Loft development approved

New mixed-use development at 470 Vanderbilt Avenue. Image: Courtesy Goldstein Hill & West Architects/ Costas Kondylis & Partners.

Project will provide 376 residential units, 616,555 sq.ft. of commercial floor area, and up to 397 underground parking spaces. The City Council approved GFI Development Company’s proposal to build a new 12-story mixed-use building and expand and renovate an existing 10- story loft building located on a full block bounded by Fulton Street and Vanderbilt, Atlantic, and Clermont Avenues in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. The loft building is mostly vacant, containing only limited telecommunications uses.

GFI will convert the loft building’s ground floor to retail space and fill in its interior courtyards to increase available commercial space. The new mixed-use building will replace an accessory surface parking lot and provide 376 residential units, 85 of which will be affordable. The new building will have a 69- foot base height along Fulton Street and will rise to a mid-block height of 133 feet through a series of setbacks. It will also provide 32,358 sq.ft. of ground floor retail space and a two-story, 397-space accessory parking garage below the new building.

To facilitate the project, GFI submitted multiple applications, including rezoning the site from an M1-1 and R6/C2-3 district to a C6-3A district. The C6-3A district permits larger retail stores than allowed under the prior zoning and its building envelope more adequately reflects the loft building, which ranges from 94 to 135 feet. GFI applied for bulk regulation waivers to increase design flexibility in response to the block’s irregular shape and requested that an Inclusionary Housing Program-designated area adopted for the Fort Greene/Clinton Hill rezoning in 2007 be extended one block to include the project site.

After the City Planning Commission’s public hearing on July 22, 2009, GFI revised its proposal to allow up to 60,000 sq. ft. of the loft building to be used as community facility space. The revised proposal reflected communications between GFI and two public schools that may be interested in relocating to the site. The Commission unanimously approved the revised proposal.

At the Council’s Zoning & Franchises Subcommittee hearing, Council Member Letitia James, whose district includes the project site, expressed her support for the application, noting that it would provide affordable housing and encourage commercial development along Fulton Street.

The Subcommittee and Land Use Committee approved the plan, and the full Council followed suit on September 30, 2009.

Review Process:
Lead Agency: CPC,Neg.Dec.
Comm.Bd.: BK 2,App’d, 38-0-0
Boro.Pres.: App’d
CPC: App’d, 11-0-0
Council: App’d, 48-0-3

Council: 470 Vanderbilt (C 090443 ZSK – spec. perm.); (C 090441 ZMK – rezoning); (N 090442 ZRK – text amend.) (Sept. 30, 2009).

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