Should Crown Heights’ Manufacturing Zone Be Rezoned for Residential?

608-614 franklin dev site crown heights

As rents surge in Crown Heights, pressure is mounting on Community Board 8 to rezone again to permit housing in the industrial-only area there, if we read between the lines of a story by WNYC correctly. The story quotes one area business owner and one community board member who support the idea of permitting residential housing on top of factories. (It also quotes the city’s head of housing and economic development, Alicia Glen, as favoring the plan, but the quote sounds like she was speaking about rezoning the city’s protected industrial zones in general, not Crown Heights in particular.)

The neighborhood was rezoned only a year ago, and CB 8 has in the past strongly opposed residential development in the manufacturing area, saying it would accelerate gentrification. Above, an eight-story mixed-use (commercial and residential, not manufacturing) building is coming to the site of an old brewery on the corner of Dean and Franklin.

But we would not be surprised if developers and the Mayor are eyeing this spot in Crown Heights for a rezoning to permit more new residential development. Do you think there should be apartments on top of factories in Crown Heights?

There Are Still Places in New York Where You Can’t Build Highrises [WNYC]

9 Comment

  • apartments on top of factories no, rezoning the area yes.

  • Yes. As much as I’m not a fan of Crown Heights (unlike everyone else, but to each their own), NYC has a big housing shortage. Wherever you can build, build.

  • Community Board #8 has taken its responsibility to assess the needs of its neighborhoods seriously. The recent rezoning of Crown Heights specifically EXCLUDED the M-1 zone to allow time for careful consideration of environmental impacts, the desire to maintain a manufacturing zones (jobs) and housing.

    The WNYC piece smacks of speculative real estate interests public relations machine that considers community stakeholders careful evaluation of a significant part of it’s community does not line up with developer’s and real estate brokers interests.

    In 21st century NYC, a variety of jobs and the ability to walk to work are highly prized. There are numerous examples in NYC that when zoning has been changed as the speculative interests named above desire; there is no more manufacturing, only housing. This is community concern that is being carefully addressed.

  • Like so many other pushes for re-zoning this clearly smacks of speculator investors that have already lined up their inventory pushing for the change.
    That said, there is clearly a need for re-zoning because M-1 is too restrictive for todays commercial needs. But that end of the neighborhood; with access to Atlantic Ave for road traffic and also the LIRR & A/C subway etc. also makes it a valuable commercial zone for employment. There are also better areas for residential. Atlantic Ave is obviously going to need to be a bigger high way sooner or later and to put residential that close to highways is not healthy. I know it is done all the time here, because you do not have a National Health system, it does not matter if people have respiratory problems etc. But it is not healthy to house people next to highways.

  • The above photo looks like it is part of the brewery, which is already zoned in a way that allows residential.

    I can’t think of anything wrong with people having to get their cars repaired in a less prime area. For fun, when the rezoning is done, it should include some incentives for affordable housing.

    …we can then watch the developers turn down the incentives because affordable housing will only be built if it is the most profitable use, and the incentives aren’t that powerful.

  • There are many artists and small manufacturers that need this type of zoning. We’ve seen similar situations in Dumbo and the Navy Yard. Lofts that were formally occupied by carpenters, artists etc turned into high end condos. The previous tenants thrown out of their spaces desperately trying to find a new space that they can afford. Affordable studios like affordable housing is becoming a sparse commodity. Maybe we should protect it.