Developer drops plans for Vinegar Hill resi building after community backlash

Tocci Brothers needed a rezoning under MIH to construct the 72-unit building
June 06, 2017 10:40AM

Rendering of 251 Front Street (Credit: Think Architecture and Design via New York YIMBY)

Plans for yet another residential building that relied on the de Blasio administration’s affordable housing policy have withered, after community groups and local officials rallied against Tocci Brothers’ proposed development in Vinegar Hill.

Tocci Brothers planned to build a 72-unit building with 18 rental units for low-and-middle-income tenants at 271 Front Street, Politico reported. The developer was seeking a rezoning on the lot under the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing policy. However, Tocci withdrew the application after local council member Steve Levin made it clear he would not back the project. The local community board and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams had already rejected the proposal.

Without Levin’s support, the plans would not have passed a City Council vote set to go ahead this week, according to the publication.

“This building would’ve been out of context as proposed. It was too big and too dense for this neighborhood,” Levin said, according to Politico.

Political and community opposition has derailed several projects seeking to make use of MIH, a signature policy from Mayor Bill de Blasio that requires developers to include affordable housing at projects in exchange for increased zoning rights on their sites.

In November, Fortis Property Group dropped its plans to include affordable housing at the Long Island College Hospital development.  Washington Square Partners and Acadia Realty Trust wanted to build a 15-story property with 175 affordable apartments in Inwood, but the City Council voted against it.  And Phipps Houses yanked its rezoning application for a Sunnyside project in September after catching heat from the local Council rep.

However, there have been a few success stories. La Central, a publicly funded development in the Bronx, will feature 1,000 units of affordable housing. [Politico]Miriam Hall