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MetroTech BID expansion moves ahead smoothly after committee hearing and vote

So, it looks like the MetroTech BID will expand to encompass the cultural district around the Brooklyn Academy of Music, as well as Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls.

Apparently the 5/5/15  Economic Development & Employment Committee of Community Board 2 was uneventful, and the committee voted without dissent to approve the effort. Presumably the full board will act similarly at its meeting May 13.

According to draft minutes I was provided, there was a presentation from Andrew Kalish of the not-for-profit, corporate-dominated Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP), along with David Lombino of Two Trees, the real estate company which is building an apartment on the BAM South Site within the sub-district expected to be added to the BID.

The goals of the BID extension, as Lombino put it, are simple, including added sanitation, advocacy on behalf of the area, and programming in the new public spaces. Two residents of the One Hanson Place condo, according to a statement read by Kalish, were supportive.

In an apparent effort to make the private group more transparent, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership aims to create a non-voting seat for CB 2, as well as a non-voting residential advisory council.

Comments and questions

Among the public commenters, Howard Pitsch, past chair of the Fort Greene Association and a veteran preservationist, pointed out much of the sub-district is in the Brooklyn Academy of Music Historic District and encouraged the BID to be sensitive to that fact.

Another commenter, Shannon Hanson asked questions from the perspective of a potential new resident. Kalish explained that the assessment is included on the real estate tax bill; given that the BID budget is fixed, an increase in the real estate tax valuation does not necessarily mean the BID assessment goes up. One committee and CB 2 member, Ron Cohen, said he's on the MetroTech BID board, with assessment charged within his monthly maintenance.t

During the committee Q&A, Kalish explained that the Atlantic Center and Atlantic Terminal malls will continue to be responsible for their own security; in fact, the sub-district budget does not include security at all.

In response to questions from Maisha Morales, a longtime member of FUREE (which is critical of the DBP's focus on downtown redevelopment), Kalish said property owners on fixed incomes cannot opt-out of the BID or obtain a discount. Also, the BID won't affect affordable housing present or pending, as there is no assessment on rent-stabilized properties.

Also, while the DBP will manage the renovation of BAM Park, the open space is not in the BID extension but rather will be added to the FAB Alliance.

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