Borough President Eric Adams Rejects Proposals for 840 Atlantic Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

Rendering of 840 Atlantic Avenue - IMC Architecture; Vanderbilt Atlantic Holdings, LLCRendering of 840 Atlantic Avenue - IMC Architecture; Vanderbilt Atlantic Holdings, LLC

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams rejected proposals to rezone a large assemblage of lots that would have supported a new 18-story mixed-use property in Prospect Heights. The proposed development site is located at 840 Atlantic Avenue and was projected to yield 300 rental apartments including up to 95 affordable housing units, 51,000 square feet of lower-level retail, and a 7,490-square-foot dance studio.

The project team responsible for the property includes developer Vanderbilt Atlantic Holdings, LLC with IMC Architecture at the helm of design.

The proposed building would have contained 342,610 square feet and would have topped out around 195 feet. Zoning map amendments were required to permit the construction of a tall, dense mixed-use property in a neighborhood that primarily comprises low-rise residential and mixed-use commercial properties.

Site map of development site and rezoned areas surrounding 840 Atlantic Avenue - Vanderbilt Atlantic Holdings, LLC

Site map of development site and rezoned areas surrounding 840 Atlantic Avenue – Vanderbilt Atlantic Holdings, LLC

View of undeveloped conditions and proposed development at 840 Atlantic Avenue - Vanderbilt Atlantic Holdings, LLC

View of undeveloped conditions and proposed development at 840 Atlantic Avenue – Vanderbilt Atlantic Holdings, LLC

Massing diagram of proposed structure at 840 Atlantic Avenue - Vanderbilt Atlantic Holdings, LLC

Massing diagram of proposed structure at 840 Atlantic Avenue – Vanderbilt Atlantic Holdings, LLC

On May 17, 2021, Adams held a remote public hearing on these zoning map and text amendments. There were 15 speakers on the item, with only one in opposition and 13 in support, including a representative of 32BJ Service Employees International Union (32BJ), who noted the developer’s commitment to providing well-paying building service jobs.

Community leaders present at the meeting requested that the affordable units, originally proposed at 80 percent Area Median Income (AMI), should be reserved for individuals and households at 60 percent AMI. They also protested the rezoning proposals would eventually lead to drastic contextual changes to the surrounding neighborhood as a result of increased allowable height and density.

In a public response, Adams said that he generally supports the developer’s proposal to increase density along wide commercial streets in this specific area of Prospect Heights, which would have facilitate the new building. He acknowledged that the project represents a large jump in density from what is permitted by the underlying district.

Adams challenged the developer to limit the height of the property to 145 feet, offer more deeply affordable housing units, increase ground-floor setbacks, and commit to extending portions of the sidewalk surrounding the property to improve pedestrian access among other recommendations inspired by feedback from community leaders.

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16 Comments on "Borough President Eric Adams Rejects Proposals for 840 Atlantic Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn"

  1. This is utterly embarrassing. I’m confused to as how you can have massive supertalls down the block, but something like this is too “massive” for the neighborhood. What a way to ruin a neighborhood, by keeping the one-story McDonald’s building there instead of much needed density.

    This now serves as a stupid precedent for any developments to follow down the Atlantic Avenue corridor. Very embarrassing, in a part of Brooklyn where a development such as this would’ve been opportune. I don’t like this guy already.

    • testimony of , Brooklyn Community Board 8, regarding 840 Atlantic Avenue, ULURP
      applications C210249ZMK and N210250ZRK
      Good morning, commissioners and madame Chair.
      I ask that you note that for more than eight years, Brooklyn Community Board 8 has worked to
      create and communicate a vision for the development of an area currently zoned M1-1 along Atlantic
      Avenue, between Vanderbilt Avenue and Franklin Avenue, and extending south on the east end to
      Bergen Street. This area includes on its western end the lots referenced in today’s application. The
      Board believes this area, known as M-CROWN (which stands for Manufacturing, Commercial Residential
      Opportunity for a Working Neighborhood), offers a unique opportunity to expand employment and
      provide affordable housing in 26 acres currently vacant or underutilized between two rapidly gentrifying
      neighborhoods of north Crown Heights and Prospect Heights. We regret that despite our efforts, we
      have not yet been able to move the vision forward with the City as a Neighborhood Rezoning.
      In February of 2018, the Department of City Planning presented the Community Board with a zoning
      framework for the M-CROWN district. The following August, CB 8, Borough President Adams and City
      Council Majority Leader Cumbo responded with a highly supportive letter proposing density and uses for
      the subzones contained in the framework, including those along Atlantic Avenue. Our proposal
      addresses the M-CROWN goals by providing for 805,000 square feet of non-residential use along
      Atlantic Avenue and 1,000 units of housing, with 250 affordable. Since August 2018, CB8’s outreach has
      included ten community meetings attended by 137 stakeholders, including residents, property owners,
      developers, real estate professionals, and advocates for industrial jobs and affordable housing. We can
      say confidently that our vision for Atlantic Avenue has broad support.
      Unfortunately, the Department did not engage with us on the densities and uses CB 8 proposed for
      Atlantic Avenue. Instead, over the three years after the Department received our response to its M-
      CROWN framework, it had parallel discussions with the applicants that led to the proposal we have
      before us now, discussions to which the Community Board was not invited and of which it was not
      aware.
      While we regret the lost opportunity for engaging with the applicants over the last three years, at this
      time, CB 8 believes the application for 840 Atlantic Avenue should move forward ONLY if it is aligned
      with the Board’s vision for Atlantic Avenue as expressed to DCP in August of 2018, for the following
      reasons:
      First, as mentioned previously, the density the Board and elected officials have proposed will create a
      substantial number of affordable apartments, commercial spaces, and thoughtfully planned public realm
      improvements in an area likely to play a significant role in the city’s recovery.
      Second, the proposed density of 7 FAR for Atlantic Avenue, and the lesser densities along Pacific Street
      are the appropriate ones in response to the context of a historic neighborhood largely zoned R6B.
      Third, the density proposed enjoys broad community support, something not typical of residential
      upzonings in New York City.

      Fourth, and conversely, we have seen that the higher density proposed by the applicants creates the
      expectation among other property owners to the east that their lots will receive similar treatment.
      Satisfying them would risk CB 8 having to abandon plans for the public realm improvements integral to a
      neighborhood rezoning along with the community support for the proposed upzoning. In the current
      situation, where the M-CROWN rezoning will presumably have to take place under a new administration
      and a new City Council member, it is simply not worth risking alienating the public for a single private
      application to enhance its project’s return if we genuinely want to see more affordable housing built and
      jobs brought to this District.
      Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony.

  2. Wow. Why was this rejected? What was he thinking? I would reject all the Brooklyn supertalls and not this.

    • the answer is because Eric Adams and Laurie Cumbo have signed a letter supporting CB8’s MCROWN vision for Atlantic Ave. The new council member Crystal Hudson also supports CB8 Mcrown vision.
      CB8 has planned this vision since 2018 and the CPC refused to sign onto it and has secretly met with developers to get the them to ask for a higher zoning but they are losing this battle and now Eric Adams will be the next mayor and will have to follow through with his promises to the Prospect Heights community

    • testimony of , Brooklyn Community Board 8, regarding 840 Atlantic Avenue, ULURP
      applications C210249ZMK and N210250ZRK
      Good morning, commissioners and madame Chair.
      I ask that you note that for more than eight years, Brooklyn Community Board 8 has worked to
      create and communicate a vision for the development of an area currently zoned M1-1 along Atlantic
      Avenue, between Vanderbilt Avenue and Franklin Avenue, and extending south on the east end to
      Bergen Street. This area includes on its western end the lots referenced in today’s application. The
      Board believes this area, known as M-CROWN (which stands for Manufacturing, Commercial Residential
      Opportunity for a Working Neighborhood), offers a unique opportunity to expand employment and
      provide affordable housing in 26 acres currently vacant or underutilized between two rapidly gentrifying
      neighborhoods of north Crown Heights and Prospect Heights. We regret that despite our efforts, we
      have not yet been able to move the vision forward with the City as a Neighborhood Rezoning.
      In February of 2018, the Department of City Planning presented the Community Board with a zoning
      framework for the M-CROWN district. The following August, CB 8, Borough President Adams and City
      Council Majority Leader Cumbo responded with a highly supportive letter proposing density and uses for
      the subzones contained in the framework, including those along Atlantic Avenue. Our proposal
      addresses the M-CROWN goals by providing for 805,000 square feet of non-residential use along
      Atlantic Avenue and 1,000 units of housing, with 250 affordable. Since August 2018, CB8’s outreach has
      included ten community meetings attended by 137 stakeholders, including residents, property owners,
      developers, real estate professionals, and advocates for industrial jobs and affordable housing. We can
      say confidently that our vision for Atlantic Avenue has broad support.
      Unfortunately, the Department did not engage with us on the densities and uses CB 8 proposed for
      Atlantic Avenue. Instead, over the three years after the Department received our response to its M-
      CROWN framework, it had parallel discussions with the applicants that led to the proposal we have
      before us now, discussions to which the Community Board was not invited and of which it was not
      aware.
      While we regret the lost opportunity for engaging with the applicants over the last three years, at this
      time, CB 8 believes the application for 840 Atlantic Avenue should move forward ONLY if it is aligned
      with the Board’s vision for Atlantic Avenue as expressed to DCP in August of 2018, for the following
      reasons:
      First, as mentioned previously, the density the Board and elected officials have proposed will create a
      substantial number of affordable apartments, commercial spaces, and thoughtfully planned public realm
      improvements in an area likely to play a significant role in the city’s recovery.
      Second, the proposed density of 7 FAR for Atlantic Avenue, and the lesser densities along Pacific Street
      are the appropriate ones in response to the context of a historic neighborhood largely zoned R6B.
      Third, the density proposed enjoys broad community support, something not typical of residential
      upzonings in New York City.

      Fourth, and conversely, we have seen that the higher density proposed by the applicants creates the
      expectation among other property owners to the east that their lots will receive similar treatment.
      Satisfying them would risk CB 8 having to abandon plans for the public realm improvements integral to a
      neighborhood rezoning along with the community support for the proposed upzoning. In the current
      situation, where the M-CROWN rezoning will presumably have to take place under a new administration
      and a new City Council member, it is simply not worth risking alienating the public for a single private
      application to enhance its project’s return if we genuinely want to see more affordable housing built and
      jobs brought to this District.
      Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony.

    • the answer is because Eric Adams and Laurie Cumbo have signed a letter supporting CB8’s MCROWN vision for Atlantic Ave. The new council member Crystal Hudson also supports CB8 Mcrown vision.
      CB8 has planned this vision since 2018 and the CPC refused to sign onto it and has secretly met with developers to get the them to ask for a higher zoning but they are losing this battle and now Eric Adams will be the next mayor and will have to follow through with his promises to the Prospect Heights community

  3. This building is welcome for the area much better than the smell of cheap McDonalds food.

  4. Cheesemaster200 | July 9, 2021 at 11:31 am | Reply

    I hope this isn’t an indication of a future pay-to-play mayoral administration.

  5. HOORAY!
    FINALLY ERIC ADAMS LISTENS TO THE LOCAL COMMUNITY BOARD WHO ALSO REJECTED THIS APPLICATION.
    NOW ITS NEXT TO THE COUNCILPERSON LAURIE CUMBO WHO ALSO HAS SIGNED ONTO A LETTER IN 2018 SUPPORTING CB8 MCROWN VISIONand has stated she will also reject this.

  6. I hope we are not going to have another mayor who is anti development.

  7. I would like an Apartment I make $800.00 Monthly I’m SSI
    Please Thank You.

  8. Well this should spur a slew of applications throughout NYC to get approval before Adams takes office. Should be a busy 4th quarter!

  9. Testimony of , Brooklyn Community Board 8, regarding 840 Atlantic Avenue, ULURP
    applications C210249ZMK and N210250ZRK
    Good morning, commissioners and madame Chair.
    I ask that you note that for more than eight years, Brooklyn Community Board 8 has worked to
    create and communicate a vision for the development of an area currently zoned M1-1 along Atlantic
    Avenue, between Vanderbilt Avenue and Franklin Avenue, and extending south on the east end to
    Bergen Street. This area includes on its western end the lots referenced in today’s application. The
    Board believes this area, known as M-CROWN (which stands for Manufacturing, Commercial Residential
    Opportunity for a Working Neighborhood), offers a unique opportunity to expand employment and
    provide affordable housing in 26 acres currently vacant or underutilized between two rapidly gentrifying
    neighborhoods of north Crown Heights and Prospect Heights. We regret that despite our efforts, we
    have not yet been able to move the vision forward with the City as a Neighborhood Rezoning.
    In February of 2018, the Department of City Planning presented the Community Board with a zoning
    framework for the M-CROWN district. The following August, CB 8, Borough President Adams and City
    Council Majority Leader Cumbo responded with a highly supportive letter proposing density and uses for
    the subzones contained in the framework, including those along Atlantic Avenue. Our proposal
    addresses the M-CROWN goals by providing for 805,000 square feet of non-residential use along
    Atlantic Avenue and 1,000 units of housing, with 250 affordable. Since August 2018, CB8’s outreach has
    included ten community meetings attended by 137 stakeholders, including residents, property owners,
    developers, real estate professionals, and advocates for industrial jobs and affordable housing. We can
    say confidently that our vision for Atlantic Avenue has broad support.
    Unfortunately, the Department did not engage with us on the densities and uses CB 8 proposed for
    Atlantic Avenue. Instead, over the three years after the Department received our response to its M-
    CROWN framework, it had parallel discussions with the applicants that led to the proposal we have
    before us now, discussions to which the Community Board was not invited and of which it was not
    aware.
    While we regret the lost opportunity for engaging with the applicants over the last three years, at this
    time, CB 8 believes the application for 840 Atlantic Avenue should move forward ONLY if it is aligned
    with the Board’s vision for Atlantic Avenue as expressed to DCP in August of 2018, for the following
    reasons:
    First, as mentioned previously, the density the Board and elected officials have proposed will create a
    substantial number of affordable apartments, commercial spaces, and thoughtfully planned public realm
    improvements in an area likely to play a significant role in the city’s recovery.
    Second, the proposed density of 7 FAR for Atlantic Avenue, and the lesser densities along Pacific Street
    are the appropriate ones in response to the context of a historic neighborhood largely zoned R6B.
    Third, the density proposed enjoys broad community support, something not typical of residential
    upzonings in New York City.

    Fourth, and conversely, we have seen that the higher density proposed by the applicants creates the
    expectation among other property owners to the east that their lots will receive similar treatment.
    Satisfying them would risk CB 8 having to abandon plans for the public realm improvements integral to a
    neighborhood rezoning along with the community support for the proposed upzoning. In the current
    situation, where the M-CROWN rezoning will presumably have to take place under a new administration
    and a new City Council member, it is simply not worth risking alienating the public for a single private
    application to enhance its project’s return if we genuinely want to see more affordable housing built and
    jobs brought to this District.
    Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony.

  10. i just want to be sure, so could somebody post the community board notes one more time please? 🙂

    • sure no problem.
      Here it is.
      Testimony of , Brooklyn Community Board 8, regarding 840 Atlantic Avenue, ULURP
      applications C210249ZMK and N210250ZRK
      Good morning, commissioners and madame Chair.
      I ask that you note that for more than eight years, Brooklyn Community Board 8 has worked to
      create and communicate a vision for the development of an area currently zoned M1-1 along Atlantic
      Avenue, between Vanderbilt Avenue and Franklin Avenue, and extending south on the east end to
      Bergen Street. This area includes on its western end the lots referenced in today’s application. The
      Board believes this area, known as M-CROWN (which stands for Manufacturing, Commercial Residential
      Opportunity for a Working Neighborhood), offers a unique opportunity to expand employment and
      provide affordable housing in 26 acres currently vacant or underutilized between two rapidly gentrifying
      neighborhoods of north Crown Heights and Prospect Heights. We regret that despite our efforts, we
      have not yet been able to move the vision forward with the City as a Neighborhood Rezoning.
      In February of 2018, the Department of City Planning presented the Community Board with a zoning
      framework for the M-CROWN district. The following August, CB 8, Borough President Adams and City
      Council Majority Leader Cumbo responded with a highly supportive letter proposing density and uses for
      the subzones contained in the framework, including those along Atlantic Avenue. Our proposal
      addresses the M-CROWN goals by providing for 805,000 square feet of non-residential use along
      Atlantic Avenue and 1,000 units of housing, with 250 affordable. Since August 2018, CB8’s outreach has
      included ten community meetings attended by 137 stakeholders, including residents, property owners,
      developers, real estate professionals, and advocates for industrial jobs and affordable housing. We can
      say confidently that our vision for Atlantic Avenue has broad support.
      Unfortunately, the Department did not engage with us on the densities and uses CB 8 proposed for
      Atlantic Avenue. Instead, over the three years after the Department received our response to its M-
      CROWN framework, it had parallel discussions with the applicants that led to the proposal we have
      before us now, discussions to which the Community Board was not invited and of which it was not
      aware.
      While we regret the lost opportunity for engaging with the applicants over the last three years, at this
      time, CB 8 believes the application for 840 Atlantic Avenue should move forward ONLY if it is aligned
      with the Board’s vision for Atlantic Avenue as expressed to DCP in August of 2018, for the following
      reasons:
      First, as mentioned previously, the density the Board and elected officials have proposed will create a
      substantial number of affordable apartments, commercial spaces, and thoughtfully planned public realm
      improvements in an area likely to play a significant role in the city’s recovery.
      Second, the proposed density of 7 FAR for Atlantic Avenue, and the lesser densities along Pacific Street
      are the appropriate ones in response to the context of a historic neighborhood largely zoned R6B.
      Third, the density proposed enjoys broad community support, something not typical of residential
      upzonings in New York City.

      Fourth, and conversely, we have seen that the higher density proposed by the applicants creates the
      expectation among other property owners to the east that their lots will receive similar treatment.
      Satisfying them would risk CB 8 having to abandon plans for the public realm improvements integral to a
      neighborhood rezoning along with the community support for the proposed upzoning. In the current
      situation, where the M-CROWN rezoning will presumably have to take place under a new administration
      and a new City Council member, it is simply not worth risking alienating the public for a single private
      application to enhance its project’s return if we genuinely want to see more affordable housing built and
      jobs brought to this District.
      Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony.

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