The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Rezoning Sought For Massive New Buildings Near Botanic Garden

The Q has already delved into the reality of the privately proposed rezoning of areas near Franklin Avenue just north of Spice Factory, by Cornell Realty. The fact remains that even this requested doubling of currently allowed density AND height is really just the beginning. Once these structures are built, there's more land that's part of the rezoning (including the Spice Factory itself) that could legally reach similar heights. This is about as big a change for the SoCro NoLeGa area (South Crown Heights, North Lefferts Gardens) as this bad hombre can imagine. Add to that recently filed demo permits to tear down the old Toomey's to make way for residential, and it appears that MTOPP or no MTOPP, developers find this part of the borough WAY too tempting to pass up. Being near the Garden is certainly a plus. But Garden views? Now that's something to sell, no? Hell you can see all of NYC from up there, since we're near the highest point in Kings County. A rough sketch below. Remember, Tivoli and Ebbets already exist and are prominently pictured. Clearly the point of the sketch was to show that the new buildings aren't even that high comparatively.

More info on the project from YIMBY's Rebecca Baird-Remba
Cornell will obviously make use of the density and height bonuses allowed by including dozens of below-market apartments. That's the good part. The bad part, or the part that most members of the ULURP found galling at its last meeting, we the proposed wall of buildings that will become part of your eastward view from the garden itself. Parking, dear parking, was also decried as a major concern, though I suspect lots will be created underground. Infrastructure etc. etc. etc. Remember, the neighborhood already said "no" to redoing the infrastructure under Washington and Franklin when CB9 went apeshit over a proposed rebuilding of the corner at Empire/Wash/Franklin.

Bottom line - if your City Councilperson (Cumbo) and BP (Adams) approve of this idea, there's not much you or I or anyone else can say about it. Expect big, big protests at Community Board meetings, and more than a few public "actions."

Also...where does the BBG stand in all of this?

The City itself seems to think the project will cause little harm. According to DNA Info, the Dept of City Planning let the project move forward and into the ULURP stage, we go!


Anonymous said...

More future Section 8 (or the next equivalent) housing?

Anonymous said...

I doubt the prices for market rate units will be in the range of section 8's coverage (they usually won't approve above a certain price). As for the remaining, I doubt the landlord or management will want to accept section 8 applicants for affordable housing(illegal but you can't stop anything happening behind closed doors), though the luck of the lottery may change that. Either way this will be a huge influx of affluent tenants to this block. Ebbets Field's tenants may want to watch this since their management will probably want to stop being so lenient with their preferential rents.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon 5:56. You may have missed the sarcasm in previous Anon's comment. But yes, after the next big cataclysmic event this and many other large buildings may become cheap housing. Not at the present moment of course.

Ebbets is already seeing massive pressure and price hikes. They've been protesting for months. You'd hardly know it to read the media though.

Anonymous said...

A huge influx of wealthy tenants? Building a massive complex next to a quasi-project seems risky. Maybe I'm lacking the foresight. Are market forces powerful enough to overcome social forces?

MikeF said...

Ebbets Field apartments are already turning over slowly but surely.

The building is rent stabilized and it is a big building, so it will take some time before individual tenants will be willing to pay more than their neighbors.

...creating a luxury apartments within the building is not a valid strategy.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon 6:32. I think the residents of Ebbets would take issue with your characterization of their Mitchel-Lama building. But even if it's as you say, their are tons of market-rate buildings going up in neighborhoods that even five years ago would have been considered "socially" unacceptable. By which I assume you mean black and poor. Why not just say it? "Social forces." Makes it sound like something you have to deal with in puberty, but hardly the pernicious mindfuck that tears apart cities, lives, families and nations. Social forces indeed.

Seth said...

This is a terrible idea and will create massive shadows over the garden.

babs said...

Ebbets Field left the Mitchell-Lama program in the late 1980s - at just the wrong time. As the middle-class tenants the complex originally housed fled Brooklyn, market rents fell, and no-one wanted to move there. Hence the preferential rents and programs accepted by the LL. That is changing now, as noted above, and the newly-renovated units are said to be quite nice (and, while still mostly under the threshold for de-stabilization, some more MCI increases and a few lease turnovers will get them over it soon enough).

Anonymous said...

@Babs, I heard that part of the removal of the middleclass base was actually promoted by the owners aiming to convert the building to Co-op and evicting tenants, no interest from buyers, and then a scramble to fill the units with anyone to pay followed by some preference for section 8 and similar recipients since the management could charge more to be reported to the Fed and tenants would still pay a reasonable rate out of pocket. I live in EF now and have to say, it's nicer than it looks on the outside, apartment by apartment varies, but even my pref rent is $1100 less than registered. Very worrying.

Anonymous said...

Seth 5:42 The sun rises in the east, the existing highrise to the north of the proposed site is taller than the proposed. So if that existing highrise casts shadows over the garden, I think you have a point. But I doubt that it does and if it does it is only from dawn until 9 or 10 tops.

Anonymous said...

The shadows argument didn't win in efforts to stop highrises in Manhattan so I wouldn't see the sense in trying it here. Compared to worries about gentrification it also comes across badly to emphasize it. By this point I'm so disgusted I hope they build all of this. It's what Alicia Boyd deserves. Next, owners of storage building properties get nice offers to sell from developers.

Seth said...

No one is emphasizing the shadows but it's part of the equation along with many other planning and zoning issues.

We did win on the shadows argument in the 90s to protect Central Park. More recently we lost. The battle goes back-and-forth.