Bushwick councilman to developers: Keep it down!

Antonio Reynoso
Antonio Reynoso.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

Bushwick will not reach the heights developers hope it will, if one freshman councilman gets his way.

Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg) said shortly after taking office that he would make fighting gentrification top priority — and it appears he meant it. The new politician on the block is working on a proposal to rezone parts of the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood to make it harder to build massive towers.

“I intend on implementing the rezoning as a means to preserve the character of the neighborhood,” said Reynoso.

The councilman said he believes special, low-zoned areas could help keep the neighborhood from suffering from the same kind of dramatic gentrification that has gripped Williamsburg in recent years.

His district contains the sixth- and 25th-fastest gentrifying zip codes in the nation, according to census data (two others in the top 25 are in neighboring Bedford-Stuyvesant). The average Bushwick two-bedroom now rents for $2,161, up nearly $500 from last year, the highest increase of any Brooklyn neighborhood, according to real estate industry data.

For now, Reynoso is only floating ideas about the so-called “down-zoning.” He intends to meet with public officials, as well as engineers and local organizations to craft a proposal to bring before the Council, he said.

Other neighborhoods, such as Boerum Hill, Bay Ridge, and Dyker Heights, have resorted to upward-building freezes in the past decade to keep out large developments.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.