The City Council’s land use committee on Thursday approved a proposal to rezone half a block of near-waterfront land in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Council member Stephen Levin, whose district includes the project area, voted in favor of the plan, all but ensuring its approval with the full council.
The petitioners, 307 Kent Associates, own one of the lots in question, which is currently home to a one-story, 15,000-square-foot warehouse used as an event space. The developers plan to demolish the building and replace it with a nine-story, mixed-use commercial building more than six times the size of the warehouse. Once completed, it will total 101,000 square feet, including 70,000 square feet of offices, a 22,000-square-foot community medical facility and 9,000 square feet of ground-level retail.
The project comes at an uncertain moment for Brooklyn commercial space. Vacancy rates in Williamsburg have hovered around 25% for the last year, according to a new report from Collier’s International. That said, it still commands the second-highest asking rents across Brooklyn submarkets at $61 per square foot.
307 Kent Associates has owned the property since 1983, public records show. The signing member of the LLC is Louis Silverman, a Williamsburg developer and founder of G4 Capital Partners, a real estate bridge lender. G4’s website boasts 10 development projects in Williamsburg alone. Silverman did not return a request for comment. The developer wrote in filings that it expects an adjacent one-story warehouse, which it does not own, will also likely be redeveloped.
Once the plan gets the final nod from a full City Council vote, it is expected to finish construction in 2023. The project site borders the Domino Sugar factory whose own rezoning failed to get through public review before Mayor Bloomberg’s administration ended. With just one vote left, this rezoning will not face the same fate.
The rezoning would change the western parts of the block to M1-5 zoning, a manufacturing use with a maximum floor-area of five. The remainder of the block would be zoned MX-8, a special mixed-use zoning for industrial and residential uses, and would become subject to MIH requirements. There are currently a series of four-story residential developments in that portion of the block.