313-Unit Housing Project to Front Coney Island Boardwalk

First unsubsidized project built in Coney Island in past 50 years gets Commission approval. Coney Island developer, David Weisz & Sons, sought to rezone five lots along Surf Avenue and Coney Island Beach to allow the construction of two seven-story residential condominium towers with 313 market-rate units to be called Ocean Dreams. When compiled, the five lots would comprise a 133,843-square-foot development site stretching from West 35th to West 37th Streets along the Riegelmann Boardwalk.

Weisz currently owns four of the five lots, all of which are vacant. The fifth lot contains a three-story community center that would be demolished to make way for the housing project. With the rezoning (from R5 to R6A), Weisz could increase the project’s height from 40 feet to 70 feet and its permitted floor area limit from 167,303 sq.ft. to 401,529 sq.ft.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, in his comments to the Commission, requested that 20 percent of the units be required to be affordable for moderate and middle-income families. Markowitz requested that sale prices for these 62 units be set at $200,000 to $250,000 for one-bedroom units, $320,000 to $400,000 for two-bedroom units and $380,000 to $400,000 for three-bedroom units.

At the Commission’s August 10, 2005 hearing, the developer claimed to have met with HPD and HDC and found that affordable housing funding programs applied only to rentals or cooperatives and were therefore inapplicable to the project. The developer told the Commission that it would set sale prices at $350,000 to $600,000 and commented that this range would hopefully attract moderate and middle-income families. Weisz stressed that the project was the only market-rate residential project in the immediate area.

Voting to approve on September 14, 2005, Chair Amanda Burden called the project “a harbinger of great things to come for Coney Island.” The full Commission enthusiastically approved, mentioning that the project was the first unsubsidized residential development in Coney Island in over 50 years. The Commission approval noted that 11- and 19- story residential towers were located directly north of Ocean Dreams’ site. No affordable housing requirement was set by the Commission’s approval.

ULURP Process: The Planning Commission, as lead agency, issued a conditional negative declaration on August 8, 2005 and recorded a restrictive declaration against the property requiring additional soil studies.

Community Board 13 recommended approval. In addition to recommending that 20 percent of the housing be set at affordable sales prices, Borough President Markowitz urged the developer to use Brooklyn contractors and material suppliers.

City Council review is pending.

CPC: Ocean Dreams (C 050393 ZMK – map amendment) (September 14, 2005) (Scarano Architects, PLLC). CITYADMIN

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