Fleet Place office building clears Downtown community board

June 21, 2019 Mary Frost
Community Board 2 approved a zoning amendment for a proposed 14/15-story office building on Fleet Place in Downtown Brooklyn Wednesday night. Rendering courtesy of Marvel Architects
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Community Board 2 unanimously approved a zoning amendment for a proposed 15-story office building on Fleet Place in Downtown Brooklyn on Wednesday night, on the condition that the developer commits to paying the prevailing wage.

Developer Leser Group wants to change 101 Fleet Pl.’s zoning, and to expand the Special Downtown Brooklyn district to build a new 205,000-square-foot commercial office building.

If rezoning for the office building falls through, Leser Group says it will build a 34-story affordable housing development instead.

The site has been the home of Duffield’s Children Center for about 20 years, according to attorney Raymond Levin, special counsel in Herrick Feinstein’s Land Use & Zoning Group. Levin represented Leser Group before CB2.

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Levin said the center has been on a year-to-year lease and has been paying very little.

“We just extended that another year,” he told the board. “In recent years, Leser Group has subsidized them, basically. Their rent is negligible.”

He said the developer is hoping the center will come back, but hasn’t heard from them about their plans after the new building is constructed. He acknowledged that their rent would likely go up, but “would still be below market rate.”

Courtesy Fleet Center, Inc.
Courtesy Fleet Center, Inc.

Levin said the building would be home to smaller commercial offices. With its small floors, “We’re not looking to compete for Amazon,” he said. “We’re looking to be respite for those displaced small nonprofits who take a floor or half.”

Levin said the building was originally slated to have a school.

“We were in negotiations with the School Construction Authority for almost a year. City planning had tremendous concerns with that many kids on this street, and we couldn’t have a loading dock,” Levin said. “SCA and Leser Group couldn’t come to an agreement. Once there was no school, we went from 21 stories to 14 stories and got loading dock.”

He said that employees in the Downtown Brooklyn community would be able to walk to work if the plan goes through. “We had discussions with the Ingersoll Tenants Association to open up some jobs. He said they also “talked to the people in the purple shirts [union members] about them organizing the building.” The building would support nine building service jobs.

A representative of Marvel Architects said the lower two floors would be set back, and the south-facing façade would be texturally interesting with additional fenestration “as allowed by code.”

The developer hasn’t decided about ground-floor retail yet, as much depends on whether or not the daycare center returns.

The zoning amendment request heads next to the City Planning Department. Its progress can be followed here.

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