City Council unanimously approves River Ring proposal
Construction on new waterfront park, housing expected to begin in 2024
More than two years since it was first introduced to the Williamsburg community, the City Council unanimously voted to approve the River Ring waterfront project, with 48 votes in favor.
The Council met for its final meeting of the year Wednesday and voted in support of the ambitious proposal first shared by developer Two Trees in 2019. The project, which required the rezoning of a previously underused Con Edison lot, began the land use process in August and was met with approval at every step, albeit with recommendations from community board members and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adam’s office, such as increased affordability.
The final negotiated agreement — which was unveiled last week when River Ring was voted out of the Council’s Land Use Committee — also secured Two Trees’ commitment to fund the construction of some off-site 150 affordable housing units for seniors within the Williamsburg and Greenpoint community.
The compromise also has Two Trees committing to fund $1.7 million to community initiatives. The projects would include a fund designated to help retrofit buildings and support a major open space planning study in the community district.
In total, River Ring will bring about 1,050 new on-site housing units to the waterfront, including 263 deeply affordable apartments. It also will open up about 3 acres of open space, plus 3 acres of protected in-water access, and incorporate a new YMCA facility and approximately $100 million in investments in resiliency efforts to mitigate ongoing impacts of climate change to surrounding lots.
In a previous statement, Two Trees principal Jed Walentas thanked outgoing Council Member Stephen Levin and celebrated the project as an extension of the developer’s work with the adjacent Domino redevelopment project, completing a stretch of waterfront access for Williamsburg’s Southside community.
“We will bring the same commitment and dedication to River Ring that we’ve brought to the Domino redevelopment and Domino Park,” Walentas said. “Taken together, these two projects will provide approximately 1,000 units of affordable housing integrated within new, world-class buildings.”
The vote result was also celebrated on Wednesday by a coalition of Williamsburg organizations Los Sures, El Puente and St. Nicks Alliance, praising Council Member Levin and Two Trees for the negotiated agreement. The groups previously shared an open letter recognizing the developer’s positive record with the community, especially as it relates to local job creation and housing development.
“We are grateful to the leadership of Council Member Levin for working with the Community and Two Trees in maximizing affordability, local access to jobs with a path to $40-$50,000 salaries, and investments in sustainable and healthy community spaces for all residents,” the coalition wrote in a statement to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “We look forward to working with Two Trees to ensure that the vision for River Ring as a resilient, sustainable project that prioritizes our Williamsburg community and its long-term needs of sustainable equity is fully realized.”
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