Council member may switch stance on Two Trees’ BAM project

From left: BAM South and Letitia James
From left: BAM South and Letitia James

A major expansion of the Brooklyn Academy of Music campus — the so-called BAM South development in Fort Greene — hangs in the balance as a key City Council member buckles down. Council member Letitia James, an enthusiastic supporter of the project until last week, now says she will oppose the development unless certain demands are met, Crain’s reported.

James told Crain’s she has always been skeptical of the project, which designates 20 percent of the units for affordable housing.

She is also pushing for a prevailing wages for construction workers, which would be higher than the state minimum wage. Two Trees Management, BAM South’s developer, said such a move would increase construction costs by 30 percent — an uptick the company said it can’t afford alongside the promised cultural space and 60 units of affordable housing.

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If an agreement cannot be reached, Two Trees has promised to build an as-of-right development on the site, which the developer says would include no cultural space or affordable units.

“If the project is turned down, the losers are going to be the affordable housing and cultural community and not the developer and the Council member,” Tucker Reed, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, told Crain’s.

The plan comes before City Council for a final vote Wednesday, at which point rezoning must be approved to allow for residential development on the site. [Crain’s]Julie Strickland

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