BOERUM HILL – At a City Planning Commission hearing on Wednesday, June 13, supporters and opponents of 80 Flatbush voiced their opinions on the controversial development project.
The hearing was part of the ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] process and took place following two public hearings on the project (one held on March 28 and the second on April 30) and Community Board 2’s vote against the proposal.
Alloy Development plans to build two new mixed-use towers on the site, one 38 stories and the other 74 stories (which at 986 feet tall would be as high as the Chrysler Building, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle). 80 Flatbush would include 700 market-rate apartments and 200 permanently affordable units. The project would also feature a 15,000-square-foot cultural space, 40,000-square-foot ground floor commercial/retail space, and two schools—a 350-seat elementary school and a new facility for the Khalil Gibran International Academy High School.
Support for 80 Flatbush outweighed the opposition at Wednesday’s hearing, with 34 speakers voicing approval for the project and 11 attendees speaking out against it, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported.
In a statement read at the hearing, Winston Hamann, the Principal of Khalil Gibran compared his school to a Faberge egg, saying the building is “stately from the outside but empty on the inside. This building does not allow our kids to flourish, to play, to have the advantages of other schools.”
Other speakers supporting the project included Regina Myer, the President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership; Ofer Cohen, the newly elected Chairman of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership; and members of 32BJ SEIU, the service employees union that is partnering with Alloy on 80 Flatbush.
Opponents to the plan are asking the City Planning Commission to not pass the zoning changes Alloy requested which would allow the development to rise much higher than existing zoning allows. The FAR (floor-area ratio) for the site is currently 6.5. Alloy wants it increased to 18.
“The new Brooklyn needs to be built—but not by stepping on the traditional Brooklyn that so many [people] have created by preserving century-old buildings,” said Howard Kolins, President of the Boerum Hill Association. “We ask for balance.”
“This inappropriate, unprecedented, abruptly out-of-scale, out-of-context, done-in-isolation proposal is an example of the most damaging kind of development, concocted without any regard for the impacts it will project onto the surrounding area,” said Sandy Balboza, a Boerum Hill resident and member of the Atlantic Avenue Betterment Association.
Thomas Devaney, Senior Director of Land Use & Planning for the Municipal Art Society of New York spoke against the 80 Flatbush project while representatives for Senator Velmanette Montgomery and Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon read statements against the project.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams will issue an advisory recommendation on 80 Flatbush and the NYC Planning Commission will then review the project prior to a vote by the New York City Council.