Crown Heights has some of the fastest rising rents in all of Brooklyn. It’s gentrifying at a rate that merited two New York Times real estate section features in the last year, neither of which could resist mentioning riots that occurred 24 years ago. At the same time, new development is sweeping across the area, concentrated at the western edge between Washington and Nostrand Avenues.
SL Green’s 1.6 million-square-foot office tower at One Vanderbilt Avenue will not only be a test case for the city’s ambitious Midtown East rezoning plan, but it’s one of the few times in recent memory that a private developer has agreed to finance and perform substantial construction work for the MTA.
Over the last few months, the Department of City Planning has lost the PR battle over the proposed Jerome Avenue rezoning. Residents and activists accused the city of trying to create a new neighborhood called “Cromwell-Jerome,” a reference to DCP’s initial plans for a zoning study, and in response, officials dropped “Cromwell” from the title. In reality, planning officials hope to revitalize a narrow, 73-block stretch around Jerome, from 167th Street to just south of Fordham Road. They want to improve parks, the streetscape, retail, community services, schools, and economic growth, instead of simply pushing through more housing development.
Over the past few years, the public outcry over the perceived loss of New York City’s small and funky retail establishments has reached a fever pitch. Pseudonymous blogger Jeremiah Moss has chronicled it in his ongoing jeremiad, and even conservative commentator Nicole Gelinas bemoans the perceived bankification of her neighborhood, Midtown West.
The half-century-old Landmarks law has played a valuable role in protecting the historic fabric of New York City’s neighborhoods, but it also limits the production of housing—particularly affordable housing—in neighborhoods with large historic districts.