CONEY ISLAND – Representatives from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) came to the Community Board 13 meeting on Wednesday night with an update on the large projects in the works for Surf Avenue.
Residents met the projected addition of over 2,500 units or potentially 10,000 new residents with concerns about lack of a clear plan (or at least one that has been clearly articulated) by the city on supporting infrastructure. Coney Island is home to about 40,000 residents, so the increase is substantial.
The biggest concern was traffic additional residents would generate and scarcity of parking. Community Board members questioned how the city plans to make sure everyone can get in and out of the island that is already a constant traffic jam, should there be an emergency? The rezoning, including associated Environmental Impact Studies, happened before Hurrican Sandy, which exposed just how unprepared the area is for an emergency – should the plans not be reconsidered? Schools are overcrowded now – where is the plan? What will all of this development do for the current residents in an area with double the city’s unemployment rates?
The officials promised to communicate these concerns back to the city, and assured that much more community consultation will take place as the projects are developed.
There are currently two massive developments in the works – Bath Site, to the west of MCU park between Surf Avenue and the boardwalk, and Surf Avenue Project that spans three blocks between Surf and Mermaid between West 16th and West 20th streets, directly across from MCU, all part of the area that was rezoned back in 2009 to allow for development that is quite a bit taller than what surrounds it now.
Bath Site development consists of seven buildings, of which the first one, located on the corner of Surf Avenue and West 21st Street is expected to be completed towards the end of this year, according to HPD, bringing 135 units of affordable housing to the community.
The project is developed by Concern for Independent Living and Georgica Green Ventures, and will provide housing for 82 homeless veterans. The project also calls for a veteran run bakery on the ground floor.
It is being financed under the HPD Supportive Housing Loan Program (SHLP) for permanent supportive housing with on-site social services. Such projects must “provide 60% of units for homeless, disabled individuals or homeless families with a disabled head-of-household. The remaining 40% can be rented to households from the community earning up to 60% of the Area Median Income.”
Surf Avenue Project:
Surf Avenue project is still in the development stages. It spans three city blocks, and has been split into three Phases, with tentative completion dates currently set for 2021, 2022 and 2023 respectively. The developer is most likely going to present updated plans to the Community Board in March.
Phase 1 is expected to be 100% affordable housing, about 400 units, with financing currently under negotiation. The plans for the rest have not been finalized, but the city expects more than 1,000 units from the development, up to 182,500 of retail and commercial space on the first two floors of the development and up to 138,000 square feet of parking.
Judging by the rezoning documents, that translates into about 782 parking spaces – 182 parking spaces thanks to parking required for retail uses and about 600 required per 1,000 residential units. Such parking is expected to be above ground, and zoning requires it to be wrapped by retail and residential uses.