The new building is intended to revitalize a largely vacant block along Pacific Street in Brooklyn. On May 2, 2019, the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises voted to approve a rezoning of the western portion of a block bounded by Pacific Street to the north, Dean Street to the south, Franklin Avenue to the east, and Classon Avenue to the west in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. The applicant proposed to rezone the area from a manufacturing district, M1-1, to a mixed-use residential and manufacturing district, M1-4/R7A. The rezoning will facilitate a new eight-story development at 1050 Pacific Street with 103 residential units and ground floor commercial space. The development is located a block away from 1010 Pacific Street and is also part of Brooklyn Community Board 8 and Department of City Planning’s M Crown study.
The rezoning area is comprised of ten full lots and two partial lots which currently support a one-story warehouse, a three-story residential building with a ground floor restaurant and open storage, and a truck parking lot on the applicant’s site. The majority of the lots on this block are either vacant or open space. Existing M1-1 zoning allows light industrial, commercial, and community facility uses. The applicant’s proposed rezoning will allow residential buildings of seven to nine stories, a portion of which could be utilized for commercial space or light industrial uses.
On the applicant’s 23,180 square-foot lot, the applicant proposes to build an eight-story building with 103 two-bedroom units, 33 of which would be permanently affordable pursuant to MIH Option 2. MIH Option 2 requires that 30 percent of the residential floor area be set aside for residents with incomes averaging 80 percent of the AMI.
The development would be constructed with two residential portions rising to eight stories along Dean and Pacific Streets, connected by an interior landscaped courtyard. The approximately 15,790 square feet of ground floor would be largely commercial, with 25 percent of the floor area set aside for light industrial uses. The interior courtyard would be open to the public. The commercial portion is meant to attract small local retailers. The building will also feature 42 parking spaces at the cellar level, and 50 bicycle parking spaces.
Community Board Recommendation
On December 13, 2018, Brooklyn Community Board 8 voted 24 in favor, none opposed, and one abstaining, to approve the application with conditions. The conditions were that the properties along Classon Avenue be excluded from the rezoning area, that the applicant develop the project pursuant to a lower-density residential zoning, that the applicant pursue MIH Option 1 instead of Option 2, and that some of the floor area be set aside for light industrial uses pursuant to the M Crown study.
Borough President Recommendation
On February 7, 2019, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams also issued a recommendation to approve the application with conditions. Borough President Adams’ conditions also included limiting the rezoning area to exclude the Classon Avenue properties, requesting that City Council obtain written commitments from the applicant for a lower-density residential rezoning, additional floor area set-aside for non-residential use, and MIH Option 1. The Borough President also recommended obtaining commitments from the applicant for an increase in family-sized units, outreach to senior households earning up to 40 percent AMI under MIH Option 1, utilization of locally-based non-profits as administering agent for the affordable housing, exploring additional resiliency and sustainability measures, and retention of Brooklyn-based contractors and subcontracts, especially MWBEs and LBEs, among other recommendations.
City Planning Commission Consideration
At the City Planning Commission hearing of February 13, 2019, the Commissioners asked the applicant team to comment on the selection of MIH Option 2 for this project and whether a portion of the ground floor would be set aside for industrial uses. Applicant attorney Richard Lobel stated that Option 2 was selected after careful consideration of what would be appropriate given the building amenities, and that the type of industrial user appropriate for this development is being determined with community board input.
On April 8, 2019, the City Planning Commission voted to approve the application with Commissioner Cappelli voting against and Commissioner Burney abstaining.
Council Subcommittee Hearing and Vote
On April 16, 2019, the Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises held a public hearing on the application. Ethel Tyus, Brooklyn Community Board 8’s Land Use Committee Chair, and Community Board member Gib Veconi, were the only members of the public who testified. Veconi stated that Community Board 8 wants the development to support the M Crown vision. Veconi also stated that while the community board was supportive of two-bedroom units at this development, it had voted in favor of the application on the condition that MIH Option 1 would be utilized. Tyus stated that the community board wants the rezoning area to be limited to the applicant’s site and not all of the 12 lots as proposed, and asked the Council to take into consideration the impact that selection of MIH Option 1 will have on the community.
Council Member and Majority Leader Cumbo responded that while she respected their concerns regarding MIH Option 1, the development was a great opportunity for families in the neighborhood given that it will be entirely comprised of two-bedrooms. Cumbo applauded the community board members for their work and said she looked forward to developing the vision of the M Crown proposal with Community Board 8. On May 2, 2019, the Subcommittee voted to approve the application, which will be voted on by the full Council at a later date.
By: Viktoriya Gray (Viktoriya is the CityLaw Fellow and New York Law School Graduate, Class of 2018).