Community Board 1 greenlighted an eight-story affordable housing project at 695 Grand Street in East Williamsburg last night.
The 51-unit project on Grand Street, pictured above, will have a mix of studios, one-, two- and three-bedrooms, with 41 units set aside for low- to moderate-income families, as we previously reported. The affordable housing is for families who make between 30 percent and 60 percent of the Area Median Income, which ranges from $25,750 to $51,540 for a family of four, according to the HPD. Ten of those units will be permanently affordable, and eight will be reserved for Section 8 housing for very low-income tenants.
The building will also have 10,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space, to replace two storefronts on the site that will be demolished. The project’s architect, Magnusson Architecture and Planning, plans to incorporate several green features into the design, including a wall of vines, landscaped roof decks and hydroponic PTAC units. The developer is nonprofit St. Nick’s Alliance, which will finance most of the $20,000,000 project with state and low-income housing tax credits.
Although several people spoke in support of the proposal, some homeowners worried that it was too large for Grand Street. “It’s too big,” said one man. “It feels completely out of scale with the neighborhood. Then sometimes projects start out as low-income, then the low-income gets phased out…And the ground-floor retail doesn’t materialize, creating an urban dead zone.”
The president of the block association, Maria Giordano, was concerned the building would overshadow the small rowhouses next to and behind it. “There’s a row of rowhouses that will lose their light and air,” she said. “Very few of the neighbors know about this, so they’re not here, but I urge the board to vote no. We need affordable housing, but not at this scale.”