The developer bringing Trader Joe’s to the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Court Street faced an unlikely opponent this week — the supermarket’s biggest fan, Borough President Markowitz.
On Tuesday, Markowitz came out against the controversial 60-foot residential tower slated to rise on what is currently a parking lot next to the store at 130 Court St.
The 60-foot building would be 10 feet taller than allowed under existing zoning within the Cobble Hill Historic District.
“Should this intrusion be granted, it would set a precedent for other sites throughout the entire district to seek such an exception,” Markowitz’s recommendation to the city Planning Commission said. “Abiding by the [50-foot height limit] is the ultimate form of respect to homeowners in the neighborhood.”
Like Markowitz, Community Board 6 voted against the tower in June. These critics were thrilled — and a little shocked — this week to hear that they had an ally at Borough Hall, given Markowitz’s support for large-scale residential development at Atlantic Yards, and his widely publicized affections for Trader Joe’s.
“We viewed Marty has being very solidly pro-development everywhere,” said Cobble Hill Association member Roy Sloane. “We are extremely pleased and gratified to see him respecting the values of our community.”
The site’s developer, David Walentas’s Two Trees Management, has requested multiple exemptions from the historic district’s zoning, including a break from a requirement to provide a parking facility. The exemption to the height limit is the only one that earned an objection from Markowitz.
Two Trees has said that the scale of the building is necessary to cover the cost of restoring the 83-year-old future home of Trader Joe’s.
“Making it any smaller… wouldn’t be financially viable,” project manager Sam Charney said.