Downtown Brooklyn continues to undergo dramatic changes—last year, the city approved developers' plans to build a 73-story skyscraper right by Junior's Restaurant, and now developers have announced plans to transform a block in the Downtown Brooklyn/Boerum Hill/Fort Greene border into a two school/office/retail/mixed-income residential mini-city.
As first reported by Politico, Alloy Development has proposed this enormous project for 80 Flatbush Avenue, right by Atlantic Terminal. The project is expected to include two schools, 900 apartments, 200,000 square feet of office space, and 40,000 square feet of retail space—the project also includes a 15,000 square foot cultural center.
And the new development won't just have a big footprint—it will also be tall. One tower on the proposed site is expected to climb up to 920 feet.
Alloy told reporters it dreamed up the 80 Flatbush project when approached about redeveloping a 150-year-old school building on Schermerhorn Street. Now, the developers plan to rebuild that school, the Khalil Gibran Academy, as well as build a second school. The Academy's existing building will be incorporated into the aforementioned cultural center.
As for the mixed-income housing, Politico reports that 700 units will be rented at market-rate, and 200 will be rented to those earning an average of 60 percent of the area's median income. So far, the city Department of Education's Education Construction Fund is working with Alloy, and the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, which represents three local Business Improvement Districts, is on board. "This is exactly the type of project Downtown Brooklyn needs: one that delivers critically needed schools, along with cultural facilities, affordable housing and Class A office space," Regina Myer, President of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, said in a statement.
Alloy needs City Councilman Stephen Levin to help approve the developers' request to rezone the site. Levin told Gothamist that while the project is "fairly early in the process in terms of the rezoning," he is "eager to see what the public response is" to the plan.
"I would say that it is a somewhat different scenario than just a private development going for an 18-FAR [rezoning] because it has significant public benefit," he said. Levin noted that while he was initially concerned Alloy wouldn't preserve two historic buildings, including the Khalil Gibran Academy, developers have included their preservation in the plan, despite their lack of landmark status."I thought at the outset that would be most important, that has to do with the character of that stretch of Schermerhorn," he said.
The Council Member expects residents neighboring the development will have additional questions about the project and how it will impact them. "These are low-rise townhouses that are directly across the street. Obviously this impact is going to be felt most by those neighbors," he said, noting that issues like the visual impact of the high rises and spaces for loading docks will all have to be addressed. "This is a fairly early stage in the process. so there'll be plenty of opportunity for public input," he said.
Alloy hopes to complete the first phase of the project by 2022, and the second phase, which includes the apartments, by 2025.