Last month, the New York City Council, after much public haggling, finally approved a multi-towered residential complex on Kent Avenue, between Division and the Schaefer Landing in Williamsburg, called Rose Plaza. Several major concessions from the developers were worked out by Council Member Steve Levin. The rookie council member fought for and won an increase in the proposed affordable housing from 20 to 30 percent.
Levin also managed to achieve a density at 5.0 FAR (Floor-Area Ratio1) with a reduction of units from 801 total units to 754 units. He also got developers Isaac and Abraham Rosenberg to go from zero to 14 four-bedroom units, all affordable. The deal also includes 40 three-bedroom apartments, of which only eight were originally proposed as affordable, to 60 three-bedrooms units that are all affordable. Not bad. Kudos to our new council member!
(Rose Plaza luxury housing development includes 754 residential units in three towers of 18, 24 and 28 stories.)
Council Member Levin deserves credit for increasing the affordable units while keeping the density of the project at levels consistent with other waterfront projects.
Now we need to ask if Rose Plaza will be a thorn in the side of CPCR (Community Preservation Corporation Resources) and Isaac Katan, the developers of the proposed Domino Sugar rezoning.
The developers are asking for 25% more density than was granted in 2005 during the rezoning of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, stating they need the density to provide affordable housing, yet Rose Plaza just did what CPCR says they can’t do.
Even when the Borough President conditionally approved the Domino proposal, among his long list of changes is that CPCR lower the density to 5.0, the same density Rose Plaza accepted while maintaining 30% affordability.
It will be interesting to see if City Planning and the City Council demand that Domino comply with zoning that all other waterfront projects have agreed to. As we go to press, CPCR maintains that making the project smaller is not financially feasible.
“What we need to provide the affordable housing is the revenue that’s produced by the market rate units on the site,” said Susan Pollack from CPCR. Stay tuned.
Still on Fire
1. Floor-Area Ratio (FAR) is the arithmetic relationship of the total square feet of a building to the square footage of the land area. The floor-area ratio is often limited by the zoning code and may have an important influence on the land value.