Brooklyn housing project killed on cusp of Council vote

Plaza Realty yanks application for 231-unit development backed by mayor

Mayor Eric Adams and and Councilman Kalman Yeger with 1880 Coney Island Avenue
Mayor Eric Adams and and Councilman Kalman Yeger with 1880 Coney Island Avenue (Google Maps,, Getty)

Plaza Realty’s plan to develop 231 apartments in Brooklyn died just two days before the City Council was scheduled to vote on the developer’s rezoning application.

In a letter Tuesday effectively announcing the demise of the 36,500-square-foot project, Plaza claimed the Homecrest site wouldn’t pencil out without a replacement to the 421a tax abatement.

But 421a has been dead since June 2022, before the public review process even began for Plaza’s eight-story building. The immediate reason for the withdrawal was that the local City Council member, Kalman Yeger, opposed the project, and apparently the rest of the chamber was expected to support his wishes — a tradition known as member deference.

It’s a setback for Mayor Eric Adams, who had reached out to Yeger in an effort to push the plan over the finish line — reflecting his “City of Yes” housing initiative. It also shows the limitations of City Council Speaker Adrianne Adams’ vow to get her members to address the city’s housing shortage.

Housing advocacy group Open New York campaigned for the Homecrest rezoning, to no avail.

The proposal for 1880-1888 Coney Island Avenue would have brought 60 units of affordable housing to a neighborhood that has been criticized for producing very little of it.

Though relatively modest, the project would have been the largest addition of affordable housing in eight years in Community District 12, which saw just 116 affordable units built between 2014 and 2021.

Plaza’s withdrawal of its rezoning application means the site will remain a Staples and parking lot indefinitely. Restarting the process would involve repeating the entire seven-month public review.

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Yeger staunchly opposed the rezoning, as did the community board, which voted against it in October. They claimed it was too large for the low-profile neighborhood, which consists largely of two-story, single-family homes. But just steps away along Coney Island Avenue are several  recently developed seven- and eight-story apartment buildings, though none offer affordable units.

Eric Palatnik, an attorney for Plaza, said in the letter addressed to the mayor and the City Council that the firm had hoped “a government sponsored program to assist in the creation of affordable housing would have come to fruition” by the time its application reached a City Council vote.

“We are confident that if the 421a tax abatement or similar replacement program was in place that the outcome would have been quite different,” Palatnik added.

The announcement suggested the developers couldn’t make the project work without a tax break even at eight stories, but a shift in rhetorical gears hints at troubled negotiations behind the scenes. 

At a hearing in February, Plaza argued that Yeger’s suggestion to bring the project down to five stories wasn’t feasible.

Yeger denied involvement in the pulled plans. In a Twitter exchange with Open New York, the Council member pointed to the developer’s letter blaming the tax break’s expiration.

But 1880 Coney Island Ave is not the only affordable housing proposal in the middle-class district that has died on the vine in recent months. In June, Yeger and the community board opposed a project at 1571 McDonald Avenue promising 104 apartments with 37 affordable units. It, too, never made it to a City Council vote.

For now, 1880 Coney Island Avenue will keep its C8-2 zoning, which Plaza suggested would bring an “automotive, logistics or medical” project to the site.

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