City Council upholds Brooklyn skyscraper district

Jan.January 24, 2012 03:00 PM

Despite strong Real Estate Board of New York opposition, the City Council’s Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritimes Uses voted today to uphold the Borough Hall Skyscraper Historic District proposed for Brooklyn, the New York Times reported.

The designation had been the source of controversy for more than a year, and especially after the Landmarks Preservation Commission first moved to protect the five-block, 21-building area along Court Street last September.

REBNY said the increased regulation on those buildings would stifle the commercial resurgence in Downtown Brooklyn. It argued the designation would make increase costs for landlords to upgrade buildings, and that cost would be passed on to businesses who would, in turn, seek cheaper space elsewhere. High-profile property owners in the area, like SL Green Realty, joined in the fight, as did the shareholders at the 75 Livingston Street co-op, who worried that the designation would add scrutiny to their property.

Nevertheless, the City Council subcommittee voted 4-0 in favor of the district. In a statement with district leader Stephen Levin, the City Council said the historic district was necessary to “strengthen the character” of Downtown Brooklyn, while allowing for some new retail space. [NYT]

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