CM Levin announces 77 Commercial land use vote

by GWAPP on

Official Press Release from Council Member Stephen Levin’s office:

CM Levin statement on 77 Commercial Street land use action

BROOKLYN – Council Member Stephen Levin is announcing that Greenpoint will receive a fully-funded waterfront park at 65 Commercial St. and 200 units of permanently affordable housing after a City Council vote today in favor of the 77 Commercial St. land use action. These benefits were secured by adhering to the framework laid out in the 2005 Points of Agreement, which called on the City to sell the air rights of 65 Commercial St., the MTA parking lot, in order to fund 200 units of affordable housing and a new built out park.

“Today’s vote was the culmination of a very difficult, lengthy, and arduous process,” said Council Member Stephen Levin.

“Greenpoint is my home and during this process and throughout my entire term in office I have listened carefully to my neighbors’ thoughts and concerns about the future of our neighborhood. I have heard from many Greenpointers expressing their opposition to the height and density of this project, but the open space and affordable housing needs of our community that have persisted for years also go without question. While this project allows for greater height, density is not added but simply moved over from next door.”

“It has been years in the making but Greenpoint will now be getting a beautiful, fully-funded, and long-sought for park on the waterfront and 200 permanently units of affordable housing that make our community more affordable for working families.”

The City Council voted to approve the land use action while securing benefits, including, but not limited to:

  • $9.5 million in park funding to fully-fund Box Street Park
  • $14 million in funding for the removal of all vehicles currently located at the future park site, including: MTA Access-A-Ride vehicles ($11 million in funding) and Emergency Response Units that haven’t been moved for decades ($3 million in funding)
  • 200 units of permanently affordable housing, which constitute 28% of the total units with a range of 40-125% AMI down from an originally proposed range of 80-175% AMI

These benefits are in addition to those secured by Council Member Levin a week ago from the City that include, but are not limited to: an agreement to fund and conduct a comprehensive and long fought for transportation plan for Community Board 1 and $500,000 for the tenant anti-harassment and displacement collaborative in Community Board 1. There is also an additional $4 million in potential allocation to the Park depending on the availability of additional affordable housing subsidy.

Local neighborhood groups announced their support of the benefits won by Levin.

Ward Dennis, Co-Chair of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), said, “The density and height of the 77 Commercial Street development were never things that the community asked for or wanted. But the modifications agreed to by the city and the developer of 77 Commercial Street are important steps forward in realizing two key community priorities, open space and affordable housing. After years of struggling to get the city to meet its commitment to relocate the MTA vehicles at 65 Commercial Street and construct a park on that site, a solution is at hand and the funding necessary to build the park is in place. The lower income targets for the affordable housing mean that more housing will be available to local residents. Taken together with the benefits agreed to as part of the Greenpoint Landing actions, Greenpoint and all of north Brooklyn have a lot to be please with.”

Dewey Thompson and Christine Holowacz of the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning (GWAPP) said, “Given the stark options presented by the City in this ULURP process, GWAPP feels that CP Levin succeeded in securing two essential benefits for the community: the long-awaited park at 65 Commercial St. and some significant affordable housing.”

Rich Mazur, Executive Director of North Brooklyn Development Corporation, said, “We are very pleased that the developer has created an affordable plan that fits within the targets of the 2005 Points of Agreement that are acceptable for the residents of this community. This will go a long way in solving the affordable housing crisis and I commend Council Member Levin for understanding the affordable housing needs of our community and fighting to get what we deserve.”

See below for a list of benefits reached through discussions with the City and the developer:

Open Space

  • The developer has entered into an agreement with the City to assure that the funds the City receives for the City Air Rights will be used for the construction of Box Street Park, for which the City has committed to a build out budget of $9.5 million.
  • The developer and City agree to provide space to relocate the MTA Emergency Response Unit (the “ERU”) from 65 Commercial Street to the lot at 77 Commercial St.
  • The developer agrees to provide approximately 9,500 square feet of open space as a second fully landscaped walkway to serve as community access from the east. This walkway integrates the project and the community and provides a “green buffer” and a return path to Commercial Street when the waterfront esplanade “dead ends” into the industrial property to the east.

Affordable Housing

  • The developer agrees to build 200 Units of Permanent Affordable Housing which constitute approximately 28% of the total units, at the following AMI’s:
    • 10 Units at 40% of AMI
    • 10 Units at 50% of AMI
    • 80 Units at 60% of AMI
    • 26 Units at 80% of AMI
    • 34 Units at 100% of AMI
    • 40 Units at 125% of AMI
  • The developer agrees that all amenities will either be accessible to all residents at no charge or if a charge is made it will be discounted for tenants of the affordable units.

Transportation

  • The developer agrees to operate a free shuttle bus to transport area residents to the Number 7 train, the Court Square station and the G train.
  • The City agrees to work with the developer to seek MTA additions of a Commercial Street MTA bus line.

Various

  • The developer agrees that there will be a minimum of 5,000 square feet of community space.
  • The developer agrees not to lease to a “big box “operator and will limit retail units to 5,000 square feet or less of floor area (except for supermarkets and other “FRESH food stores” as defined in the Zoning Resolution), and will give preference to neighborhood retail.
  • The developer agrees to designate a Construction Manager who will be responsible for participating in the construction mitigation task force designated by the office of the Councilmember.
  • The developer agrees to use noise mitigation techniques and comply with air quality requirements and establish a complaint hotline so that the community will have the ability to raise concerns directly during the construction of the project.
  • The developer will establish a complaint hotline so that the community will have the ability to raise concerns directly during the construction of the project.

CONTACT: Matt Ojala, (212) 788-7348.

GWAPP

GWAPP

The Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks & Planning, Inc. ("GWAPP") is a not-for-profit group, 501(c)(3), comprised of individuals, community organizations, religious institutions, and concerned citizens from the Greenpoint-Williamsburg communities dedicated to the development of parks and public access on the Greenpoint waterfront.

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