May 18, 2005
With an okay by the City Council on
May 11, industrial North Brooklyn will soon become the hub
of a major redevelopment effort and possibly set a striking
precedent in affordable housing.
The City's rezoning plan will allow residential and commercial
development within 175 largely industrial blocks of Greenpoint
and Williamsburg, adjoining neighborhoods whose manufacturing
sectors have declined in recent decades. Those blocks are
situated in a dense area, with diverse populations, that boasts
dramatic views of Manhattan across the East River.
The current proposal includes 54 acres of parkland, including
a waterfront esplanade, and 10,818 new units of housing, with
a third of those affordable. If they provide the affordable
units, developers would be permitted to build up to 35 stories
(or, if not, only 23 stories). Fifty percent of those affordable
units would be reserved for residents already living in the
Though some locals are concerned by the prospect of apartment
towers looming over the much lower-density waterfront, most
public officials have been enthusiastic about the plan.
Brooklyn City Councilman David Yassky declared: "For
years, rezonings in New York City have left the development
of neighborhoods to the market place. This rezoning is the
largest commitment to affordable housing creation that the
City has ever made in a rezoning plan."