Proposed 80 Flatbush project a huge increase in bulk over Downtown rezoning; harbinger of Site 5 project?
|80 Flatbush from north. Via Alloy Development|
It would be the second-tallest building in Brooklyn. And the square footage means a Floor Area Ratio (FAR)--bulk as multiple of lot size--of 18. That would represent a dramatic increase from the current FAR of 6, which emerged from the 2004 Downton Brooklyn Rezoning, not to mention the maximum Downtown Brooklyn FAR of 12.
(Updated/corrected: given 1.1 million zoning square feet--not including things like cellars--the FAR would indeed be 18.)
The key elected official, Council Member Steve Levin, told Gothamist he's "eager to see what the public response is" and indicated his own leanings: "I would say that it is a somewhat different scenario than just a private development going for an 18-FAR because it has significant public benefit."
|80 Flatbush in center-left foreground, dwarfing Williamsburgh Savings Bank. Added arrow = Site 5 of Atlantic Yards.|
|80 Flatbush, via Google maps|
Both projects would, on one flank, border a narrow street with row houses: Site 5 bordering Pacific Street and 80 Flatbush bordering State Street. The Brooklyn Paper, identifying 80 Flatbush as "on the eastern edge of very low-rise Boerum Hill," suggested neighbors would oppose it.
“It’s a massive project,” Boerum Hill Association Howard Kolins said. “Virtually nothing (in the proposal) is a benefit for people living there. You have to brace yourself for a large high rise that you’d rather not be there.”
|Looking at State Street, southern border of 80 Flatbush|
(By the way, the 1,066-foot supertall tower planned near Junior's, the borough's tallest, would be relatively narrow and contain 556,164 square feet.)
Alloy, explained spokesman James Yolles, now owns about 75% of the site and New York City owns about 25%. Alloy has agreed to build two new schools (funded by bonds floated by ECF), build a 200,000 square foot residential portion--all market-rate--in the first tower, and lease that space for 99 years, with the ground rent and tax equivalency payments covering debt service on the bonds. The city would put up no capital funds.
|Top arrow=80 Flatbush. Lower arrow=Site 5|
The schools would be separate structures in the middle of the block. The lower school entrance would be on State State street, the high school on Flatbush Avenue, with shared facilities (cafeteria, gym) connecting them in the middle.
The obligation to ECF is satisfied once the schools and Non-School Portion are finished, Yolles said, but the "feasibility of the entire project is linked."
According to the press release:
In July, ECF issued a formal Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) that called for the redevelopment of 362 Schermerhorn Street, the current site of the Khalil Gibran International Academy. Alloy, which owns the adjacent sites, responded with a proposal that included two schools for a total of 120,000 square feet and 700 seats. One of the schools will serve as the new state‐of‐the‐art home for Khalil Gibran, increasing the school’s capacity from 260 to 350 students and providing a new shared cafeteria, gymnasium and library. Additionally, Alloy will build a new 350‐seat elementary school on State Street...
Historic preservation is a central focus of the proposed development. 362 Schermerhorn comprises two structures that contribute to the area’s historic context – one at State Street and 3rd Avenue, built in the 1860s, and one at Schermerhorn and 3rd Avenue, built in the 1890s. While neither building is suitable for contemporary school use or currently protected by landmark status, Alloy intends to preserve and adaptively reuse both buildings.
In a letter, Della Valle and colleague AJ Pires called "80 Flatbush is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the borough’s identity," adding that talking with neighbors "helped us recognize that two existing buildings... merit preservation and incorporation into the master plan" and that a cluster of buildings would be superior to a "single building on a large podium." Easier to finance, too, I'd bet.
Here's coverage in Politico, DNAinfo, YIMBY, News12, Gothamist, and the Brooklyn Paper.