The Real Deal New York

Why Brad Lander is furious at a Carroll Gardens developer

Council member, Brooklyn developer don't see eye-to-eye on MIH policy
December 13, 2016 11:00AM

14-18 Carroll St in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (credit: Google Maps) and Brad Lander

The city’s mandatory inclusionary housing policy is causing yet another wrangle between influential Brooklyn council member Brad Lander and a local developer.

This time the dispute is over a proposal to build 10 condominium units on three, small vacant lots in Carroll Gardens. The lots are currently zoned for manufacturing. The applicant — 14-18 Carroll LLC, a shell company controlled by Oestreicher Properties, according to property records — wants the area rezoned to allow for residential development, but is arguing it should not have to comply with the city’s mandatory inclusionary housing law, which requires developers to build affordable housing in exchange for increased density on a site.

The City Council’s local leader isn’t buying it. The dispute came to a head at a council hearing on Monday, Politico reported, with Lander demanding that the developer’s attorney retract statements, and at one point threatening to storm out. The City Council is set to reject the application this week.

At the hearing, the applicant’s attorney Adam Rothkrug, argued the proposed 12,459-square-foot building falls just short of the 12,500-square-foot threshold for the mandate. Rothkrug said the developer did not account for since the policy had not been passed when the plan was originally developed.

“If there’s not a significant public benefit, we should leave the manufacturing zoning we have in place,” Lander said. “We don’t need a few market-rate condos.”

Rothkrug said the developer has considered putting money into a city-controlled fund established this year for developers building between 11 and 25 units, in lieu of the housing requirement. But, he said, the city’s housing agency said the applicant will need to pay $2.2 million, which is a “project killer.”

An anonymous LLC that belongs to Oestreicher Properties bought 14 and 18 Carroll Street in 2012, paying $240 a square foot, property records show. A representative for the developer acknowledged that the owners overpaid for the site.

The city’s MIH policy has met with several setbacks in recent months, with a community board denying an application for 296 new apartments in Bedford Stuyvesant, as well as Fortis Property Group’s TRData LogoTINY plan to abandon affordable housing at the Long Island College Hospital site. [Politico]Miriam Hall