The Real Deal New York

Shifra Hager looks to develop 500-unit MIH project

Developer wants to rezone two Crown Heights properties to build a pair of larger, taller buildings

November 22, 2016 04:40PM
By Rich Bockmann

Cornell Realty Management's South Crown Heights development sites at 40 Crown Street (left) and 931 Carroll Street

From left: Cornell Realty Management’s South Crown Heights development sites at 40 Crown and 931 Carroll Street

Shifra Hager is looking to rezone properties near the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in Crown Heights to pave the way for two buildings with more than 500 residential units under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program.

Hager, head of Cornell Realty Management, filed an application with the Department of City Planning that would allow her to build a pair of buildings larger and taller than the current zoning allows.

Her company’s site at 40 Crown Street, which property records show Hager bought in 2014 for $14.5 million, allows for a seven-story, 70-foot-tall residential building as-of-right. Hager is proposing to rezone the property so that he could build a 16-story, 157-foot-tall mixed-building with about 15,000 square feet of retail.

The 400,000-square-foot building, which would front along the entire block of Franklin Avenue between Crown and Montgomery streets, is set to include 390 units. Of those apartments, 105 would have below-market rents.

If Hager signed a supermarket to the retail space, she could add enough bonus square footage to allow for 16 additional units.

Two blocks to the north, Cornell owns a smaller site at 931 Carroll Street, which records show she also bought in 2014 for $2.5 million.

Hager is proposing developing a 16-story, 150-foot-tall purely residential building with 128 units, including 35 units at below-market rents.

In both developments, Cornell plans to set aside the “equivalent” of 25 percent of the total square footage for tenants earning 60 percent of the annual median income, with 10 percent of that area designated for those earning 40 percent of AMI.

Hager could not be reached for comment. An active developer in Brooklyn, she is the latest builder to apply for a rezoning under the city’s MIH program, which has been off to a rough start after local Council members in Inwood and Sunnyside – both of whom voted in favor of the program – pushed back against proposed projects in their districts.

Cornell’s sites sit in the district of Council member Laurie Cumbo, who also voted in favor of MIH. Cumbo’s office couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

The neighborhood has a number of development projects in the works. Just a short walk from Cornell’s properties, the New York City Economic Development Corporation is looking to redevelop the Bedford-Union Armory into a 500,000-square-foot mixed-use project with 24 condominiums and 330 rental units.

Slate Property Group recently dropped out of the project, though after community groups criticized the developer for its role in the Rivington House scandal. BFC Partners TRData LogoTINY is now leading the redevelopment.

Hager last year bought a development site across the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Franklin Avenue Shuttle tracks from her proposed 40 Crown Street building for $24.5 million in a partnership with Asher Abehsera and Aaron Lemma’s PWR.

That site is not included in the rezoning proposal.

Correction: A previous version of this article used an incorrect pronoun to refer to Shifra Hager.

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