Meredith Marshall is not a fan of the city’s approval process for big projects, like the one his BRP Companies plans for 270 Nostrand Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
But in this case, despite opposition from locals and a setback at the usually pro-development City Planning Commission, it appears to have worked out for him.
The City Council last week approved BRP’s proposed rezoning. Assuming the planning commission signs off on late changes to the plan, BRP can construct a huge, mixed-use building on the site of a former nursing home.
In September, the commission had voted to reduce the project’s density and height. But on Thursday, the council’s Land Use Committee restored BRP’s original proposed density.
BRP plans a 14-story, 340,000-square-foot project with 11,600 square feet of commercial space. It will create 487 apartments, 144 of which would be income-restricted.
“This modification will both increase the number of affordable housing units and deepen the affordability while allowing density that is appropriate for this large vacant site on a major Brooklyn avenue,” said Councilmember Rafael Salamanca, the committee’s chair, while explaining the changes.
The full Council approved the rezoning later that afternoon.
The rezoning faced blowback from the start, with the local community board and the purportedly pro-housing borough president, Eric Adams, recommending against the petition.
“Without providing more affordable units and more family-sized units, the change to R8A [higher-density zoning] would not provide a sufficient public benefit to the community,” Community Board 3 wrote.
But community boards and borough presidents — even those just months from becoming mayor — only have advisory roles in the process. The ultimate decision-maker is the local City Council representative, in this case Robert Cornegy, who is among the chamber’s most business-friendly members. Any deal on 270 Nostrand would have had to have gone through him.
Though BRP applied for the rezoning, Allure Group actually owns the land. The senior living center operator bought the 47,600-square-foot plot in 2015 for $15.6 million. Neither immediately responded to requests for comment. Welltower, a real estate investment trust, holds a $25 million mortgage on the property.
BRP specializes in building middle-income housing in neighborhoods that developers typically ignore. “We need to build more workforce housing for the typical New York City worker,” the firm’s co-founder Meredith Marshall told The Real Deal in January. “We can’t all do it with HPD and city subsidy, because we just don’t have enough money.”
Marshall, who grew up in East Flatbush, near the project site, also called for denser zoning in transit-rich neighborhoods.
The modified application for 270 Nostrand Avenue now heads back to the City Planning Commission for approval. It has two weeks to review it.