CPC Hears Application for Ten-Story Mixed Use Building in Greenpoint

Rendering of 840 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn. Image Credit: CPC.

The building will feature retail, commercial and residential uses to replace a manufacturing warehouse. On March 16, 2022, the City Planning Commission held a public hearing for an application that would facilitate the construction of a ten-story mixed use residential and commercial building at 840 Lorimer Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The requested rezoning site is the six southernmost lots on the block with Nassau Avenue to the north, Manhattan Avenue to the east, Driggs Avenue to the south and Lorimer Street and McCarren Park to the west. The project site will occupy three of the six lots, replacing an old manufacturing warehouse owned by the applicant, Zucker Enterprises, LLC. Sheldon Lobel, P.C. represented the applicant.

The building would have 74 units, including twelve studios, 20 one-bedroom, 35 two-bedroom, and seven three-bedroom units. Nineteen units will be made permanently affordable under Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Option 1, which requires that 25 percent of the building’s floor area be reserved for units that are permanently affordable at an average of 60 percent area median income (AMI). 

The building will also feature parking for 30 cars between the cellar and the ground floor. The ground floor will contain two retail spaces, the entrance to the parking garage, and the residential lobby. The second floor will contain commercial space, residential amenities, and an outdoor courtyard. The third floor will contain additional commercial space space and several residential units. The remaining floors will all be residential, and are set back starting from the fourth floor and up. The building’s facade is a mix of large glass windows and masonry. 

To facilitate the project, the applicants are requesting a rezoning from a mixed manufacturing and residential district with a commercial overlay to a larger commercial district that permits and includes residential uses. The requested commercial district has an equivalent residential zoning that has a slightly larger permitted floor area ratio than the residential zoning of the adjacent blocks to the north and east. The applicants noted that there were other high density buildings along the edge of McCarren Park, ranging from seven to 18 stories, but none of those buildings were developed to include mandatory inclusionary housing.

Brooklyn Community Board 1 issued a conditional unfavorable recommendation, citing issues with the building’s facade which the community board felt was out of place with the rest of the neighborhood, provided funding for McCarren Park, removing two of the Manhattan Avenue lots that are part of the requested rezoning, and requesting more affordable units within the building, among other issues. 

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso issued a conditional favorable recommendation, which requested that the applicant change the proposed rezoning from the commercial district with a residential equivalent to the residential equivalent with a commercial overlay; to refrain from using “big-box” stores as the retail options on the lower two floors; to install rain gardens along Driggs Avenue and/or Lorimer Street in coordination with city agencies; and to commit to further community engagement to determine appropriate commercial uses as the building is at an important intersection near McCarren Park. 

At the public hearing, Chair Dan Garodnick asked about the context of the size of the buildings in the surrounding area. Mr. Lobel discussed how the current zoning would allow for a building that is approximately one story less, or only five feet shorter than the height of the proposed building. Proceeding as-of-right would generate fewer units overall, including fewer units of affordable housing. The applicant team also discussed the shadow study of the building’s impact, which showed that there was only a limited impact of the shadow on McCarren Park in the early mornings for short durations of time, which did not impact growing seasons. 

No members of the public testified regarding this application.

The City Planning Commission will vote on the application at 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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