Unprecedented! Developer seeks super tall tower for Boerum Hill block

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Well, they’re certainly not thinking small!

Luxury developers revealed this week a plan to construct towers of 74 and 38 stories on the eastern edge of very low-rise Boerum Hill — a proposal of unprecedented density that neighbors will likely fight.

“It’s a massive project,” said Howard Kolins, president of the Boerum Hill Association. “Virtually nothing [in the proposal] is a benefit for people living there. You have to brace yourself for a large high rise that you’d rather not be there.”

Alloy Development — which bought up the existing buildings on the block bounded by Third Avenue, Flatbush Avenue Extension, and State Street, but was cagey on the details last year— disagreed, citing 200 units of below-market-rate housing in the 900-unit mixed-use complex, which will also feature retail and two new schools — one a 350-student elementary facility and another a new building for the Khalil Gibran International Academy, which will be able to expand from 160 to 350 students.

The plan would allow the Gibran Academy to move from its current, dilapidated space inside a 19th-century former Civil War infirmary, which would then be preserved as a cultural space, though Alloy did not reveal details.

“Communities suffer when their growth isn’t supported by the necessary infrastructure, which is why providing two new schools, keeping people working in Brooklyn, expanding access to arts and culture, and building affordable housing are foundational to our vision for the project,” said Jared Della Valle, CEO of Alloy Development. “We look forward to a thoughtful, open dialogue that will make this project better.”

Well, he’ll certainly get a dialogue, thoughtful or otherwise. After all, Alloy’s proposal is huge — a whopping 50 percent bigger than current zoning allows. Overall, the project calls for a floor-area-ratio — which is a measure of a project’s size relative to the lot size — of 18, even though the current city cap is 12.

Last year, a developer tried to rezone a Downtown lot to the same 18 floor-area ratio, but that bid was shot down, as members of the City Council did not want to set a precedent that would open the door to massive development. That company, Savanna, eventually downsized the plan and got its rezoning.

But Alloy’s effort to break the ultimate glass ceiling might succeed, said the local pol whose voice will carry weight among the full Council, which typically defers to the member who represents the affected neighborhood.

“It’s a little bit different than a regular private development going for 18 FAR in that it’s got two schools,” said Councilman Steve Levin (D–Boerum Hill). “There’s a significant public benefit associated with it that isn’t associated with every private development project.”

That said, Levin said he won’t make up his mind on the project until he talks to residents near the proposed development. He has already raised concerns about the location of a proposed loading dock on quiet State Street, where trucks would be unwelcome.

“How many Amazon Prime deliveries are going to be queuing up?” Levin asked. “It’s not really fair to State Street to have the entire vehicular of the block on it.”

The high-rises would tower over the nearby brownstones in Boerum Hill, but will fit in with other developments along Flatbush, including Two Trees Management’s 32-story 300 Ashland, formerly known as BAM South; Jonathan Rose Companies’ under-construction 12-story property at Ashland Place and Lafayette Avenue; and the Gotham Organization’s soon-to-open 53-story apartment building and food hall at Fulton Street and Ashland Place.

The lengthy rezoning approval process for the Alloy project would begin in the fall, if all goes to plan.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Deb from Brooklyn says:
Since when did we decide that developers are responsible for building schools? Where is the school construction authority? That is their job and our taxes go to pay for them, as they always have. Our elected officials should not be shaking down developers to build infrastructure - unless of course, they see campaign funds from these deals like what deBlasio did with CFONY. We all lose in that equation.
April 5, 2017, 4:34 am
Honey from Williamsburg says:
Great, this building will include space for the school for religious extremism. Just what we need.
April 5, 2017, 6:38 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
“Virtually nothing (in the proposal) is a benefit for people living there."

It is true that new housing doesn't benefit you much if you already have a home. I don't have kids, but imagine if I were as selfish as this guy and went out protesting new schools.
April 5, 2017, 7:41 am
Sid from Boreum hill says:
I am in favor of new schools but do we need 70 stories plus to build them? This is a monstrosity. Godzilla moving in. Reminds me of what happened to the hutungs in Beijing. They better have a fresh direct receiving room.
Dangle a school...catch a council member.
April 5, 2017, 8:38 am
Frank from Boreum Hill says:
Funny how some of these folks - the Boreum Hill President, blogger Sid, the councilman - wanted 30 story towers inside a public park... now the "shoe" is on the other foot, and yes, they've upped the ante, but catch a few hypocrites.
April 5, 2017, 8:52 am
Sid from Boreum hill says:
I will take the 30 stories anytime. Yes I agreed that the park had to be self sufficient. I opposed the pie in the sky retail in the park instead as being not realistic. South street seaport retail died and retail even in Manhattan is dieing- Ralph Lauren is closing its 5th ave store to concentrate on the internet. I have problems with the size and the loading docks. We need additional schools because of the developments.
April 5, 2017, 10:31 am
David D from Bensohnurst says:
This affordable units are a swindle. They only rent below market once. If the renter makes even a dollar more than they should, they get evicted. The apartment then flips to market rate. The developer keeps the tax breaks. I got this info directly from Acadia of city point when I went to an application seminar. If this development is going to happen it would be wise for residents to push for less residential space and more office space. The benenfits of office space are that workers spend on local businesses in the morning and at lunch then leave after 5. They dont compete for resources or overcrowd an already overcrowded neighborhood.
April 5, 2017, 10:54 am
ujh from Downtown Brooklyn says:
Has anyone read about over-supply of housing in downtown Brooklyn? Does anyone know what the status of the Bossert Hotel is on Montague Street? I haven't seen any work being done for months.

Expect the next bubble to burst.
April 5, 2017, 11:47 am
Steph from Clinton Hill says:
We do not need this ridiculous building. There is an over-supply of housing in the area from all the other unnecessary buildings that have been built, which has been widely reported.
April 5, 2017, 1:06 pm
Boeingsandbikes from Park Slope says:
I'm certainly not opposed to focusing massive development on the transit-rich Flatbush corridor as we're seeing - but that has to come with recognition that our transit system is creaking under the weight of heavy 24/7 usage and criminal underinvestment from our friends in Albany.

And folks, there's not an over-supply of housing. There's an *overpricing* of housing. When developers price to the market and not to their wet dreams, you'll find that there are literally millions of people who'd like to live here. Why is Nashville's alt-rock culture exploding? Because young creative people can't afford to move to Brooklyn.
April 5, 2017, 2:08 pm
Blogger Bill from from Boerum Hill says:
This will end badly. Accepting that project
renderings can be deceptive, the taller of the two
is way too tall for the zone. ULURP will apply so
the neighbors will have some control. But please
remember that the birds need somewhere to
land in the new downtown of Brooklyn. Starting
to look like Las Vegas around here lately.
April 5, 2017, 2:16 pm
Carol from Boerum Hill says:
The people against this are just racists. They're afraid the below market rate apartments will be people of color and they don't want "that kind" moving into our neighborhood.
April 5, 2017, 2:17 pm
Watching REBNY HiRise Invaders from Ft Greene says:
Alloy's CEO De La Valle claimed in a Politico article that there is a confidentiality agreement NOT TO DISCLOSE how much rent this luxury developer will be paying the city on its 99 year more lousy deal by our REBNY beholden Mayor -why would this be confidential?
April 5, 2017, 2:29 pm
Peter from Brooklyn says:
Oh wah wah wah a tall building Downtown. How will the poor little people of Boerum Hill ever recover from this tragedy.
April 5, 2017, 2:33 pm
Lost Faith in NYC from Boerum Hill says:
"That said, Levin said he won’t make up his mind on the project until he talks to residents near the proposed development."

Who is Levin kidding? Just like he 'considered' the vociferous protests about the dismantling of Brooklyn Heights Library for a condo tower and then caved...

The selling off of both the sky & the sham 'affordable housing' professed are now business as usual....but now with a new twist:

The new moral imperative bait: two new schools-left to a for-profit developer -whose interest is strictly bottom line enrichment- & about which we, as New York taxpayers are not allowed to know?

The responsibility for our city government's management & obligation are being outsourced to private for-profit predatory developers. NYC elected's sole responsibility now is to raise money to get re-elected...period
April 5, 2017, 2:50 pm
Violetta from Downtown says:
Levin is vile cretin not even worth his weight in turd.

Carol, I'd be happy to rent or sell every apt there to as affordable housing in same ethnic balance as the borough as a whole. That's not the issue-- the issue id fraud 'affordable' so chumps like Levin can pretend he's 'ethical'.

Totally concur office space otherwise preferred, as cost / benefits are more in favor.
April 5, 2017, 3:28 pm
Mike from Slope says:
Guess the trains will be even more crowded.
April 5, 2017, 4:24 pm
Eric A from Boerum Hill says:
I am living next door to this proposal and do not look forward to the loss of light nor to the crowds of people joining the impossible traffic along Third Avenue.

I am mostly concerned about the fact that of the now approximately 7,000 families moving within 4 blocks of my home there is no supermarket, tailor shop, deli, dry cleaner, shoe repair, greengrocer or other shopkeeper planned or made available. Not everyone wants to have food delivered by refrigerated truck or wants to live on take-out.
April 5, 2017, 4:55 pm
Sid from Boerum hill says:
You have my point of view about this but personal attacks and name calling means you can't discuss an issue in a civil way. So much for civil discourse. Each person is entitled to respect on their view of this issue. Imo. Including whether some one is a racist or not.
April 5, 2017, 4:59 pm
Sid from Boerum hill says:
Even city council members.
April 5, 2017, 4:59 pm
sue from boreum hill says:
Levin is owned by real estate... You can see where he is going on this....He is untrustworthly .. do not believe one word out of his mouth. He looks like a nice guy.. He is not
April 5, 2017, 8:31 pm
Mom from Clinton Hill says:
Good thing they got the BQE fixed...
April 5, 2017, 9:59 pm
The Nanny from Park Slop says:
These are developers. Not social workers.
If you are worried about crowds and tall buildings then what the f*** are doing you living in downtown brooklyn.

I heard the buildings are smaller in Woodstock NY
April 5, 2017, 10:44 pm
Joe from Greenpoint says:
When it stands empty. That will be hilarious.
April 5, 2017, 10:49 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Of course tall buildings belong on Flatbush. Why do we accept short buildings right off it?
April 5, 2017, 11:06 pm
Consuelea Melendez from Boerum Hell says:
Levin deserves as much respect as he's actually shown to his constituency-- which is NONE.

He's straight garbage as a human being ans as a politician-- which is, I'm sorry, an insult to the waste indsutry but sometimes our vocabulary fails us.

Grocery store, what's that?

More truck is the best!

Right Steve you witless fraud?
April 5, 2017, 11:59 pm
sue from boreum hill says:
Despite Levins's lies and deception NO one has yet emerged to challenge him.. He needs to get a primary at least.. Maybe the right person can defeat him. He has been unmasked as a phony and a fraud.
April 6, 2017, 2:41 am
Doug from Boerum Hill says:
I live a block and a bit away, and go through that intersection several times a week. It's been an eyesore and a dead spot for ages. I'm not crazy about the height, but it seems like there's a useful tradeoff to be made. As a generally matter I'd rather see the city get schools built in exchange for approvals than for tax dollars. The volume of stuff that's coming on line is depressing rents somewhat (we rent out two apartments) but taking the long view, given the crap that's being replaced it's going to be a net positive in terms of amenities public uses, etc. FYI, that location is in easy walking distance of numerous great smaller places to shop, etc. in Fort Greene just across Flatbush, as well as two (!) Targets, the Stop and Shop, all the great new stuff new Albee Square, etc. Subways are a problem, but I'm encouraged by the presence of commercial space -- let's eliminate some commutes or reverse their direction.
April 6, 2017, 10:04 am
Sid from Boreum hill says:
Doug.. you realize that this is the tallest announced building in Brooklyn. The building being built by juniors is only 73(ahem) stories. The building being considered and unannounced for the PC Richards site is reported to be 100 stories...but it hasn't been announced and will NOT have to go through ULURP as it is technically a state site.
April 6, 2017, 1:18 pm
Doug from Boerum Hill says:
Sid, as I said, "I'm not crazy about the height", but generally I'm getting a lot more comfortable with these large-scale projects. The buildings they're replacing are (for the most part) pretty marginal and aren't really contributing to the neighborhood. Plus, after all the hype about the impact of Barclays, which has been a mixed bag but nowhere near as bad as many predicted, I'm pretty skeptical of claims about the negative impact of big projects.
April 6, 2017, 3:47 pm
Doug from Boerum Hill says:
I also feel like the Flatbush corridor is really starting to come together nicely and a building of that height would not be out of place aesthetically.
April 6, 2017, 3:48 pm
Sid from Boreum hill says:
Doug- thanks I agree that Barclays is less intrusive than expected for some. But remember the residential has just started to fill up and they are doing much fewer events than expected. If you live on state street this will be your worst nite mare...2 schools and loading docks
April 6, 2017, 7:23 pm
Doug from Boerum Hill says:
Reading between the lines, the loading dock is probably DOA, if even Levin doesn't like it. I don't mind kids coming and going to school -- doubtful this would be completed for ours to benefit, but the neighborhood clearly needs more schools.
April 6, 2017, 8 pm
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY says:
As someone who has been following the Atlantic Yards, which is now known as Pacific Park, I can tell you that the process that got it was hardly for the public. The only reason why Ratner got it built was thanks to having friends in high places. In reality, that's who the developers need to impress rather than the community, because they know there will always be disputes with them. Nevertheless, nothing changes the fact that it was a product of both eminent domain abuse and corporate welfare. More importantly, where is those jobs and affordable housing promised especially for those who were pushing for it? My guess is that they fell for the old bait and switch, which is why I considered it nothing more than a Trojan Horse. BTW, Norman Oder, who does the Atlantic Yards Report, did have an entry on this project.
April 7, 2017, 4:17 pm
Jermaine from Fort Greene says:
Is this de Blasio's hedge against ISIS trying to blow up this part of Brooklyn? A madrassah in a luxury apartment building might weaponize it. Very imaginative of our Mayor to marry support in luxury developers and America-hating infidels.
April 7, 2017, 10:11 pm
Sparkle from Bay Ridge says:
Tall buildings bring my thoughts to the sky when I look at them.
April 8, 2017, 9:47 am
Tax payer from Fort Greene says:
Thousands of new units completed or in process and no idea if the infrastructure can sustain it. Subways are jammed and failing more frequently. Tax dollars should pay for school not developers. This developer will never pay a dollar towards general expenses-fire, police, sewers, roads, etc in exchange for these schools. Not ever. Developers should pay taxes and government should do its job of building infrastructure. Developers throw in a few bribes and never pay taxes. Who do you think covers their share of taxes as they walk away with enormous profits?
April 24, 2017, 11:54 am
Watching the Bait & Switch from Boerum Hill says:
The classic bait and switch...'affordable housing' set asides that ARE NOT affordable...A Council Member -Levin-willing to give up citizens' ownership and patrimony to developers- such as Hudson -who tore down the Brooklyn Hts Public Library for luxury housing...Wait and see Levin's next move...wanna' bet?

Now the hype du jour...building Muslim schools...daring anyone who- in classic Brooklyn political correctness- would NEVER cast aspersions on welcoming a Muslim school or two.

Wake up's not about whether it is or isn't an opportunity to implement Muslim schools which do seem to be needed...It's all about Levin acceding to the mothers' milk of campaign financing-the quid pro quo bucks, wrapped in the sanctimonious mantle of religious freedom.

It's all about the inept and corrupt Mayor who cannot cough up enough will to manage enough of our flush taxpaying bounty to build schools ourselves with public city money. He has assigned the city's responsibility to his pals...REBNY members & they can build as high as they damn well please.
April 24, 2017, 2:21 pm
Frank from Cobble Hill says:
I love how concetned developers become about the disadvantaged when they announce a new neighborhood land grab. Apartments below market but still way too expensive for the needy to qualify for: Thank our Progressive Mayor and City Council. They're in on the joke, just keep that REBNY money pouring in to their campaigns. Didn't Steve Levin benefit from REBNY funds? If he didn't, it means he gave away the Brooklyn Heights library to Hudson Companies out of a personal belief that public libraries are squandering valuable property from private luxury tower builders. Now it looks like Levin is going to greenlight the destruction of a whole neighborhood for a few unaffordable affordable apartments and a couple of luxury schools. We've seen the progression of the Progressive concern for low income morph from inclusionary affordable in a luxury building to poor door affordable units miles away from the luxury mother building (very lucrative for nonprofit developers like 5th Ave Comm) to the new wrinkle: Putting public schools in luxury towers. Never underestimate the creativity of Progressive capitalists to cash in on the poor. Putting schools in luxury towers is truly inventive. The affordable housing racket is running dry? I think so. Blackmailing objectors with indigentophobia is good, now add on educationophobia and: Behold the City Council votes for Godzilla Gibran Boerum Hill Estates.
April 24, 2017, 3:09 pm
Sibil from Clinton Hill says:
The developer/nonprofit/education complex is trying to get a hold in Clinton Hill with a charter school that's twice as tall as the zoning allows. We neighbors are being accused by the developer/nonprofit/education complex of being against children. I agree with Frank it's Progressive capitalism using the poor to intimidate everyone else. Hugely cynical, VERY successful.
April 24, 2017, 3:32 pm
Anonymous says:
I know I am late to the party but I have to say this:

This. Project. Is. Not. Luxury. AT ALL!!!!!
Sept. 3, 2018, 8:23 pm

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