The Real Deal New York

Community board rejects bid for special zoning in Williamsburg

Officials worry the modifications could set a dangerous precedent
March 09, 2016 05:55PM

25 Kent Avenue Brooklyn

Rendering of 25 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg (credit: Heritage Equity Partners) (inset: Toby Moskovits)

The 480,000-square-foot commercial and industrial building planned for 25 Kent Avenue has hit a snag — for now.

Community Board 1 struck down a request from the Department of City Planning to change zoning rules in Williamsburg’s industrial zone, DNAinfo reported. With its rejection, however, the board also recommended that a zoning change only be applied to one block, which includes  Heritage Equity Partners‘ and Philadelphia-based Rubenstein Partners‘ 25 Kent. The zoning change would allow the developers to increase the amount of office space in their planned building. As it stands, current zoning dictates that 224,000 square feet of the building needs to be used for community facilities. If granted the additional office space, the developers would need to set aside some space in the eight-story building for light manufacturing use.

Board members expressed concern that the zoning modifications could open the floodgates for developers with less attractive proposals than that planned for 25 Kent. An attorney for the developers disagreed, telling the website that other developers would also need to seek a special permit (the board approved a special permit that would allow 25 Kent to take advantage of zoning changes, should they ultimately be implemented). The board members said that more restrictions were needed to make sure that the manufacturing space was kept affordable and used as intended, the website reported.

“This is going to affect us for the rest of our lives,” said the board’s chair, Dealice Fuller.

The next public hearing on the zoning changes is set for March 21. [DNAinfo]Kathryn Brenzel

Correction: Due to errors in the source article, a previous version of this story didn’t note that the community board favored extending the zoning change to 25 Kent.