Boerum Hill

Lawsuit against 80 Flatbush reaches settlement, demolition underway

September 16, 2019 Lore Croghan
A lawsuit concerning the upzoning of 80 Flatbush Ave. has been settled. Rendering by Alloy Development/Luxigon

A legal challenge to Boerum Hill’s 80 Flatbush Ave. high-rise development has ended.

The 400 & 500 State Street Block Association and several members of its steering committee settled a lawsuit against Alloy Development and the New York City Educational Construction Fund.

The settlement “fully resolves the dispute,” says a Sept. 13 letter to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Melissa Anne Crane, who presided over the case, from David Paget of Sive, Paget & Riesel, who represented Alloy Development in the suit.

The agreement removes what could potentially have become a roadblock to co-developers Alloy and the Educational Construction Fund’s construction of an 840-foot skyscraper and a 510-foot tower with 200 units of affordable housing and 670 market-rate apartments.

The project also includes a replacement high school for deteriorating Khalil Gibran International Academy, a new elementary school, office space and retail space.

“We are unable to discuss the settlement, however, we are looking forward to creating a positive working relationship with the developer moving forward,” one of the residents who filed the suit told the Brooklyn Eagle.

Demolition is underway at the 80 Flatbush Ave. development site. Photo by Alloy Development
Demolition is underway at the 80 Flatbush Ave. development site. Photo by Alloy Development

“We’re pleased to honor our commitment to establish a Community Benefits Agreement with our neighbors,” a spokesperson for Alloy Development told the Eagle. (In a Community Benefits Agreement, a developer promises to behave well while constructing a project and in exchange, community groups pledge not to oppose the project.)

“Demolition on the site is underway, we look forward to starting vertical construction next spring and to ultimately following through on our promise to deliver 200 units of permanently affordable housing and two new public schools in Downtown Brooklyn,” the spokesperson said.

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He declined to speak about the terms of the settlement.

In the Community Benefits Agreement, obtained by the Eagle, the developer promises to meet each month with neighbors during 80 Flatbush’s design process “to solicit input and update residents on material choices for the State Street façade” of the project.

The developer also pledges to include a block association representative in Community Advisory Group meetings and to meet with that rep during the months in which the advisory group get-togethers aren’t held.

Here’s another look at the demolition work that’s ongoing at 80 Flatbush Ave. Photo by Alloy Development
Here’s another look at the demolition work that’s ongoing at 80 Flatbush Ave. Photo by Alloy Development

Some of the other pledges in the Community Benefits Agreement’s lengthy list of promises include the following:

  • A full-time project manager who will be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week during construction and a hotline for neighbors to call about lighting, safety, rodent infestation, worker conduct and other issues.
  • A crane safety and protection plan.
  • Measures to control dust emissions, minimize noise and combat rodent infestations during construction.
  • Efforts to make sure construction workers are “good neighbors” and don’t sit on stoops or harass pedestrians.

News of the settlement first surfaced on Twitter.

The City of New York, the City Planning Commission and the City Council were also respondents in the suit. (“Respondents” are what defendants are called in an Article 78 proceeding, which is a type of lawsuit that involves government entities. The block association and its steering committee members were the petitioners.)

“We are pleased the petitioners have agreed to discontinue their legal claims against the city,” city Law Department spokesperson Nick Paolucci told the Eagle. “The settlement is between private parties — petitioners and the developer. The city is not a party to the settlement.”

In the now-settled suit, the block association sought to annul upzoning approved by the City Planning Commission and the City Council that changed 80 Flatbush’s FAR to 15.7 from 6.5.

FAR, or floor area ratio, is the zoning formula that determines the height and bulk of permitted buildings.

The City Council’s vote was the culmination of a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP, which included public hearings packed with supporters and opponents of the project.

The project’s 840-foot tower was originally going to be 986 feet tall — the height of the Chrysler Building.

Alloy agreed to lower its height after weeks of negotiations with City Councilmember Stephen Levin, who reps the district where the 80 Flatbush site is located.

Follow reporter Lore Croghan on Twitter.

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