Eyes are again on the M-1 zone in Crown Heights — Brooklynian

Eyes are again on the M-1 zone in Crown Heights


...the zone is quickly evolving from a manufacturing uses (ie auto body repair) to commercial and entertainment

Photo: Brownstoner


  • Did you see this in the comments? That's interesting.

    "The Ridgewood Local Development Corp (RLDC) has asked City Planning to rezone our M-1 zones to MX, i.e, a special mfging zone, that would require the first two flrs to be light mfging, and allow a max of three additional flrs of residential. There are two other caveats:(1) the entire bldg, both industrial and residential must be a condo, and (2) each condo space must be affordable to local residents and businesses to purchase"
  • I am not aware of successful attempts to mandate a maximum selling price of a private property, even in exchange for preferable zoning.

    These old industrial buildings are not HDFC coops.


  • Press:

    "Crown Heights is one of the fastest — if not the fastest — gentrifying neighborhoods in New York City, and the building of condos and rentals there can be a very profitable endeavor. (Just ask anyone named Boaz Gilad.) There are dozens of residential projects in the works, and even the Times has taken notice, dedicating an entire article to the up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhood, sacrificing space that they could have used writing about people in Williamsburg who wear hats. In short, Crown Heights is going to be very crowded, and very pricy, very soon, which explains why developers are now complaining that there are parts of the neighborhood they're not allowed to residentially develop. A WNYC article focuses on the area east of the Barclays Center, which is zoned for industrial use and features mostly one-story warehouses, garages, and the like. This, according to development types, is a real shame because people would totally pay a lot of money to live there, and God forbid a single corner of Crown Heights doesn't look like this."

  • We'll probably get some hotels here soon, too. They're really common in the Garment District, and there's a few in Gowanus too. They show up because they're one of the more profitable uses of M-zoned land.
  • If this is what it takes to get the parked cars off the sidewalks so the area is more efficient let the rezoning begin. Perhaps some simple policing of the businesses there would straighten the area out and make it  more productive rather than a sprawling parking lot for commuters who workout deals to park near auto repair shops.
  • edited February 2015
    I predict that once the owners of entites in the M1 zone (like Global Square and Berg'n) complain that potential profit is being lost to derelict cars, there will be occasional parades.

    ...Tow truck parades.


    BTW, Brownstoner picked up this piece as well:

  • I mean cars on the sidewalk, the drivers are derelict ones.
  • edited February 2015
    @dawndew -

    Most of those autobody shops do not own their sites.   Here's just a sample of the rents they are now being told to pay: 

    They can't pay those kind of rents, so they are rapidly closing when their lease comes up for renewal.

    Likewise, those who own their sites are tempted to sell, and perhaps buy a similar shop in a far cheaper neighborhood and pocket the difference.  [...or retire to Florida.]

  • Have you ever looked into those shops? they are filled often with dust covered cars NOT being repaired. Poor business practice all around. the sucessful ones are organized and use the space they have rented.
  • edited February 2015
    I suspect you are imagining that these cars have been dropped off by a customer, who is awaiting the return of their repaired car.

    In actuality, many of these cars were purchased by the autobody shops as wrecks and -once repaired- will be sold to a used car dealer. These cars sit around for a long time because they exist as a "second priority".

    The first priority are cars which are being repaired for people who actually own them, love them, and have the means to pay for the repair. These cars are in and out relatively quickly.

    So, their business practices are better than they appear: They always have work to do; Some of the vehicles just don't pay as well as others.
  • edited February 2015
    Despite over 6 months passing, CB8 continues to try to figure out what uses it want DCP and DOB to allow in the M1 zone, in light of it being several decades since said defintions were updated.


    Previously the home to car repair shops and metal working, the zone is rapidly becoming host to more profitable manufacturing (?) uses such as gyms, The Brooklyn Flea and arts spaces.

    Note, this isn't a critque of CB8's efforts. They have now created a manifesto of what they would like allowed, and will hopefully give it to DCP after the CB8 Feb 2015 meeting.

    They will next meet on Feb 5, and then again on Feb 12. http://www.brooklyncb8.org/meetings/

  • edited February 2015
    There are reportedly 21 such zones in NYC, and the council speaker wants to preserve most (if not all) of them:

    Is a fight between her and DeBlasio's "as long as it includes subsidized housing units build, baby, build" plan coming?

    Can we at least allow the M-1 zones to officially have more commercial uses, and/or greater height than they do now?
  • Okay. Here are the notes from the CB 8 meeting in February. Does anyone else thing that bringing manufacturing back to our M-1 district is a real possibility? Or are these committee members lost in the clouds?

    Also -- what kind of housing structure supports "non-traditional families?"

    Economic Development – Ms. Atim Oton, Chairperson
    The Economic Development Committee met on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at the Center for
    Nursing and Rehabilitation. In addition to the Chair, Ms. Atim Oton, also present were Duane
    Frankson, Yahya Raji, Maura Pagano, Michael Cox, Zulika Bumpus, and LeeAnn Banks.
    Ms. Oton announced that the committee is working on bringing manufacturing businesses to the
    community. She stated that the wonderful thing about the work that the M1 committee is doing is
    that jobs can be encouraged to come into the District as well as housing. The committee is
    realistically looking at affordable housing options. We need to capitalize on the family make-up
    in this community, which is very much like what New York is—a true melting pot. We do not
    necessarily have traditional family structures in the District anymore. We need to encourage
    designers to think outside the box to develop something other than a standard building to
    accommodate the different types of family structures present in the District.
    She stated that we have 2 years to think about what type of jobs will be here when manufacturing
    comes to the District after the M1 committee’s proposal is submitted to the Dept. of City
    Planning. While looking at that, we can also think of ways to increase tourism to the District to
    take advantage of our cultural institutions and vibrant culture and restaurant scene.
    The next meeting of the Economic Development Committee will be on Tuesday, March 10, 2015
    at 6:30 PM at the Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation located at 727 Classon Avenue,
    Brooklyn. All are invited to attend. 
  • Also -- what kind of housing structure supports "non-traditional families?"

    I lived in Albany many years ago and was neighbor to a building that was supportive housing for the elderly.  You had to be 55 or older to get an apartment. It however, had both a senior center and a day care center in the lobby. Many of the elderly residents had grandchildren that they were raising and therefore, the building provided activities and support for those families as well. Day care for kids under 5, and after school care for school aged children whose families still worked. The centers had a combination of full-time staff and resident volunteers. It was a pretty cool program that the local housing authority ran.

    (PS. it also rented apartments to any law enforcement officer for $1 per year, to encourage them to live in the city. They also had other programs in their low-rise townhouses for teachers and city employees. But that kind of stuff is way too progressive for this mayor, LOL)
  • "Does anyone else think that bringing manufacturing back to our M-1 district is a real possibility? Or are these committee members lost in the clouds?"

    It all depends how broadly you define manufacturing. At this point, uses like Global Square fit.


    The local community board does not have the power to prohibit such uses, and many are not opposed to such uses.

    Although not a CB member, I am for such uses as well.

    ...we are not going to be able to prevent investment from coming into the district. Those junkyards , bus depots, car repair shops, etc will continue to disappear whether "we" want them to or not.
  • "Does anyone else think that bringing manufacturing back to our M-1 district is a real possibility? Or are these committee members lost in the clouds?"

    As one of the above mentioned names,
    I do not believe our heads are in the clouds yet in their correct anatomical position as well as fixated on the future (hence the 2yr timeframe) Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was Barclays, many plans and ideas came about prior to the existence of both sites. Barclays used to be a dump and look at it now. So, Yes it may seem soo out of the realm that some years ago Crime Heights ( as some may call it) aka Crown Heights could have such a far fetched idea as a site for a food incubator. blasphemy!

    But then fast forward to today: BedStuy gets a food incubator in an M1 zone.

    As others posters have expressed their sadness with regards to having the much needed food incubator be developed in BedStuy ( I too am sad as the board discussed this option and so much more)

    So as Atim mentioned we are looking to bolster tourism within CH. I think a great way to execute this is by having some historical background about CH documented. WhyNot ( it's open to anyone else who is indulged) I nominate you ;)

    With regards to the non-traditional family there has been an influx of dormitory / roommate living promoting craigslist and other sites promoting "great for roommates". ( this is not indicative of every single listing or trend but there has been a boost in this style of living) Which may cause lack of ample space when guests: primarily parents or anyone else visiting from out of town.

    Furthermore, if you truly believe that "the board are these committee members lost in the clouds?" WhyNot ( I encourage all of you) come to the meetings and contribute to building a wonderful community, please don't sit back especially if you have great ideas or are just curious.

    Or are those of the " head in the clouds" likened to current republican regime which consistently has a rebuttal but lacks few, if any, real solutions. ( this is in no way intended to be offensive to anyone's political beliefs [it's not a dem v rep rant] but as a challenge to all to actively be proactive ( if you currently are apart or attend the CB8 mtgs, awesome!). and yes I know someone will say something in reference to the lack of involvement by many people but I believe everyone is/will become more aware of how many opportunities can be brought to fruition so as to not repeat The food incubator debacle.

    Interesting tidbit about the 3rd ward food incubator in crown heights M. Markowitz supported the 1.5M and he is presently the VP of NYC & Company (Tourism), but yet CH isn't highlighted on NYC.gov for its tourism.

    At any rate, I hope to see you all at the CB8 meetings ;)

    P.s If I don't see you guys at the CB 8 meetings I look forward to seeing you at the Walking Tour. I'm dying to see the Armory.
  • edited March 2015
    I occasionally attend community board mtgs as a member of the audience, but I am not interested in being more involved.

    Because the boards are merely advisory, I believe participating in one would merely foster frustration in me.  

    I also find it pretty tedious and pointless to try and reach a plurality with other people, when the outcome is not binding.  

    ...but thanks for the invite.
  • While the CBs may be just advisory, I notice that all of the electeds now send representatives to the CB 8 meetings if they don't appear themselves.  10 years ago it was unusual to see more than 3 or 4 electeds.  
    Furthermore the City Council increasingly uses the community boards as a gate keeper.  As in "first go to the community board to see if they approve" If the CB backs the proposition, then it has a good chance of getting the Council person's attention.  This strategy of course puts the CB in a position to either kill or advocate for new ideas and changes in the community.
    Finally in the past 10 years the median age and ethnicity of CB 8 members has changed dramatically.  A reflection of changes in Crown Heights demographics but also changes that have invigorated the board as well I believe.
    Regarding the likelihood of M1 zones attracting businesses, I need only say "McClure pickles" to make you aware that local food is now big business.  The old Phizer building at 630 Flushing is home to not only McClure Pickles but dozens of other food processors.  The local food trend is only just beginning.  It reminds me that when the non-profit for which once worked sought subsidies to renovate vacant buildings in Crown Heights in the 1980s, city officials were not pleased.  Why waste money on such an obviously pointless proposition.
    Well, eventually we did get subsidies, did renovate over 700 apartments and the rest is history.
    Why not subsidies to lure in food processors until the market catches up to the trend?  It wouldn't be the first time that imaginative politicians, or at least politicians responding to community pressure, did the right thing.  

  • edited April 2015
    Given how broadly "manufacturing" is defined, I'm not sure the gov could outbid the present bidders.

    ...nor am I sure I want a government that will.

    In a few years, I envision CB8's M1 zone becoming a combination of the Fulton Mall and the antique places that used to be along Atlantic Ave near Court St.

    To meet the desires of the customer base, it would basically be a giant, outdoor, permanent version of 1000 Dean, complete with a water element filled with craft beer.shreveport-fountain-HI-RES-1024x768
  • The CB 8 M1 subcommittee's proposal carefully defines what type of manufacturing is considered appropriate and acceptable for the M1 zone proposed.  Here are the uses recommended in the proposal.  

    The following Use Groups shall be allowed only on the block fronts of Grand Avenue, Classon Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, as well as on lots within 100 feet of those streets located on Pacific Street, Dean Street and Bergen Street, and may represent no more than 1 FAR of use, with the exception of food stores, for which FAR used shall not be limited: Use Groups 6A (convenience retail or service establishments), 6C (retail or service establishments), 6E (clubs).
    • The following Use Groups shall not be allowed on any lot in the M1-1 Zone: 5 (hotels), 6D (public service establishments), 12C (public service establishments), 16.

    The following Use Groups will be required to receive a special permit from the City Planning Commission based upon the advisory recommendation of Community Board 8 for any lot in the M1-1 Zone: 8A (amusements), 12A (amusements).

  • edited April 2015
    I suspect that few of the current M1 property owners are in favor of such restrictions.

    Has the CB8 M1 subcommittee considered forming a PAC to advance its interests?

    It could be modeled after the one the property owners have: http://www.rebny.com/content/rebny/en.html
  • Unfortunately for the current property owners, what happens in the M1 zone impacts a much larger area than just the M1 zone.  What might make them richer isn't the only consideration and why community boards exist and indeed why zoning exists.  The City Planning Commission which will review the community board proposal will be looking at lot of considerations, not just what zoning will make the most money in the next five years for the existing properties owners in the M1 zone.
  • Any guesstimate as to how long DCP will take to digest or ignore CB8's advice?

  • Pratt recently put some thought into how NYC should move forward with its manufacturing and industrial zones: http://www.citylandnyc.org/pratt-center-study-outlines-solutions-for-industrial-rezoning-2/
  • Some of the properties in the M1 zone have already been converted into offices: 1000 Dean, the Heinz warehouse.

    This article makes me believe that some of the other buildings will soon be converted as well: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/prices-industrial-facilities-soar-brooklyn-tech-boom-article-1.2238721
  • edited August 2015
    This one is now rumored to become a brewery: 

    ...which is likely to fit within the current definition of M1.  

  • The thread above references a food incubator in Bed Stuy in an M1 zone. (March 31). Is this the Pfizer/Broadway Triangle project or something else?
  • edited February 2016

    Three separate parties are vying for the zone:

    CB8 would like the zone to become a mix of manufacturing, subsidized housing (aka "affordable") and market rate housing.

    However, the owners of the properties in the zone would like to be able to build exclusively market rate residential.

    And, the city seems to be interested in a mix of market rate residential, and subsidized residential. 

    In exchange for taking CB8's objectives into account, the city is demanding that the CB publicly endorse the Zoning for Quality and Affordability zoning rules that are presently being considered by the City Council.

    ...CB8 is being told it is not in charge.

  • edited February 2016

    Bump:    CB8's land use subcommittee will take place TONIGHT, Feb. 29 at 6:30 PM

    ...Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at 727 Classon Ave. 

  • edited June 2016

    This warehouse is becoming offices


  • edited June 2016

    By: Rebecca Baird-Remba 7:00 am on June 22, 2016

    "Office conversions are slowly making their way into the industrial zone between Crown Heights and Prospect Heights. Developer Joel Gluck plans to convert a two-story warehouse at 813 Bergen Street to offices. The building runs through the block to Dean Street between Grand and Classon avenues and has an alternate address of 880 Dean Street. The alteration application filed with the Department of Buildings doesn’t offer too many details. But we do know that part of the ground floor will be retail, and the rest of the building will be devoted to office space. It appears that Gluck doesn’t own the building, but he is listed in the owner portion of the filing. The 36,280-square-foot structure last changed hands for an undisclosed amount in 1998. Shawn Stiles, of S&S Architectural Design, applied for the permits. It will be interesting to see what the rents go for in this office space, which will be the second sizable office conversion in this area, after Jonathan Butler’s conversion of the former Studebaker service station at 1000 Dean Street. That building spans 150,000 feet and features a food hall on the ground floor, and it fetches the highest office rents in the neighborhood. Not long after the building opened, in 2014, asking rents for ground floor space were in the high-$20s per square foot. But western Crown Heights does have a few small coworking spaces, including Dean Machine, which is down the block, and its new outpost around the corner, Franklin Electric. There’s also Free Candy Creative Studio nearby on Atlantic Avenue, and Nowhere Studios occupies a loft space further east on Atlantic, by Albany Avenue. "


  • The warehouse is also pitching itself to office tenants. 768 Bergen

    Screen Shot 2016-11-21 at 7.44.32 PM
  • At present, self storage places are prohibited from opening in the M1 zone.    

    ....that could change.

This discussion has been closed.