529 Empire rezoning request from commercial to mixed-use
  • "In the portion of the rezoning area that is proposed to be rezoned from R5/C1-3 to R7A/C2-4, the proposed action would enable a proposal by the applicant to develop a mixed-use building, with accessory, below-grade parking, on four lots fronting on Empire Boulevard and owned by 529 Empire Realty Corporation. The development as proposed by the applicant would include approximately 68 dwelling units (68,727 sf), approximately 66 spaces of accessory parking, 24,289 sf of commercial space and 21,572 sf of community facility space. The development would be constructed on Lots 66, 74, 75, and 76 on Block 1311 (the “project site”). The proposed building would have approximately 114,588 gsf of new development."

    I personally think this is a great idea.  Not much is going on in southeast CH.

  • If this parcel gets rezoned, it will provide a basis for nearby parcels to be upzoned in a similar manner.

    Readers, 529 Empire is between Brooklyn and Kingston, and is presently being used as an Empire Kosher Supermarket.

  • Here is the full Environmental Assessment Statement - http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/env_review/eas/10dcp020k_eas.pdf
  • Here is a partial reaction from the patrons of the supermarket who don't want it to go away:
    CrownHeights.info has learned that a request has been put forth by the owner of the property housing the Empire Kosher Supermarket for a zoning variance that will allow for the structure to be torn down and replaced by residential units.

  • I'm sure that the people building this are part of the community. They may even be the operators of the supermarket. The few times I've driven by there, especially on a Friday, the double parking was so bad it choked off the street. Took about five lights to get past there.
  • I grew up right across the street. The supermarket used to be an Associated before it was Empire Kosher (back then the Associated on Nostrand was an A&P). The description says 66 new residential units; the short form actually says 80 -- either is huge for that area. But Empire is a major commercial strip. And there's been a lot of residential building on the undeveloped/underdeveloped lots on Lefferts and East New York in the past 10 years, so I'm not too surprised. I think six stories would be more in context though.

    It'll be interesting to see if and how the opposition in the comments materializes.
  • I don't believe the property owners are members of the community.
  • Yes, the comments of the CH.info posters are interesting.

    It looks like a classic battle is in the works; One where people assume that an individual's loyalty to the "community" trumps other interests.

    Throughout the world, the battle plays out based on income, hue, religion, language, nationality, etc.

    If the property owners are a member of the community now, they might be effectively ousted from it if they are perceived as building a development which brings integration/diversity into the Frum Zone.

  • Even if the property owners were members of the community (which they don't appear to be), I would not be too concerned for their status within the community.  Similar situations have occurred before and will continue to occur.  In instances like this, I think it is safe to say that the ones making the noise are not the ones with the influence.  When it comes down to the intricacies, the community does not move as a single unit.
  • That is my impression as well.

    And it is part of why I am optimistic that the property owner will get due process during the upcoming battle.

    I.E. Even if Community Board 9 is full of people who want to maintain the community's present mix and the present supermarket, the CB has limited powers to deny or grant a variance.

    The larger community (i.e. NYC) gets to ultimately decide what may be constructed on this site, through entities such as the Department of Planning and the Board of Standards and Appeals.


    I would hate for a property owner's rights to be denied on the mere basis that the community liked the property's present use.
  • Just got back from Community Board 9's monthly meeting where this was presented.  A first for me. Wow! I'm left wondering how anything get's done.  Seems like it is impossible to stay on topic, and I wish people would have the sense to simply sit in silence if they happen to be totally ignorant with regard to the basic fundamentals of the subject, or area, being discussed.  I guess, for some, this is the only soapbox they are going to get.

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