Residential and commercial complex approved

Two four-story residential buildings approved after reduction in size and addition of commercial space. Southside Realty Holdings LLC, owner of an L-shaped group of eight lots located at 291 Kent Avenue in a Williamsburg manufacturing district, sought a variance in 2003 to construct two 11-story residential towers, totaling 122,905 sq.ft., and underground parking. The Planning Commission and Brooklyn Community Board 1 both opposed the application due to the site’s adjacency to the Domino Sugar Plant, the only remaining industrial use on the East River waterfront.

Supporting its application, Southside submitted studies comparing the 11-story towers to as-of-right office and manufacturing uses, concluding that the lot’s narrow width, odd-shape, and grade slope rendered office and manufacturing developments infeasible. Access to the lot was difficult, Southside argued, due to its frontage on narrow streets. BSA asked Southside to submit supplemental analyses studying whether a smaller residential use, a parking lot, or a mixed residential and commercial use were viable alternatives to the large residential towers. Community opponents submitted a competing analysis, which concluded that a parking lot would yield a reasonable return.

Five significant reductions to the proposal followed, resulting in a final proposed development of two, four-story residential buildings, one 3,212 square-foot commercial building along Kent Avenue and a 29-space accessory parking lot within the rear yard. BSA approved the significantly reduced proposal, finding that the site had unique constraints and, with the reduction, the development was the minimum necessary to grant relief to the developer. With the expected closing of the Domino Sugar Plant, BSA no longer objected to approving an adjacent residential use.

BSA: 291 Kent Avenue (102-03-BZ) (March 8, 2005) (Jordan F. Most, Sheldon Lobel, P.C., for Southside Realty Holdings LLC). CITYADMIN

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