Chetrit, Bistricer propose “poor door” at Greenpoint site

August 22, 2013 06:00PM

Gary Barnett’s “poor door” at 40 Riverside Boulevard may soon have some company over in Greenpoint.

Developers Joseph Chetrit and David Bistricer have plans for a soaring residential tower at 77 Commercial Street in Greenpoint that could include separate entrances for occupants of affordable units and tenants in the building’s luxury dwellings.

The developing duo insist they have yet to make a final call on the separate entrances, which have drawn the ire of city officials who call the plan “segregation in housing.”

“We’re only now starting to realize the inequity of it now that a lot of these developments have been completed in recent years,” City Council member Stephen Levin, who represents Greenpoint and neighboring Williamsburg and is up for reelection in November, told Crain’s. “I reinforced the community’s point that this is something we were not interested in seeing in any development in our neighborhood.”

The site is zoned for roughly 300,000 square feet, and Chetrit and Bistricer are also eyeing a vacant parcel at Nearby 65 Commercial Street that is owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The two have entered into an $8.2 million contract for the land. But in order to use the rights to this additional space, they must first secure approval from the City Council.

With those rights, the development team say they would build a luxury rental property that includes two towers 30 and 40 stories tall. The buildings would be designed by architect John Cetra.

Pairing the $8.2 million proceeds from the sale of air rights with $1 million in city funding to create a park that could be dubbed Box Street Park, Chetrit and Bistricer would also be required to construct 200 affordable housing units. Of those lower-priced properties, 20 would be for middle-income residents, 72 for low-income renters and 108 moderately priced.

A land use attorney representing Chetrit and Bistricer told Crain’s that the developers are aware of the community’s concerns and do not plan to segregate low-income residents. Amenities in the building would be accessible to all occupants, and the lower-level affordable units would have views of the East River and Manhattan skyline. [Crain’s]Julie Strickland