Project approved after concerns over potential adverse effects on small businesses addressed. On February 26, 2009, the City Council approved a special permit application to facilitate construction of The Shops at Gateway, a retail shopping center at the corner of Flatlands and Fountain Avenues in East New York, Brooklyn. The developer, Morgan B. Realty LLC, intends to build three one-story buildings with about 230,000 sq.ft. of retail space for approximately 25 commercial tenants. The development site is zoned M1-1, which limits certain retail uses to 10,000 sq.ft. of floor area. The majority of retail stores will range in size from 2,000 – 5,000 sq.ft., but the developer also intends to construct two or three stores larger than 10,000 sq.ft. The special permit allows for larger retail stores because it removes the floor area limitation on some retail and service uses, including variety, clothing, and department stores.
At Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee hearing, Morgan’s attorney, Howard Goldman, stated that the project would benefit the community by providing a wider variety of shops and services than is currently available in the area. He also stated that the City Planning Commission found that the larger retail stores would not adversely affect local businesses, and pointed out that the project would create approximately 700 jobs for local residents. Council Member Charles Barron, whose district includes East New York, stated that he thought the project could have been successful providing only small retail space, and expressed concerns about the negative impact the large stores might have on small businesses. Council Member Larry B. Seabrook asked if the developer had set any goals regarding the use of minority contractors. The developer responded that he was willing to work closely with the community and Barron on this issue. Barron asked that the vote be laid over so that he could meet with the developer for further discussions.
When the Subcommittee reconvened, Barron stated that, after further discussions with the developer, he now supported the proposal. The Subcommittee approved the application, as did the Land Use Committee and full Council.
Lead Agency: CPC,Cond.Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: BK 5, no quorum
CPC: App’d, 9-0-0
Council: App’d, 48-0-1
Council: Shops at Gateway (C 080051 ZSK – spec. perm.) (Feb. 26, 2009).