Developers of a proposed apartment building envisioned on the northwest corner of Avenue D and Houston streets went before a committee of Community Board 3 last night. They came with renderings of the planned development, which would include 166 studio, 1 bedroom and 2 bedroom apartments, as well as ground-floor retail. A representative for the owner estimated (based on 2011 projections) that the studios (600 sq/ft) would go for about $2800/month. There will also be 34 “affordable units,” ranging from $460-$770/per month. The plans call for a 2500 sq/ft roof deck for residents.
The development would be built on several privately owned parcels and one city-owned lot being purchased by the developer. The developer’s name was not disclosed last night – his representatives said only that he is a former beer distributor.
The city was compelled to go before the community board as part of a public review process (ULURP) required anytime it is proposing the sale or redevelopment of city-owned property. The board was asked to weigh in, specifically, about the sale of the single parcel the developer wants to buy for the project.
CB3’s land use/zoning committee approved the proposal in a 9-4 vote, with one abstention. One affordable housing advocate, Joel Feingold of GOLES, said, “this will be viewed as an incredibly hostile imposition. This building fits the exact caricature in people’s minds of neighborhood loss and change. Despite the 34 units of affordable housing, that’s a starting point… I think it’s ludicrous to consider putting a building on Avenue D that’s all glass and steel and costs $2800 for a studio. I think it’s outrageous.” One CB3 member expressed concerns that the neighborhood would be losing a community garden, located on the city-owned parcel.
Addressing Feingold’s concerns, David McWater, the committee chair, said “everybody’s using the same math, the same calculators… This is the way the world is. As far as I’m concerned, thank God we got the 34 units… The city has decided to sell their land… they have a legal right to do that. All we’re being asked is whether or not we want to choose these people to be the people that get the land… people have done their homework on this.” The city expects to be paid over a million dollars for the Houston Street parcel.
The resolution passed by the committee requires the roof deck to be closed after 10pm and it calls on the developer to hire local construction workers. Addressing the roof deck restrictions, the owner’s representative said he did not believe it was the community board’s role to “govern human behavior.” But he added that they had no interest in running a building that would “antagonize the neighborhood.” The full board will vote on the plan later this month.