New mixed-use building okayed after size reduction

Variance will allow 11 new dwellings and ground floor commercial in a manufacturing zone. BSA approved a use variance, permitting a five-story residential development with ground floor commercial on an M1-1 zoned lot with unobstructed views of lower Manhattan at the corner of Columbia and Congress Streets in Brooklyn.

When the project site, two lots totaling 4,773 sq.ft., was purchased by the variance applicants, Isaac, Jacqueline, and Maurice Douek, it contained two vacant four -story residential buildings. Initially intending to rehabilitate the buildings, the applicants let both buildings sit vacant for several years. In 1992, after Buildings issued an unsafe determination, the buildings were demolished, the foundation walls retained, and the entire lot paved.

At the BSA hearing, the applicants argued that the paucity of existing manufacturing use in the immediate area, compounded by the small and irregular shape of the project site, made it impractical to construct manufacturing uses on the site. BSA agreed, highlighting the small size of the subject site and finding that Columbia Street was primarily residential in character. BSA approved a five-story building with 11 dwelling units and ground floor commercial uses, reduced from a six-story, 18- unit proposal. The modifications to the project stemmed from concerns of Brooklyn Community Board 6 and elected officials over the project height and its lack of neighborhood serving retail.

BSA Cal. No. 231-03-BZ (October 5, 2004) (63 & 65 Columbia Street, BK: Janice Cahalane, Sheldon Lobel, P.c., for Douek; Gary Silver, Gary Silver Architects). CITYADMIN


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