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.
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.