Boerum Hill

Alloy Development cuts height and density of 80 Flatbush project and wins a crucial City Council vote

September 20, 2018 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The tower across from the Williamsburgh Savings Bank clocktower is part of the newly redesigned 80 Flatbush project. Rendering by Alloy Development/ Luxigon
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Alloy Development has trimmed the height of both its towers in its proposed 80 Flatbush Ave. project —  one of which was going to be as tall as the Chrysler Building — and reduced the density it’s seeking for the Boerum Hill site.

Alloy modified its design after weeks of negotiations with City Councilmember Stephen Levin, who represents the neighborhood.

On Thursday, Levin voted yes to modified zoning measures concerning 80 Flatbush, which were before the City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. The measures passed unanimously.

“This is an outcome that gets the needed community benefit that was always contemplated as part of this project while also being responsive to the community’s concerns on density and height,” Levin told reporters before the vote.

Alloy trimmed the height of the skyscraper it plans to construct — which would have been as tall as the Chrysler Building — from 986 feet to 840 feet.

It cut the height of the second tower from 561 feet to 510 feet.

Before Alloy modified its design plan, it had wanted the city to triple the existing zoning limits for the development site, which is bounded by State Street, Third Avenue, Schermerhorn Street and Flatbush Avenue.

Specifically, Alloy had sought a Floor Area Ratio, or FAR, of 18.

The Floor Area Ratio determines the maximum amount of space that can be constructed in buildings.

The existing zoning at 80 Flatbush is a Floor Area Ratio of 6.5.

After the negotiations with Levin, Alloy agreed to reduce the size of the project to a Floor Area Ratio of 15.75.


Number of affordable apartments remains unchanged

Alloy has reduced the total size of the project by more than 130,000 square feet, Levin said in remarks to fellow subcommittee members before the vote.

Prior to the design modifications, 80 Flatbush was a 1.1 million-square-foot development.

Because Levin represents Boerum Hill, his stance on 80 Flatbush is crucially important.

The next step in the public approval process for 80 Flatbush will be a vote by the full City Council. In these votes, other councilmembers customarily follow the lead of the colleague in whose district the development site is located.

The revised 80 Flatbush design will have 200 permanently affordable apartments, the same number as in the original plan. It will have 30 fewer market-rate apartments — for a total of 870 residential units instead of 900, which was the original plan.

The amount of commercial space in the complex will be reduced.

The proposed project includes a modern home for public high school Khalil Gibran International Academy, which is housed in an inadequate facility on the development site, plus a new public elementary school.

The two schools will be essentially the same size as they were in the original design.

Alloy’s co-developer is the New York City Educational Construction Fund.

Alloy controls part of the site and the city Department of Education owns part of the property.


Boerum Hill Association wanted a development with a single tower

Alloy’s initial plan for 80 Flatbush drew opposition from residents, civic groups and elected officials from Boerum Hill and Fort Greene, which is across the street from the development site.

On Thursday Howard Kolins, president of the Boerum Hill Association, called 80 Flatbush’s redesign  “a very mixed outcome.”

His organization has spearheaded the opposition to the two-tower project.

“From the beginning the [Boerum Hill Association] asked for one tower, a new high school and affordable housing. We were always willing to be flexible so that the city could benefit and the nearby community would have a say,” Kolins told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“The city needs to revise the development process to allow meaningful community engagement so intelligent development can take place.”


‘Lasting and meaningful benefits’

The 80 Flatbush project garnered support from business organizations, real estate executives, advocates of large-scale development near transit hubs and Khalil Gibran International Academy teachers and students.

On Thursday, Alloy’s CEO Jared Della Valle said in a statement that his development firm finds it “incredibly gratifying” to provide “lasting and meaningful benefits” to the city.

“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,” he said.

The 80 Flatbush project has been under public review for more than a year. The city requires real estate projects seeking zoning changes to undergo a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP.

The next step in this process after a full City Council vote is approval or veto by the mayor.

The City Council can override a mayoral veto with a two-thirds vote.

Earlier steps in 80 Flatbush’s public review included a thumbs-up from the City Planning Commission and a rejection from Community Board 2. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams recommended that the supertall tower’s height be cut to a maximum of 600 feet.

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