Local Pols Back Passionate Park Slopers Fighting for Affordability at Key Food Site

Park Slopers heckled developer Avery Hall Investments at a February meeting. Photo by Hannah Frishberg

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Irate Park Slopers have won over local politicians in their fight for more affordable apartments and a larger supermarket for the planned development at 120 5th Avenue, currently the site of a large and relatively inexpensive Key Food grocery store.

In a March 7 letter addressed to New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been and New York City Planning Commission Chairman Carl Weisbrod, local elected officials expressed that they are “deeply concerned” developer Avery Hall Investment’s project will be allowed to move forward without changing the plan. The pols called for HPD to require a higher quantity of affordable units at the site rented at a lower percentage of the average median income.

The signatories — including council members Brad Lander and Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer and Borough President Eric Adams — request that HPD and City Planning “agree not to approve a modification of the urban renewal plan” that does not conform to a list of goals they lay out in the letter, DNA reported.

Avery Hall is in contract for the property — a single-story, 36,000-square-foot Key Food in north Park Slope — with plans to redevelop it as a mixed-use, mixed-income complex designed by SLCE. Construction would begin in 2017 and take an estimated two years.

The store would be replaced by two buildings — a six-story building and a four-story building — with some 180 subterranean parking spots beneath, 52,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor, 165 rental apartments (41 affordable), a public pedestrian plaza, and a 7,500-square-foot grocery store.

Key food Park Slope

The planned development for the 5th Avenue Key Food site. Rendering from Avery Hall Investments via Curbed

The community may feel a particular attachment to this site, having fought for and won a 1981 urban renewal plan that governs its height variance and redevelopment conditions. Named the Baltic Street Urban Renewal Plan, this set of constraints would need to be altered to allow for Avery Hall’s proposed development.

HPD — which has control over the site and plan — has indicated that it is prepared to allow changes to the Baltic Street Urban Renewal Plan, s0 long as 25 percent of the units are affordable. Many Park Slopers and officials argue, however, that this is not enough.

“While we agree that the creation of new affordable housing is a critical goal,” the March 7 letter articulates, “we cannot support any change to the urban renewal plan that does not also require the long-term maintenance of a sizable affordable supermarket on the site.”

As well, officials want to see the affordability of units deepened and ensured to remain permanently affordable so as to avoid potential future evictions or an expiration crisis.

The letter, while noting that Park Slope has changed significantly since the Baltic Street plan’s approval 35 years ago, emphasizes that an affordable supermarket is still a key asset to the community, especially in light of the recent closures of the Gowanus Pathmark and the Smith Street Met Foods.

Key food park slope

Photo via Save the 5th Avenue Key Food/Facebook

[Source: DNA]

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