Gotham Org’s Fort Greene development faces headwinds

Proposed 23-story building would rise next to Williamsburgh Savings Bank

Gotham Organization Chairman Joel Picket with the proposed development at 130 Felix Street. (Gotham, 130 Felix)
Gotham Organization Chairman Joel Picket with the proposed development at 130 Felix Street. (Gotham, 130 Felix)

Gotham Organization’s plan to build a 23-story mixed-use building in Fort Greene is facing headwinds.

Brooklyn Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee rejected the developer’s application to build the 267-foot-tall structure at 130 Saint Felix Street, Brooklyn Paper reported. The project would include more than 120 residential units, including 36 below-market condos, as well as an expansion for the Brooklyn Music School.

“This doesn’t even belong here,” Ernest Augustus, a committee member, said during a virtual hearing last week, according to the outlet. “This is massive, it impinges on the historic district.”

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The proposed site is next to the landmarked 529-foot Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower, which until recently was the tallest building in the borough. Last year, the Landmarks Preservation Commission recommended that Gotham trim the building’s height by 20 feet and increase its setback by 40 feet from Saint Felix Street. The commission then approved the developer’s plan.

But Preserve BAM’s Historic District, a local group that includes owners of condos in the historic bank building, sued the Landmarks commission over its decision to approve Gotham’s amended plan, claiming that commissioners were swayed by “political and social issues.”

The structure would also replace a parking lot next to the bank building, which, the suit notes, residents of the condo use. (Preservation of parking lots is not part of the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s mission, however.) The case is still pending.

As part of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, the full community board will then vote on the project — though its vote is purely advisory — before the development moves on to Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams for approval, which is also advisory. The fate of the project will ultimately rest with the City Council and the local Council member, Laurie Cumbo.

[Brooklyn Paper] — Akiko Matsuda