Borough President Wants Height Reduction at Controversial 80 Flatbush Development

The proposed building site. Photo by Susan De Vries

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The Brooklyn Borough President has weighed in.

Last Friday, Eric Adams released his recommendation for the controversial 80 Flatbush Avenue development, following a public hearing on April 30. His main concerns are with the bulk and height, along some aspects of the affordable housing. He voted to disapprove, with modifications/conditions.

The proposed development, which will occupy a whole block, calls for two towers, 900 apartments — including 200 affordable units — and two schools. It is being developed by Alloy Development in collaboration with the city’s Educational Construction Fund and community nonprofit Fifth Avenue Committee.

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The Khalil Gibran school at 362 Schermerhorn Street. Photo by Susan De Vries

“Development should acknowledge the height of nearby buildings fronting Flatbush Avenue, State Street, and 3rd Avenue,” Adams’ statement says, adding that the height of the 3rd Avenue building would exceed nearby 66 Rockwell Place as well as the Williamsburg Savings Bank Tower.

The tallest of of the two towers will reach 74 stories and 986 feet if the rezoning is approved. (To put that in perspective, Brooklyn’s coming supertall at nearby 9 Dekalb will rise 1,066 feet.)

Adams recommends that the height of the 3rd Avenue building be 600 feet instead of its planned 920 feet. Without a rezoning, the developers can build “as of right” up to 400 feet.

Rendering via Alloy Development

Rendering via Alloy Development

For the housing, Adams suggests a provision that guarantees nearly 50 percent of the units be two and three bedrooms, “in order to accommodate a greater percentage of families with children.” He also wants to enable more affordable units that would be available to seniors, including the formerly homeless.

Other recommendations include adding subway access to the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station in the space designated for ground-floor retail, rain gardens and solar panels among other sustainability measures, and a commitment to a rat-baiting plan.

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The intersection of Flatbush and Lafayette avenues and Schermerhorn Streets. Photo by Susan De Vries

The borough president’s recommendation is part of the lengthy public review process known as ULURP. At the end of March, there was a tense public hearing about the project in front of Community Board 2. On May 9, the full community board voted against the project.

The proposal went in front of City Planning on May 13, and they have 60 days to review it before it moves to City Council.

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