City deep-sixes school proposed for ‘Eighth Avenue Center’

Mega-development coming to Sunset Park
Raymond Chan Architects

The massive mixed-use development planned on Eighth Avenue will no longer include a public school.

Architect Raymond Chan plans to build a shopping mall, a residential tower, and a hotel on the corner of 62nd Street in a project dubbed “Eighth Avenue Center,” and he told members of Community Board 10 in 2014 that he would set aside room for an elementary school in the proposed mega-development. But the School Construction Authority has decided building classrooms there would be too costly, so Chan is now planning to construct a private, 498-seat pre-K, according to Community Board 10’s district manager.

“The School Construction Authority looked at the site and has decided they’re not going to develop on it. The costs required for developing on the site may be more than the School Construction Authority feels comfortable with,” said Josephine Beckmann.

Elementary school classrooms in District 20, which includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, and a portion of Sunset Park encompassing the proposed development site, are some of the city’s most overcrowded.

The Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Chan aims to erect a mall, a 12-story residential tower with 250 units, and an 11-story hotel with 150 rooms on the lot, which is roughly the size of three football fields and currently zoned for manufacturing. Plans also call for more than 2,500 parking spots in an off-street garage, a health-care facility, a bookless digital library, and a green space.

But Chan needs a special permit or a rezoning to make his plan a reality, because the land, which is currently a parking lot, is zoned for manufacturing rather than residential use.

The property’s previous owner planned an 11-story residential tower and a Home Depot for the site, and the city granted him a special permit to do so in 2007, but the developer sold the land in 2014 without building on it.

Chan plans to file official plans for the project with the city by springtime.

Meantime, a skeptical Community Board 10 wants to get out ahead of the proposal by ordering the Department of City Planning to conduct an environmental impact study examining how the complex might exacerbate neighborhood overcrowding.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.