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Residents: Rheingold developer’s below-market pledge is below expectations

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This home-brew is a little weak for Bushwick’s tastes.

The newest developer to take on the neighborhood’s old Rheingold brewery site must honor a promise made by the former owner to set aside 30 percent of units for below-market-rate housing, a local panel demanded on Wednesday, after the company announced that it would earmark only 20 percent of apartments for the so-called “affordable” scheme.

“We are standing on the ground that we are asking for 30 percent,” Community Board 4 chairperson Julie Dent told All Year Management, which revealed its plans to residents for the first time since snapping up half of the industrial site from Read Property Group in October.

Read made the commitment in 2013, when it was trying to secure a zoning change for the land. At the time, it planned to build across the entire five-block brewery property, and the figure included several lots it donated to community organizations so they could build senior housing.

But the firm sold the rest of site in two halves last year, and the original agreement — which was not legally binding — has been up in the air ever since. The other buyer, the Rabsky Group, still hasn’t committed to any specific number of below-market units.

All Year insists that it is making good on Read’s covenant with the 20 percent offer, however, because the old folks’ housing will make up the other 10 percent.

“The spirit and the letter of the law of the Read agreement with this community is being fully upheld,” said spokesman Jonathan Greenspun.

But the board members disagreed with the company’s math, demanding it commit to the full 30 percent for its own portion of the property instead of relying on a separate developments to round it out.

Greenspun told the meeting that the company had already discussed the 20 percent figure with local activist group the Rheingold Coalition, and claimed the group was on board with the plan.

But the coalition denied that, saying it only had one meeting with All Year and never came to any consensus — it wants to builder to sign its own agreement instead of just piggy-backing on the Read deal, said a spokesman.

“We’ll say we agree on something when something is signed on paper,” said the group’s chair Bruno Daniel.

Residents also slammed the developer for offering few other details on its already-under-construction development after months of silence — reps showed up with no designs and were unable to say exactly how many apartments the property would have, which income levels would have access to the below-market ones, or what the rents would be.

“You came to this meeting tonight with no plans, no papers, nothing to give us in writing,” said housing and land use committee chair Martha Brown. “I beg you to have some respect for us.”

The panel told All Year it must return to future meetings with more detailed information about unit sizes and prices — as well as a new pledge to commit 30 percent of its property for below-market units.

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
Time to clamp down hard on these evil developers.
Jan. 22, 2016, 11:28 am
Andrew Porter from Brooklyn Heights says:
My beer is Rheingold the dry beer
Think of Rheingold whenever you buy beer
It's not bitter, not sweet,
it's the extra dry treat
Won't you try extra dry Rheingold beer?
Jan. 22, 2016, 12:19 pm
TOM from Sunset Park says:
Those were the days. Rheingold was #1 in NYC. Schaeffer was #1 on the east coast(plants in Albany & Tampa as well). Budweiser was #1 nationally and Coor's didn't travel well so it stayed west of the Mississippi. Six-packs were a buck!
Jan. 22, 2016, 6:38 pm
C b from Bushwick says:
Let the developer build what it wants. A person paying market rent needs to feel secure in their living space . Not look down the hall and see some low income at home all day lurking in the hallway. $2000 a month for rent is nothing especially for Brooklyn
Jan. 30, 2016, 7:18 pm

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