Moskovits’ push for Williamsburg office rezoning draws fire

Critics say zoning change -- one that would benefit the developer -- would set a bad precedent

A renderings of 25 Kent Street in North Williamsburg and developer Toby Moskovits
A renderings of 25 Kent Street in North Williamsburg and developer Toby Moskovits

Critics at a public hearing Monday night said the proposed zoning change for an industrial stretch of Williamsburg is “deeply flawed” and said would set a bad precedent for the rest of the city.

Toby Moskovits’ Heritage Equity Partners is seeking the rezoning for its planned nine-story, 480,000-square-foot office building – one of the first new office buildings in Brooklyn in decades – at 25 Kent Avenue in Williamsburg.

The Department of City Planning approved the application, but now the alteration has to go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process, which includes public hearings.

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At the Monday hearing, Tanu Kumar of the Pratt Center for Community Development said the change is “so deeply flawed that we believe it will have the reverse effect, and if replicated will destabilize other industrial areas,” the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported.

Supporters of the proposal also spoke at the hearing, including Alan Washington of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, who said the development would provide desperately needed commercial and industrial space, according to the Eagle.

The zoning amendment would allow developers in the 14-block section in Williamsburg to obtain special permits to increase square footage for office space, the Eagle reported.

This would allow Moskovits and her partners to use all the building’s square footage to cater to Brooklyn’s growing office sector and TAMI tenants. More than half of the property, between North 12th and North 13th streets, under current zoning is required to be used for medical, school, nonprofit or religious facilities. [Brooklyn Daily Eagle]Dusica Sue Malesevic