Apartment project near Brooklyn Botanic Garden is shortened

Amended plan offers more sunlight, less affordable housing

New York /
Feb.February 24, 2021 09:35 AM
A photo illustration of the original 960 Franklin Avenue proposal with Continuum Company's Bruce Eichner (iStock, 960 Franklin)

A photo illustration of the original 960 Franklin Avenue proposal with Continuum Company’s Bruce Eichner (iStock, 960 Franklin)

A developer who proposed two Crown Heights apartment towers, only to be shot down by the mayor because they would shadow the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, has shrunk the project.

The new plan from Bruce Eichner’s Continuum Company, however, proposes far less affordable housing, The City reported.

Eichner’s website now pitches a project peaking at 17 stories, which he pits against a 34-story project that Mayor Bill de Blasio recently said would not be approved because it would be out of scale with the neighborhood and deprive the Botanic Garden of crucial sunlight.

But the newly proposed towers,  at 960 Franklin Avenue, would come with far less affordable housing. The project first submitted for city review would have 1,578 rental apartments, half of which would be affordable, with 40 percent of the affordable units reserved for households earning half of the area median income.

The shortened project would contain 279 affordable rentals, amounting to 25 percent of the 1,170 units. The plan would still require approval from the City Council and mayor.

The developer also floated an as-of-right project, meaning it could be built with no political approvals, containing 518 condominiums and no affordable housing. It is not clear if Eichner would use union labor for that development, as he had pledged to do for his 34-story, dual-tower project.

Adrian Benepe, the Botanic Garden president and former city parks commissioner, told The City that developers did not consult him on the latest proposal.

“That’s been the modus operandi of this developer the entire time,” Benepe said. “They developed a plan in a vacuum without contemplating the impacts not just on the garden but on the entire community.”

Project details are often negotiated with the local City Council member, in this case Laurie Cumbo, during the seven-month public review. Cumbo also objected to Eichner’s original proposal.

[The City] — Sasha Jones





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