What’s the one way to build a 200,000-square-foot building in northwestern Brooklyn without the NIMBYs even noticing? Make it a Hasidic school!
On Wednesday, permits were filed for a five-story (plus cellar) new school at 401 Park Avenue in northwestern Bed-Stuy, an area that’s attracted many members of the Satmar Hasidic sect who have outgrown South Williamsburg.
The girls school will be an offshoot of UTA Central, whose schools cater to the Aronis, or followers of Rebbe Aaron Teitelbaum. His brother Zalman, whose followers are known as Zalis, has traditionally wielded the most power in Williamsburg, with Aaron’s base being upstate, in the town of Kiryas Joel. But the Aronis also form a significant minority in Williamsburg, and as their numbers grow, so does their need for educational facilities. (The Zalis, meanwhile, are constructing a school of their own to the east of South Williamsburg, in the Broadway Triangle.)
The land on which the Aroni school will sit was bought earlier this year for $3 million. While normally an acre of land in Bed-Stuy – even the Hasidic section – would be much pricier, the site’s M1-2 zoning means it could not be used for more profitable residential development. Furthermore, a community use like a school can build to a much higher density than an industrial or commercial use, and the school is planned to be more than twice as dense as the floor-area ratio normally allowed in M1-2 zones, which is two.
For any questions, comments, or feedback, email [email protected]