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Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park graphic: what's built/what's coming + FAQ (pinned post)

From the Brooklyn Daily Eagle: "When developers call upzoning a public benefit, check their bottom line" (plus a Site 5 connection)

Yesterday, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle published my essay, headlined OPINION: When developers call upzoning a public benefit, check their bottom line, with the subheading, "Giant 625 Fulton tower, said to help Brooklyn, deserves scrutiny as private benefit."

This is not Atlantic Yards, of course, but not so far away, at Fulton Street at Rockwell Place. The proposed 942-foot tower, with a Floor Area Ratio (FAR) of 21 (compared with the Downtown Brooklyn rezoning, with an FAR of 12), would continue to change the context in and around Downtown Brooklyn.

The Eagle produced a nice GIF showing the comparison between the tower the developers (Rabsky and Totem) could build without the upzoning, and the one they propose.


Also, not mentioned in my essay, approval of that upzoning would make it easier to argue for a huge transfer of bulk to Site 5 of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park, which would have an FAR of 23.5.

From the essay

The lead of my essay:
The real estate company Rabsky Development, in partnership with the consultancy group Totem, has very big plans for a 1.73-acre lot in Downtown Brooklyn: a hybrid office/apartment building far bulkier, if not taller, than the Chrysler Building.
That site, 625 Fulton St., is one block east of Flatbush Avenue and just up the street from the BAM Harvey Theater and BRIC.
“A first look at what could become one of Brooklyn’s tallest buildings,” is how the Brooklyn Eagle headlined coverage of a recent presentation before Community Board 2. But Rabsky has proposed not merely a 942-foot tower (79 stories); it seeks city permission to double the available square footage. With nearly 1.6 million square feet, it would cover far more of the lot than currently allowed.
“This project will bring exciting benefits to Brooklyn,” a developer’s representative claimed, citing “commercial space that encourages entrepreneurship, a much-needed school, new indoor and outdoor open spaces and space for the local arts community.” Plans for affordable housing and corporate-friendly floor design are said to justify the requested upzoning. Under current zoning, the developers could build a slim, 821-foot apartment tower, with a plaza and surface parking lot. Images via Rabsky Development’s draft scope of work
Unmentioned, though, is the significant private benefit Rabsky seeks, an increase in buildable square footage worth, by my estimate, well over $100 million. No wonder they’re paying at least $1,125 an hour to have attorney David Karnovsky, former general counsel to the Department of City Planning, lobby for the project.
Assessing the value created for Rabsky — or any developer asking for such a dramatic upzoning — should become a central point in the land use process, better informing communities and lawmakers facing such proposals.
For the rest of the article, please go to the Eagle

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