Real Estate

7-Story Building at 480 Stratford Is Growing Fast

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Construction at 480 Stratford, 2/5/13

Construction at 480 Stratford Road, 2/12/13

Construction at 480 Stratford, 2/19/13

If you blinked, you might not have noticed the seven-story building that is going up at what has been an empty lot for years, at 480 Stratford Road, between Dorchester and Ditmas. Every time we pass it, it seems like another story has been added to this building, which you may remember as one that almost didn’t get built.

The Victorian house that used to be on the lot was knocked down by its new owner, Jay Loeffler, in 2006. In December 2011, The Brooklyn Ink explained the story of how Loeffler planned to build a new seven-story structure on the site, which zoning at the time allowed. He reportedly began work on the foundation, but then construction stopped.

In 2009, the neighborhood managed to create a new zoning map, which rezoned this block from R6, which allows tall residential structures to be built, to R3X, which only allows single-family homes.

So when in 2011, a potential new owner of this lot hoped to buy it to build a high-rise, that company, 10 Stratford Associates, wouldn’t have been able to do so. They’d missed the two-year window to refile the permits with the Department of Buildings under the old zoning, and had to appeal to the Board of Standards and Appeals.

Community Board 14, voicing the opinions of the community that had worked hard to create the new zoning laws, sent a letter recommending that the BSA deny the application of appeal. From The Brooklyn Ink:

The community board’s concerns toward the buyer, according to the letter, is that the applicant does not own the property but is claiming financial hardship if the appeal is denied. The allegation of “bad faith” on the part of the current owner is not spelled out, but seems to be the result of five years of tensions between him and the community.

After months of being pushed along the calendar at BSA, on August 21, 2012, they decided in favor of the owner, and allowed the old permits to stand:

WHEREAS, while the Board was not swayed by any of the Opposition’s arguments, it nevertheless understands that the community and the elected officials worked diligently on the Flatbush Rezoning and that the Building does not comply with the new zoning parameters; and

WHEREAS, however, the Board finds that the applicant has met the test for a common law vested rights determination, and therefore has the right to continue construction on the site pursuant to the zoning regulations in place prior to the Rezoning Date.

Therefore it is Resolved that this appeal made pursuant to the common law of vested rights requesting a reinstatement of New Building Permit No. 302228346-01-NB, as well as all related permits for various work types, either already issued or necessary to complete construction and obtain a certificate of occupancy, is granted for two years from the date of this grant.

And so, permits in place, construction started up recently and has quickly steamed ahead. There have been a couple of complaints to the Department of Buildings so far (one on January 25 for the fence not being closed after hours, and one on February 1 about the construction site being unsafe which was cleared the same day), but nothing significant. All the main complaints — that this building not be built at all — had already been voiced in 2011, and rejected by the BSA last year.

The new building will have 14 residential units, and according to permits, will have some space dedicated to “community” facilities. Bricolage Architecture & Design, which has added many brick and glass boxes to Brooklyn, is working on the project.

It will join two other multiple-story buildings that are located up the block, closer to Dorchester, which were built in the 1960s. The house between this site and the first apartment building remains boarded up. In the other direction, 496 Stratford Road is still an empty lot, the stalled construction site of a potential community center by the Islamic Circle of North America — a lot that also had plans for a seven-story building in 2006, and which was also owned at the time by Jay Loeffler.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. New York City Charter
    BOARD OF STANDARDS AND APPEALS
    § 659. Constitution and appointment. a. There shall be an independent
    board of standards and appeals located within the office of
    administrative trials and hearings. The board of standards and appeals
    shall consist of five members to be termed commissioners to be appointed
    by the mayor each for a term of six years.

  2. The plans call for attended parking since that’s the only way to provide the required number of parking spaces. When the building opens and there is no parking attendant because it’s economcally unfeasable will the City shut it down?
    It’s certainly going to be a big ugly buildinmg out of place in the community.

  3. how old was the home that once stood there? Why are they allowed to build something so ugly and out of place? I could almost understand a multi-unit there IF it were build of some lasting value but the plans I see and judging from what is going up it is a ugly throw-away building that is proof that we haven’t learned much from the popping of the housing bubble.

  4. Are there images of what the Building will look like when finished? Right now it’s such an eyesore and looks very out of place, but maybe it will be a good looking place in the end? Will it be rentals or condos? It must really suck to be a next-door neighbor to that new building!!!!

  5. A Victorian home once stood there as they did on the entire block. To the north of this ugly building Victorian homes were torn down in the 1950’s or 1960’s to put up an apartment building. The blocks of Westminster, Argyle and Rugby also had homes torn down and land assembled to build 6 story apartment buildings.
    The Community Board requested a rezoning to prevent such demolition and it was approved by City Council about 3 years ago, buty since the original builder of that 7 story monstrosity had completed the foundation prior the the change he was allowed to continue, despite community efforts to stop the out of context building.

  6. Is going to look like an out of place ugly 7 story building. That’s why the neighborhood assn and Community Board 14 tried to stop it.

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