Residential Project Adjacent to Brooklyn’s Broadway Triangle Approved by the City Planning Commission

Credit: Karl Fischer Architect

Developer plans to build two, eight-story buildings on Walton Street between Union and Marcy Avenues. On July 25, 2012, the City Planning Commission approved Walton Realty Associates’ proposal to develop a two-building residential project at 59 Walton Street in South Williamsburg. Walton Realty would demolish a low-rise storage and distribution facility on Walton Street between Union and Marcy Avenues and build two, eight-story buildings. The buildings would rise up to 80 feet and provide a total of 69 apartments, including 14 units of affordable housing.

To facilitate the development, Walton Realty requested that the City rezone three blocks bounded by Middleton Street and Union and Marcy Avenues. The northern block between Middleton and Lorimer Streets and Union and Marcy Avenues would be rezoned from M1-2 to R6A. The two southern blocks, which include the project site on Walton Street would be rezoned from M3-1 to R7A and R7A/C2-4. Walton Realty also requested that the City apply the inclusionary housing program to the R7A and R7A/C2-4 district on the block bounded by Lorimer and Walton Streets in order to use the inclusionary housing floor area ratio (FAR) bonus for the project.

Brooklyn Community Board 1 approved the proposal by a 16-11-4 vote. The community board, however, requested that Walton Realty guarantee in writing that the project would be developed under the inclusionary housing program and that it would include sustainable building components. CB 1 also requested that the C2-4 commercial overlay also be applied to the east side of Union Avenue. Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz recommended approval, but also sought a guarantee that Walton Realty would provide affordable housing through the inclusionary housing program, or by making the project affordable to households earning between 130 and 165 percent of area median income.

59 Walton Street today.

At the Planning Commission public hearing on June 20, 2012, Walton Realty’s representative, Eldad Gothelf of Herrick, Feinstein LLP, testified that the rezoning would bring the majority of the surrounding uses into conformance with the zoning resolution. Gothelf said that, preliminarily, the proposal is expected to contain a total of 18 one-bedroom, 23 two-bedroom 13 three-bedroom, and 15 four-bedroom apartments. In response to a question from Commissioner Ana Levin about the project’s affordable housing component, Gothelf said that Walton Realty’s goal was to use the bonus and provide the affordable housing on site. Gothelf said that if for some reason Walton Realty was unable to utilize the inclusionary housing bonus, the project would be built at the base FAR and rents would be set to serve households at 130 percent of the area median income. Rabbi David Niederman, of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg Inc., testified in support, stating that the rezoning would provide opportunities to develop housing on the surrounding blocks.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the proposal, finding that the proposed R6A and R7A districts would be consistent with the adjacent area. The rezoning would also reinforce the existing development in the subject area, which is characterized by residential buildings between four- to seven-stories in height built pursuant to variances from the Board of Standards & Appeals. The Planning Commission noted that applying the inclusionary housing program to the area could facilitate the development of up to 65 affordable housing units.

The proposal must still be reviewed by the City Council.

CPC: 59 Walton Street Rezoning & Text Amendment (C 100041 ZMK – rezoning); (N 100042 ZRK – text amendment) (July 25, 2012) (Architect: Karl Fischer Architect).

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