CB1 approves Two Trees’ River Ring, keeping project on pace

Board lays out conditions, but quick action bodes well for developer

A rendering of River Ring with Two Trees CEO Jed Walentas (BIG, Getty)
A rendering of River Ring with Two Trees CEO Jed Walentas (BIG, Getty)

Two Trees’ River Ring cleared a significant hurdle in Brooklyn — ahead of schedule.

Community Board 1 recommended approval of the waterfront development in Williamsburg one month after the clock started on the review process, rather than take the full 60 days, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The 20-15 vote followed a long virtual meeting Tuesday evening.

The vote included recommendations that could give the City Planning Commission, Borough President Eric Adams and eventually City Council member Stephen Levin more to chew on. They include cutting the planned 1,050 apartments by 33 percent and increasing the share of affordable units to 50 percent from 25 percent.

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Approval came after an 11-to-9 “no” vote from the board’s Land Use Committee last week. The committee did specify a number of recommendations, which formed the basis of the board’s conditions for approval.

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Pro-housing advocates responded to the vote on Twitter by trashing the board’s call to drastically reduce the size of the project, but Two Trees took the decision in stride.

“We are taking the board’s recommendations seriously as we continue with the public review process, especially on additional affordability,” said Two Trees managing director David Lombino in a statement. “We remain just as committed to delivering on the well-paying jobs and new resiliency infrastructure that will help protect the broader neighborhood.”

The developer is hoping to get the project through the approval process before the end of the year, when Levin has to leave office. His successor, expected to be Lincoln Restler, could bring more challenges to the negotiations if the project falls to him. The local member essentially decides the fate of rezonings.

The potentially seven-month review for River Ring began on Aug. 16. Two Trees’ Jed Walentas has emphasized that his company has worked with the community to try to maximize affordable housing at the site, a former Con Edison storage lot north of the Williamsburg Bridge.

The project includes a pair of rental towers as well as a public beach, a park, a YMCA and an on-site wastewater treatment plant. About 300 of the units are now set aside for affordable housing.

[Brooklyn Eagle] — Holden Walter-Warner