Those who attend are invited to speak. You will need to sign up to speak when you enter, and speeches are limited to two minutes.

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  • aarrrrrimapirate

    Oh give me a break. BHA should mind its own business and drop it with the straight up NIYBY-ism (not in your backyard-ism). This building will bring a bunch of sorely needed affordable housing and TWO schools. And its situated above more subway lines than you can shake a stick at. There are few places in the city more suitable for residential (or any kind of) development than Downtown Brooklyn. Opposing a great project because it could “signal openness to more residential development” is insanity.

    Linking in the BQE traffic onto Third Ave. is just conjecture too – especially when the plan has been all along to not totally cut off traffic during reconstruction.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Not disagreeing with the overall point about NIYBY-ism, but I’m not sure why we should believe the developer’s own claims about building schools or “affordable housing”, which as I understand it is a DeBlasian-era euphemism for luxury condominiums priced slightly lower and entered in a crazy lottery system to attract, say, financial brokers who have not yet made Partner.

  • CassieVonMontague

    I agree. More and more high-income jobs are coming to NYC and if we don’t build housing in downtown those employees will both push up prices and compete with residents for our shrinking housing supply in the neighborhood.

    And the “out of context” claim about the buildings is laughable. That area is such a hub for tall buildings, there’s even a tall building across from where these will be called the Hub.

    I like how they are keeping the Khalil Gibran International Academy building

  • Reggie

    According to the press release announcing that the Fifth Avenue Committee will develop and own the 200 “affordable” units, it states that the apartments will be permanently affordable at an average of 60% of Area Median Income or lower, including 10% at 40% of AMI. That’s better than most projects these days.

  • Jorale-man

    I’m with the BHA on this one. The subway system, even with multiple lines, can’t handle the current crush of riders that it currently is straining under. Traffic in the corridor around Flatbush and Tillary is also a congested quagmire. Why add to this mess?

    More broadly, I don’t buy the premise that NYC needs more housing. Every city has its limits. Population growth shouldn’t be an inevitable ingredient for a high quality of life for residents.

    That being said, real estate developers have free reign in NYC and there’s little that ever stops them.

  • libertyftw

    Agree with the high income jobs, but it isn’t like other areas nearby don’t need the development more than downtown does. There’s a big need for housing near Jay and Tillary or Flatbush & Duffield…those buildings (already big and partially vacant) need upgrades and it would attract people that could split the congestion on subway lines.

  • CassieVonMontague

    I don’t see how these buildings affect development where there is a need. The areas you mention are seeing large developments. There is a tall building, the Amberley, almost finished at Jay & Concord. A 13-story building is planned for Flatbush & Duffield

    I don’t understand what you mean by the surrounding buildings needing upgrades. The corners you mention are surrounded by condos such as Concord Village, hotels and City Tech.

  • libertyftw

    The Amberley is the only one there that would be a target for those HNW people moving in, and I didn’t know about the Flatbush & Duffield building. Thanks for posting.

    Considering the already existing vacancies in these and the ones downtown, it looks like we don’t need these developments after all.

  • Cranberry Beret

    The schools are an obvious ploy to win public opinion. Don’t be misled.

    Have you heard the School Construction Authority say they’ve identified a need for two schools in this district but don’t have the money to build them? Nope.

    “Two new schools” is a nice soundbite but don’t give away the farm for nothing.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    What “area”? And if it’s median, then one or two millionaires should push things nicely out of control for any acceptable metric of “affordable”.

  • Bob Grobe

    Reggie notes that the MEDIAN income is being used.

    As a supporter of affordable housing efforts I want to see planners using the MEDIAN income—it is the best “average” measure for a group of people with a wide range of incomes.

    The median is the midpoint of a range so it divides a group in half REGARDLESS of the size of individual values. The median of the income group below is $27,500 whereas the mean is $642,250:

    $10,000; $20,000; $30,000; $25,000; $22,000; $31,000; $2,000,000; $3,000,000

    It’s not the case that a few millionaires will throw off the “affordable” range.

  • Roberto Gautier

    Jorale-man makes valid points. I recommend that we look at the work of a zoning activists like humanscale.nyc. It puts out important videos for those interested in boning up on the issue. Many see the explosive appearance of megatowers as “harmful to the ecosystem of the larger community – privatizing light and air for the very richest and leaving the rest in shadow.” And, of course, it is not only the wealthy among us who oppose making NYC look like Dubai.