The hipster vs. Hasid bike wars were won decisively by the frum faction when the bike lanes through South Williamsburg were erased, sparing the Satmar adherents from the indignity of a dedicated thoroughfare for immodestly-clad cyclists. But on the development front, the hipsters are about to score a victory: un-Orthodox development has crept up Franklin Avenue into northwestern Bed-Stuy, previously the preserve of the pious.
Adam America Real Estate and the Horizon Group’s 180 Franklin Avenue will be adding 118 rental apartments, spanning nearly 80,000 square feet, to a strip that — until now — has only seen new construction in the form of Hasidic apartment blocks. Due to its proximity to Pratt, it will likely be marketed to students, and a “student copy center” is included among the building’s amenities.
Despite the lack of retail — which is not allowed by zoning — the ground level of 180 Franklin Avenue will be fairly active, with windows at what we assume are street-level apartments. The street wall will only be broken by a ground-level driveway, an unfortunate but necessary concession to the city’s onerous outer borough parking requirements.
Unlike the Hasidic buildings on the block, apartments will not be so large that the unit count falls below the threshold beyond which parking is required – a double standard which illustrates the arbitrary nature of rules that exempt smaller buildings.
The five-story building will also be significantly less dense than its Hasidic neighbors, since this stretch of Franklin had its density reduced by one-third after the Bed-Stuy North rezoning of 2012 – a case of closing the stable door after the horse has already bolted, since the majority of the existing structures on Franklin between Willoughby and Myrtle are already overbuilt, according to the new zoning.
The developers broke ground on 180 Franklin Avenue this month, and expect to open the building in the spring of 2016.
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