City Councilman rails against Phipps Houses’ proposed affordable project

The opposition is a major roadblock for the developer

<em>Rendering of 50-25 Barnett Avenue (inset: Jimmy Van Bramer)</em>
Rendering of 50-25 Barnett Avenue (inset: Jimmy Van Bramer)

Phipps Houses is missing a key ally in its efforts to build an affordable housing project in Sunnyside.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents the neighborhood, doesn’t support the developer’s proposal for 50-25 Barnett Avenue, Politico reported. The councilman argues that the seven to 10-story building is too tall for the neighborhood, which he said predominately features low-rise residential buildings. He also voiced concerns about the fact that the developer hasn’t guaranteed that he will employ union building service workers at the development.

Phipps [TRData] CEO Adam Weinstein told Politico that he’s used union labor in the past but wouldn’t specify if he will do so on this project. A representative for the developer noted that the nearest building to the proposed project is six-stories tall.

“To us, converting a parking lot into affordable housing is the right choice for this property and will greatly improve a long-barren and neglected block,” a spokesperson for the developer told The Real Deal in a statement.

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The development, which has the backing of Mayor Bill de Blasio, would feature 209 units, which would be rented out to those earning between 50 and 130 percent of the area median income. The project is also expected to include 4,000 square feet of community space and a 200-space parking lot.

Phipps is well-known as a developer of low- to middle-income housing in the city. In June, the developer put its 894-unit Kips Bay Court complex on the market. [Politico] — Kathryn Brenzel 

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the number of planned parking spots. It’s 200.