City Planning Hears Application for New Office Building in Borough Park

Rendering of the proposed new office building at 5802-5806 16th Avenue, Brooklyn. Image Credit: NYC CPC

The building will house the company’s administrative functions. On December 2, 2020, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing for an application from Chartwell Pharmaceuticals to build a new office building at 5802 – 5806 16th Avenue in Borough Park, Brooklyn. The application would rezone a residential district to a commercial district to facilitate the construction of a five-story office building. There are currently three mixed-use buildings whose current tenants have already agreed to vacate.

Chartwell Pharmaceuticals is a Brooklyn-based pharmaceuticals manufacturing, packaging and supply chain company. The company’s drug manufacturing occurs in a plant in Congers, New York. While the company has smaller offices along 16th Avenue and in the Borough Park area, the majority of the administrative functions occur at the upstate factory.

Chartwell is proposing to construct a five-story office building that would consolidate its administrative functions into one location within the Borough Park neighborhood, where many of its employees live. The manufacturing division of the company would remain at the Congers location upstate. The proposed location is currently zoned for residential use with a limited commercial overlay. The existing buildings also exceed as-of-right floor area limits but are considered legally non-conforming since the buildings predate the current zoning.

Both Brooklyn Community Board 12 and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams disapproved of the application. Borough President Adams recommended the applicant seek property in nearby commercial or manufacturing districts that would allow the proposed office building to be completed as-of-right or more likely to receive approval for a commercial rezoning.

In response to Borough President Adams’ concerns, the applicants stated that after five years of searching there was no existing place within the area that could serve the company’s needs as of right, and moving out of the area defeated the purpose of consolidating. Seeking a smaller commercial zoning would also limit the floor area ratio or impose parking requirements that were not necessary, as many of the company’s employees already live within the Borough Park area and would be within walking distance of the new office building.

Three employees of Chartwell testified in support of the application, and discussed the benefits of having the building within the Borough Park neighborhood. No other members of the public testified spoke at the hearing.

The City Planning Commission will vote on the application on a later date.

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)


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