Hudson Companies Residential Development on Flatbush Ave. in PLG
  • A friend just forwarded this press release to me:

    "Hudson Companies Closes on Residential ‘Game Changer’ for Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn

    Hudson Companies has closed on a development site at 626 Flatbush Avenue in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens section of Brooklyn, where the developer plans to build a 23-story, 254-unit rental building one block east of Prospect Park, The Commercial Observer has learned.

    (Credit: Flickriver, wallyg)

    Ariel Property Advisors arranged the $11 million sale of the development site, which the buyer entered into contract on last year, and brokers who arranged the sale are calling it a “game changer” for the neighborhood.

    “Prospect Lefferts Gardens is one of the lesser-developed areas that has the most potential because there is a subway is right there, the architecture is beautiful, and access to the park is easy,” Jonathan Berman of Ariel Property Advisors, who exclusively represented the buyer and seller with Shimon Shkury, Michael Tortorici, and Victor Sozio, told The Commercial Observer.

    The property features 100 feet of frontage on Flatbush Avenue and a roughly 52,265-square-foot rear parking lot. It is located near the Prospect Park Zoo, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and two blocks from the B, Q and S subway lines. Hudson Companies has agreed to set aside 20 percent of the units for affordable housing.

    “There are so many things going in this neighborhood that the time is right for development,” Mr. Berman said. “Prices in the area for development sites are going up and larger developments are being picked up by developers.”

    The deal had to overcome several major hurdles before closing, including resolving an easement issue and relocating several commercial tenants, one of which has already moved, and two others that will relocate in the coming weeks.

    In response to demand in underdeveloped areas of Brooklyn, Ariel Property Advisors is expanding its Brooklyn operation and has added additional brokers to its sales team.

    “Exciting things are happening in Brooklyn, as rental and condo values are quickly catching up with Manhattan,” said Shimon Shkury, president of the firm, in a statement".


  • Boom.

    Together with the development surrounding the King's theater, this should change the business mix above Dorchester Ave.....


  • The developers announcement is being picked up by Brownstoner and lots of other places.

    Signs all point to a huge, market rate development

    http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013/06/hudson-properties-flatbush-development-is-a-go/#disqus_thread


  • Twenty percent of the apartments allegedly will be set aside as "affordable". I'll believe it when I see it.


  • ^Indeed^

    Even if we assume that 20% (51) of the units meet whatever definition of affordable they end up with (80% AMI?), these folks will be carefully screened.

    Hence, we are looking at 203 (254 * .8) new, nicely appointed units that will likely house people who presently live above area's median income. The local businesses will respond by changing their products and services.

    ...and some units on lower floors, with less nice finishes for those who were lucky enough to win a lottery. These folks will influence the businesses to a lesser degree.


  • When they get built, you'll see the affordable apartments here:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/apartment/lotteries.shtml

    Some are reasonable (like the $1000 2 bedroom in Wililamsburg for those making ~$40k, though in very tight bands), some are hilarious (like the $2400 2 bedroom in Bed-Stuy for those making $84-$134k).


  • "As of right" might not actually be that if the Housing Finance Agency really failed to follow its own procedures.


  • I doubt those against the development can make that the developer's problem, but it should be fun to watch.


  • And, we are off and running!

    A group is stating this luxury tower should not be allowed in the area, until other concerns are addressed.

    Like "Equality"

    http://equalityforflatbush.tumblr.com/post/70496070577/brenda-edwards-resident-of-chester-court-who-is


  • I know nothing about his "Equality for Flatbush" organization, but the stated goals of the Prospect Park East Network, which organized the pictured press conference, are to modify this project, rather than to stop development. I was there and I'm absolutely certain about this.


  • That is certainly a more quantifiable goal.

    Needless to say, the apartments on the higher floors are the most valuable, and the reason that the developer will fight for their ability to build as per the zoning code, not community preferences.

    REBNY would be crazy to let a community group diminish the profitability of a site anywhere in the city, and DeBlasio probably won't show his intentions this early in his term.


  • I'm sad to say you're very likely right, but we can hope.


  • My favorite is when the residents of tall buildings that were opposed "by the community", join the fight against subsequent tall buildings because they don't want THIER views blocked.

    The bright side is once this building is built, "the community" will have even more people opposed to the next one.

    Redux.


  • Nevertheless, IF this building gets built to the full planned height it will strengthen the push for contextual zoning, similar to what already exists in the neighborhoods on all other sides of Prospect Park, which will prevent other towers like this one.


  • As more tall buildings are built, they become the context, as opposed to the walk ups built pre-1929.

    The present zoning code allows for the city to grow in terms of people, height, and tax receipts.

    The new building will blend in with Tivoli towers, built in 1974, and (like it) will eventually be featured on the Brooklyn Historical Society site: http://brooklynhistory.org/blog/2010/02/05/tivoli-towers-in-crown-heights/

    http://www.emporis.com/building/tivolitowers-newyorkcity-ny-usa


  • Tivoli Towers is much to far away [about 3/4 mile] to "blend" with this building. In any case, contextual zoning for PLG wouldn't reduce population density, since it would allow shorter buildings with a larger base. Allowable FAR would be about the same


  • Whenever a new tall building is built on a busy strip of low rise buildings, it could be considered "out of context".

    Some like the new buildings, others don't.

    In part, we have regulations and laws so developers don't have to comply with the whims of the public.

    If HFA broke one of those regulations, I wish those who wish to "modify" this project luck. If they merely wish to try to spot zone this parcel to suit their whim of a quaint neighborhood of people they believe to be like themselves, I hope the experience is very expensive, tedious, time consuming and results in defeat.


  • "If they merely wish to try to spot zone this parcel "

    Huh?

    To the best of my knowledge no one has ever suggested anything like that, but, by all means, keep setting up straw men if that's what you enjoy :-)


  • Look out! Allowing high rises in PLG might mean it ends up like Prospect Park West.


  • That would be unfortunate; many people move here to get away from Park Slope.


  • Many people moved to Park Slope to get away from Manhattan. I am sensing a pattern.

    Why should PLG have the ability to decide what kinds of development it wants, when other communities are subject to the existing zoning (ie don't have such options)?

    Or, should we just allow every community to interpret the zoning code (ie spot zone thru the courts, rather than the established processes)?


  • AFAIK those PLG residents seeking re-zoning merely want zoning similar to what already exists in every other neighborhood surrounding Prospect Park.


  • They seem to want new zoning before this building is built. ...despite the process established to get an area rezoned.

    psst, this process doesn't involve suing the HFA.


  • Entirely separate processes, one short, the other long-term. One doesn't preclude the other.


  • One precludes the other if you want the court to take you seriously.

    ...unless you are proposing that the "pro-contextual" residents of PLG should be able to get to write an EIS that carries more weight than the zoning code.

    For some reason I think that practice would be a lot like spot zoning, and create chaos in the real estate market.

    Don't you?


  • No, not at all; we'll just have to disagree.


  • I should add that while many of my neighbors are adamantly opposed to a building this high and I do agree that it would be desirable for the height to be reduced, I am personally much more concerned with contextual zoning, as a long-term issue.


  • Most of Brooklyn's major avenues are zoned to allow for tall buildings: 4th Avenue, Eastern Parkway, Prospect Park West, Atlantic Avenue, Flatbush Avenue.

    When the first modern, tall buildings are/were built along these avenues, they looked out of context.

    Now, they are simply part of Brooklyn.

    On these avenues, context isn't a long term issue, it is an always changing issue.


  • True, but the buildings on 4th Avenue and [with the sad exception of the Richard Meier monstrosity] Eastern Parkway aren't visible from Prospect Park. Also, unlike 4th Avenue, most tall buildings on Eastern Parkway were built a generation or two before there was much concern with architectural context.


  • There isn't much of a concern with architectural context now.

    While the zoning code for a given area often takes into account what is already there, it allows a great deal of flexibility.

    ...Flatbush avenue is not landmarked, so the Landmarks Preservation Commission has no jurisdiction.

    ...HFA only has to do an EIS when the impacts are believed to be substantial; merely violating the neighbors' subjective definition of what is "contextual" doesn't warrant one.


  • The pending law suit, which deals with the lack of a proper EIS, and the campaign for contextual zoning address different issues. To the best of my knowledge no one has suggested landmarking Flatbush Avenue, even though the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens Historic District is across the street from this proposed building, the Ocean on the Park Historic District and Prospect Park are across the subway cut, to the rear and, to the north, Chester Court will very likely be eventually designated as either an extension to the existing PLG HD, or a separate district.


  • ...as you are aware, being near a historic district is not the same as being IN one.

    Also, while historic districts are popular, they certainly are not without costs. We can (and should) only pay for so many.

    You are correct, the EIS is a different issue. The HFA didn't "forget" to create one, they didn't create one for a reason: They didn't perceive any impact from this project that warranted one.

    As stated above, I'd be surprised if the judge disagreed with the HFA.

    The judge will likely conclude that the zoning code effectively addresses the concerns of "the community", and that there are very good reasons that changing the zoning code is time consuming, tedious and arduous.


  • I think we've beaten this issue to death whynot; merry Xmas! :-)


  • Likewise. Happy Holidays!


  • A hearing on whether the complaint against HFA has any merit will be held on Thursday, Jan 23rd.Click "see original post" for details on the position of those seeking "Contextual Zoning"https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=1541468051247516447&postID=4265056286635649071
  • No word yet re: whether the complaint was found to have any merit.Here's the promo website from the developerhttp://www.hudsoninc.com/626-flatbush-avenue/
  • Demolition of the existing structure on the site is well underway:  http://theqatparkside.blogspot.com/2014/02/about-time-that-building-came-down-i.html

    The architecture and engineering geeks over at skyscraper.com have been watching this site for a long time:http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=203934   

    Click thru for photos, etc
  • Meanwhile, people against the building believe that government should step in to prevent the developer from building so high, even though the height of the build is within the zoning code.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/develop-don-t-destroy-prospect-lefferts-gardens


  • 10154365_10203401144249562_912860114_n

    Even though he won't be able to stop this development, Eric Adam's can't lose by showing up at this event.

    I do love grandstanding.

  • I didn't know about the building coming to Fenimore Street. Is this area going to turn into a mini-Manhattan?

    "We are the only neighborhood bordering the park with no building height limits."

    Wow, I didn't know that. I wonder why. I also wonder whether elected officials will be prompted to propose legislation to address that issue.
  • From the Skyscraper.com link above:

     "NIMBYs are really pathetic.
    The tower is as-of-right, so there's nothing the Borough President can do. They can appeal to the Pope or Obama while they're at it.

    And that rendering is obviously massively exaggerated. The building will look nothing like that from the park.

    Then they top off the idiocy by calling for 80-foot height limits on major Brooklyn thoroughfares (basically 7 floors), and then simultaneously complain about high prices and rising rents. Well, gee, I'm sure calling for no new development will really drop those home prices..."
  • whynot_31 said:

    From the Skyscraper.com link above:


     
    Then they top off the idiocy by calling for 80-foot height limits on major Brooklyn thoroughfares (basically 7 floors), and then simultaneously complain about high prices and rising rents. Well, gee, I'm sure calling for no new development will really drop those home prices..."


    It's not about calling for no "new" development. People are complaining about the scale of the development. no? There's a difference. 
  • Agreed.

    I posted the quote mostly to show how far apart the two sides are.

    For simplicity, we could call one side the "as of right builders" and the other side "contextualists".

    It seems the "As Of Right Builders" are proceeding as the law allows, while the "Contextualists" want people to respond to their emotion; They want the process to be subjective and based on democracy (populism?).

    Here's the thing, the two sides are never going to get along.   That's why these discussions are held in anticipation of future development, and result in zoning.

    ....this is sharp contrast to discussions that occur in response to planned development.   We are presently witnessing the latter. 
  • whynot_31 said:



    10154365_10203401144249562_912860114_n

    Even though he won't be able to stop this development, Eric Adam's can't lose by showing up at this event.

    I do love grandstanding.



    I attended this event tonight. I won't attempt to sum up the entire meeting (as I expect the Q at Parkside to do that more eloquently soon). I will say that it was very well-attended (standing room only). There were a people from a variety of racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds there, and it seems that many of them feel threatened on some level by the upcoming developments.

    There was some level of grandstanding, but part of the political process would be to allow people to speak out. 

    The politicians were very honest that there really isn't much that can be done about this particular development. The best course of action seems to push forward with rezoning (downzoning) to prevent something like that from happening in the future.
  • As you are likely aware, property owners usually object to down zoning because they perceive it as diminishing the value of their asset.

    Under Bloomberg, upzoning was the norm. He shot a little to high with the proposed rezoning of midtown, but generally won....

    https://www.google.com/search?site=&source=hp&ei=hmNEU9-VM6LW2gXR84D4BQ&q=bloomberg+upzoning&oq=bloomberg+upzoning&gs_l=mobile-gws-hp.3...4438.15512.0.16506.19.18.0.3.3.2.1828.10174.2-5j1j3j6j1j1j1.18.0....0...1c.1.39.mobile-gws-hp..8.11.3693.3.nVxStB-irio

    If DeBlasio were to become powerful, I imagine him being able to stop the trend of upzoning, but I can't envision him being able to enact down zoning.

    Population growth which involves more wealthy people is rarely successfully fought, or even constrained.
  • Note that the Prospect Park East Network the organizers of this meeting [along with PLGNA, LMA, and FDC] are looking for contextual zoning, NOT downzoning. This would limit the height, but not the density of new buildings. They could achieve the same volume by covering a larger portion of the lot, something possible, but not required under present zoning. All they're asking for is zoning similar to what currently exists on the other sides of Prospect Park,
  • And what are they offering in return?

    ....why should the developer (and other affected property owners) come to the table?
  • I suspect they will not do so, unless they think the law suit is likely to succeed. Personally, I'm far more concerned about the larger issue of contextual zoning than about this one project, although many of my neighbors would disagree.
  • In the eyes of people who own property, contextual zoning is the same thing as down zoning; It limits the options a developer has, and therefore a property's value.

    IE It quacks like a duck, but the "locals" are insisting it isn't one....

    It is a good time to be a lawyer; they are certain to win.
  • Zoning changes will take a long time.  While that process is ongoing I agree with whynot and wonder what the idea of "contextual" will take on.   The R7 zoned areas include this new project, Tivoli Towers and Ebbets field.  Why would a similar development to those be considered out of context?   BTW, i heard the spice factory recently changed hands and if development happens there (along with Seacrest) then single family homes will be out of context. 

    If PPEN is not opposed to density then is the goal of PPEN to simply reduce the height of new buildings around the park?
  • Here is the zoning for the area:

    imageNote the /// indicates that there is a C1-3 overlay.
    Map created by Ben Dodd for CB9.    Data:   NYC Dept of Planning

    According to the flyer above, PPEN seems to be concerned about the building height not only because it could scene from the park, but also because it will be filled with luxury tenants who will cause a ripple effect of increasing costs. 

    Other flyers want 30% of the units to be "affordable", which basically kills the projects profitability (aka viability) given the current level of support available from the state and city for such purposes.

    Why should property owners bear the brunt of social goals?






  • Screen shot 2014-04-08 at 10.38.55 PM

    The building we are talking about will be on the west side of Flatbush near Fenimore St.     The building in the above photo is already demolished and construction is underway.

  • dmiami2 said:

    Zoning changes will take a long time.  While that process is ongoing I agree with whynot and wonder what the idea of "contextual" will take on.   The R7 zoned areas include this new project, Tivoli Towers and Ebbets field.  Why would a similar development to those be considered out of context?   BTW, i heard the spice factory recently changed hands and if development happens there (along with Seacrest) then single family homes will be out of context. 


    If PPEN is not opposed to density then is the goal of PPEN to simply reduce the height of new buildings around the park?


    According to the woman who made the presentation at last night's town hall, there was a request to change the zoning placed in 2008. The city allegedly hasn't gotten around to it yet. Now people want some action to be taken on this request so that future developments like 626 Flatbuish are curtailed.

    Ebbets Field is not as close to Prospect Park as the 626 Flatbush site, and neither is Tivoli Towers. By the way, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG)  is in between Prospect Park and both of those two high rise developments.

    Tivoli Towers is one block away from BBG (between Franklin and Washington Avenues). The grounds for Ebbets Field are located 1.5 blocks east of Franklin. Patio Gardens seems to be more fitting in terms of an example of something that is "out of scale" in that immediate area.
  • All of that is true, and has contributed to making R7-1 zoned areas with no height restrictions being very valuable.   

    -The Spice Factory site on Franklin Avenue
    -The Sea Crest Linen site
    -The site for sale for $10M by the shuttle tracks

  • According to the flyer above, PPEN seems to be concerned about the building height not only because it could scene from the park, but also because it will be filled with luxury tenants who will cause a ripple effect of increasing costs. 

    Other flyers want 30% of the units to be "affordable", which basically kills the projects profitability (aka viability) given the current level of support available from the state and city for such purposes.
    Why should property owners bear the brunt of social goals?




    Here's another question: The property was zone that way for years; why are people paying attention
    now and starting to develop in this manner now?

    The developers of 626 Flatbush have accepted some government funding to have the project constructed. Don't expect citizens not to want to have some say. ;) It would be different if the funding were entirely from private sources, no? 
  • Answer to question 1: Developers are developing now because the numbers now work. 

    Answer to question 2: The developers have met the established mandates of the public funding sources; They do not have to also meet the arbitrary demands of the public. They are building this "as of right". 

     Here's the zoning for the area above Empire ....which seems to only load upside down image
  • One more point:
    Why should property owners bear the brunt of social goals? - See more at: http://www.brooklynian.com/discussion/comment/546814#Comment_546814

    Once upon a time there were incentives for those developers who participated in afforable housing programs like Mitchell-Lama. #justsaying
  • According to the woman who made the presentation at last night's town hall, there was a request to change the zoning placed in 2008. The city allegedly hasn't gotten around to it yet. Now people want some action to be taken on this request so that future developments like 626 Flatbuish are curtailed.

    Ebbets Field is not as close to Prospect Park as the 626 Flatbush site, and neither is Tivoli Towers. By the way, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG)  is in between Prospect Park and both of those two high rise developments.

    Tivoli Towers is one block away from BBG (between Franklin and Washington Avenues). The grounds for Ebbets Field are located 1.5 blocks east of Franklin. Patio Gardens seems to be more fitting in terms of an example of something that is "out of scale" in that immediate area.


    Tivoli Towers is as close to the BBG as this new development is to the park. Ebbetts field is close enough to be included when evaluating what "contextual" means (IMO). I still think the major beef here is with it's proximity to the park. For example, if this development were on Empire east of Bedford, would it be getting so much attention? I doubt it....
  • dmiami2 said:

    Tivoli Towers is as close to the BBG as this new development is to the park.
    I disagree. 626 Flatbush is 0.5 blocks from the park. If you were to exit on Lincoln Road, you can see the park down the street. Tivoli Towers is one block away, but BBG is in the middle. 
     Ebbetts field is close enough to be included when evaluating what "contextual" means (IMO). I still think the major beef here is with it's proximity to the park. For example, if this development were on Empire east of Bedford, would it be getting so much attention? I doubt it....


    You mean, like with the parcel of land discussed here
  • Re: Mitchell Lama. Yes, if the right incentives to build affordable housing are provided, it will be built. At the time, Mitchell Lama paid more than market rate housing. ....comparitively few such programs exist today.

    Re: Contextual. Give it time. Once this and the other developments in the works are built, the context will large apartment buildings. They have been permitted for decades, but are now profitable without large subsidies.

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