Councilman, Developer Agree to Shrink Controversial Development 80 Flatbush

The proposed building site. Photo by Susan De Vries

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This morning, the City Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises unanimously voted in favor, with modifications, the controversial development at 80 Flatbush Avenue.

“The original proposal elicited a significant reaction,” said Council Member Stephen Levin during his statement, highlighting the unique challenges faced by the developer because of the site’s location in an area with three zoning contexts.

Alloy Development’s original proposal calls for two towers, 900 apartments — including 200 affordable units — and two schools. As part of the approval, key details of the project have changed. The floor area ratio of 18 initially proposed by the developers had been reduced to 15.75, including the schools. Levin had previously told the Brooklyn Paper that he agreed with local advocates on lowering the floor area ratio to 12. The comprise that was agreed upon falls somewhere in the middle.

City Council Subcommittee Vote. Photo by Craig Hubert

City Council subcommittee vote. Photo by Craig Hubert

The tallest tower has been reduced from 986 to 840 feet, while the smaller tower will shrink from 561 to 510 feet which, Levin noted, makes it smaller than the nearby Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower.

Other modifications include the removal of all loading docks from the State Street side of the development and the promise to keep the original plan for 200 units of affordable housing.

“We’re proud that 80 Flatbush will deliver so many critically needed public benefits and help address the housing crisis,” said Alloy CEO Jared Della Valle in a statement. “We hope the broad support we received for building a dense project in a transit-rich area sends a strong message across the five boroughs: Amid an ongoing housing crisis, New York City needs to be progressive and seize every opportunity for growth in locations that can accommodate it.”

Rendering via Alloy Development

Rendering via Alloy Development

This is the latest step in the city’s ongoing public approval process known as ULURP. The entire City Council will vote next and then the Mayor de Blasio has a five-day window to veto the City Council’s decision or let it stand (the mayor does not have to approve the project).

After the vote, the developers were clearly happy that a comprise had been made. But local advocates don’t necessarily see this as a compromise. “From the beginning, the BHA asked for one tower, a new high school and affordable housing,” said Boerum Hill Association President Howard Kolins. “We were always willing to be flexible so that the city could benefit and the nearby community would have a say. This is a very mixed outcome. The city needs to revise the development process to allow meaningful community engagement so intelligent development can take place.”

With the approval this morning, it is likely that the project will also be approved in the City Council vote.

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