A Town Hall Hack In Crown Heights, Updates On Local Development Projects

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Permits have been filed for the 15-story building seen at the rear of the Drill Shed (Rendering via BFC Partners)

CROWN HEIGHTS — If you missed the Crown Heights Town Hall on Tuesday on development, it’s OK, not much was accomplished.

Assemblyman Walter Mosely was the lone legislator fending off an angry bunch of neighbors. Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke sent representatives.

Several people sounded off against the development planned in Crown Heights between Eastern Parkway and Empire Boulevard from Washington to Rogers Avenues. The same issues residents complained o more than a year ago, still plague the projects: overcrowding, the stress on infrastructure, and displacement.

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Here’s a recap as to where the developments stand:

1. Laundry Facility – 40 Crown St. & 931 Carroll St. –  The year-old project will include two new 16-story buildings at each location. In total, the project will comprise 530,043 sq. ft. contacting 518 units of which 140 would be permanently affordable units. Rentals will include studio, 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments, according to city planning documents. City Planning Commission voted to approve the project on Oct. 31 and the plan will go before City Council on Nov. 15. The development falls under the Franklin Avenue Rezoning Plan unanimously objected to by Community Board 8.

Mosley pledged to “draft a letter” to developers after activists pressed him on the environmental assessment applications for the building.

Old Spice Factory / Google Streetview

2. The Old Spice Factory – 960 Franklin Ave. –  Developers are asking to build 6 towers ranging from 15- to 37-stories tall. The units will house 1500 apartments of which half will be affordable. Three hundred of the affordable units will go to tenants with salaries within 50% of the area median income (AMI). The Brooklyn Botanic Garden is worried this development would cast shadows that would impact their nursery and conservatory gardens.

450 Eastern Pkwy / Google Streetview

3. First Baptist Church of Crown Heights – 450 Eastern Pkwy. – The Church could exercise the option to lease the land to developers for 99 years. The agreement would resemble similar leasing structures between church and developer throughout the borough.  Ex-politician and former Kings County Democratic Party Chairman Clarence Norman Jr. is consulting for The Local Development Corporation of Crown Heights. Norman’s father, Clarence Norman, Sr. served as the church’s pastor for 62 years. Clarence Norman Jr. told Bklyner he has no plans to sell but is “exploring different options”.

4. Bedford Union Armory – 1579 Bedford Ave. – Developers finally filed plans for the controversial development this March. The 15-story building will have 250 units of its 500 units as low-income units with the rest at market space. Room for 201 cars and 178 bikes. Attendees at the town hall urged the assemblyman to insist on community centers throughout the mixed-use.

1535 Bedford Ave / Google Streetview

5. Former BP Gas Station site – 1535 Bedford Ave. –  The 11-story building,  lists 35 of the 189 units as affordable, according to Housing Preservation and Development. Its studios start at $2,225, and 2-bedroom units range from $3,025 to $3,665. There was little discussion on the project at Tuesday’s meeting.

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  1. I’ll start by saying that I don’t like Walter Mosley because he’s never seen corruption he doesn’t like, and it’s his job to know more about the details of these projects than the people in the community who showed up to this meeting. With that said, however, Laurie Cumbo did him dirty. The feeling among some of the people that I talked to is that she didn’t bother showing up when it became apparent this wasn’t going to have a friendly crowd. All of these deals stink like hell, especially the one involving the old gas station which is affordable to absolutely no one in the area. Crown Heights will be Manhattan in three years’ time.

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