Totem eyes rezoning to build Brooklyn towers

Developer proposes 664 housing units at Broadway Junction

Tucker Reed, co-founder and principal, Totem; and Broadway Junction (Wikipedia, The Totem Group)
Tucker Reed, co-founder and principal, Totem; and Broadway Junction (Wikipedia, The Totem Group)

The Totem Group is ready to carry the torch for a long-awaited redevelopment at Brooklyn’s Broadway Junction.

The Brooklyn-based developer reportedly submitted preliminary plans to the Department of City Planning in October, marking the typical first step in the rezoning process.

According to City Limits, the submission details a project that would add approximately 664 housing units to the area. The developer is proposing a trio of mixed-use towers that could reach up to 455 feet, as well as a park — all in a span of four blocks.

Totem, led by Two Trees Development alumnus Tucker Reed, Vivian Liao Korich and J. Manuel Mansylla, said in the filing it would “explore” financing that could make all of the new housing units affordable, according to City Limits. The proposed parcels are broken down into an 18-story senior living facility with 416 units and a mixed-use complex with three towers, 248 housing units and 850,000 square feet of office space.

“The proposed rezoning and other actions would assist Broadway Junction, one of the largest transit centers in NYC, to fulfill its potential as ‘a more accessible and dynamic transit hub and economic center,’” Totem Group said in its proposal, quoting a 2019 report from the city’s Economic Development Corporation and City Planning.

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The next step for the project, dubbed “Herkimer-Williams,” would be a formal application through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. A spokesperson for the developer told City Limits an application was still at least a year away.

Broadway Junction has long caught the attention of officials looking to spur development in the area, which includes one of the borough’s busiest subway stations, linking six lines. The hub sits on the border of Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, Ocean Hill and East New York.

In 2017, the EDC launched a $200,000 study to find ways to encourage growth at the hub. City officials and community leaders also formed a group tasked with developing a vision for the area.

Interest in the area and the rezoning of East New York fueled concerns about gentrification, which Totem tried to soothe in a statement to City Limits.

A spokesperson told the outlet the developer looks forward “to engaging with the community, including residents, leaders, and local partners to ensure this project … is best suited to elevate and support East New York.”

Elsewhere, Totem is collaborating with BEB Capital to construct a 14-story mixed-use building at 737 Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park. The proposed building, which was opposed by some activists but supported by Community Board 7, would include 185 residential units, a high percentage of them affordable.

[City Limits] — Holden Walter-Warner

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