City looking at 15 neighborhoods for potential rezoning

East New York, Central Brooklyn are two areas likely to see increased development

Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen
Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen

The city is looking into approximately 15 neighborhoods that are “ripe for increased density,” Deputy Mayor for housing and urban development Alicia Glen said at a panel today.

Glen added that she expects to see new residential buildings begin to crop up following the administration’s rezoning by the end of 2015. The neighborhood developments will be extensively studied, and each will take between four and five years to be completed, she said.

The deputy mayor didn’t specify how many of the new developments would have to be affordable under the city’s new mandatory inclusive zoning plan. There will likely not be a hard and fast rule, she said, as the process will be driven by local needs.

“It’s going to be neighborhood by neighborhood,” Glen said. “There is no magic wand that we’ll wave and everybody has to build 20 percent or 30 percent affordable housing.”

East New York and Central Brooklyn are two neighborhoods that will likely be targeted for heightened development. Central Brooklyn, especially, is less dense than it was for much of the 20th century, Glen pointed out.

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“We’re looking at a variety of mechanisms, we’re not coming into this with any particular prescription — on site, off site, exact proportions or ratios,” she said. “We’re very sensitive to the fact that inclusionary [zoning] is in many respects a market-driven approach to providing affordable housing, so we have to take that into account as we go through these neighborhoods.”

On Monday, the city approved $500 million for the development and preservation of affordable housing. 

Glen also spoke about the decision to delay the rezoning of Midtown East. The mayor’s office has worked out a short-term zoning change for developer SL Green so that it can build a 65-story tower at One Vanderbilt, just west of Grand Central. SL Green is required to provide infrastructure improvements to earn the more relaxed zoning restrictions.

“It’s really going to be a win-win for both business and the public sector,” Glen said of the project on Tuesday. “I really like this mechanism that we put in place.” [Crain’s] — Claire Moses