Demolition begins at future site of controversial development in Boerum Hill

Demolition begins at future site of controversial development in Boerum Hill
Photo by Susan De Vries

It’s starting to come down.

Demolition has recently kicked off at 80 Flatbush Ave., the site of a controversial future development in Boerum Hill that spent most of 2018 going through the city’s ULURP process. The demolition permits were filed back in January.

The row of one-story retail stores facing Schermerhorn Street was recently razed, and on Tuesday firefighters were knocking windows out of the largest building on the site, which faces Flatbush Avenue and is adorned with a large-scale mural by the artist Katie Merz.

Still standing is the Khalil Gibran International Academy and an old smokestack. Portions of the five-building complex, dating from 1860 to 1890, will be torn down, while others will be saved and incorporated into the larger development.

The proposal from the developer, Alloy Development, calls for two towers, 900 apartments — including 200 affordable units — and two schools. But, as part of the approval, key details of the project have changed.

Mainly, the scale: The floor area ratio of 18 initially proposed by the developers was reduced to 15.75, including the schools. The tallest tower has been reduced from 986 to 840 feet, while the smaller tower will shrink from 561 to 510 feet.

Other modifications include the removal of all loading docks from the State Street side of the development and the promise to keep the original plan for 200 units of affordable housing.

New building permits have yet to be filed.

Over much of the last year, the development was protested by local advocates including the Boerum Hill Association. And the controversy is far from over. In July, the 400 & 500 State Street Block Association filed a lawsuit against the New York City Educational Construction Fund, Alloy Development, City Council and the City Planning Commission, which is currently ongoing.

This story was first reported by Brownstoner, one of our sister publications.