Developer is racing to beat Williamsburg zoning changes

Developer is racing to beat Williamsburg zoning changes
The Brooklyn Paper / Ben Muessig

The race is on!

A developer is rushing to tear down this old North 10th Street warehouse and dig the foundation for his 25-unit luxury condo tower before June 30, when new rules kick in that require developers to include affordable housing if they want to receive a construction subsidy.

“I’d say the chances are 50–50 that they’ll get it done on time,” said broker Mark Lively, who sold the 50-by-100 space for $2.35 million.

“The developer who purchased the property needed to move very quickly so he could … get his foundation in the ground.”

Developers in many parts of Brooklyn — including Williamsburg and Greenpoint — receive a tax cut just for building new residential units, a relic of the 1970s, when developers had to be subsidized to build in New York City.

But after June 30, new rules will kick in that require developers to set aside 20 percent of their units as “affordable” housing if they want to receive the same tax break.

The developer of 175 N. 10th St., which is between Bedford and Driggs avenues, has no plans to provide affordable housing, yet still wants the subsidy, Lively said.

The warehouse, which is covered with painted hearts and graffiti tags, once housed artists’ studios and small businesses, according to neighbors. The clothing retailer Fred Flare once had a shop in the building as well.

“It’s really depressing what’s going on here,” said an artist who has lived next door to the warehouse for 10 years. “If you’re an artist, you’re getting forced out. It’s just getting so corporate — you need half a million dollars to live here. Who has that?”

The dingy North 10th Street warehouse happens to sit on a prime location for development in the borough’s hottest real estate market — it’s only two blocks from McCarren Park, three blocks from the L train, and it’s within stumbling-home distance of some of Brooklyn’s hippest bars.

Whether or not the developer beats the deadline, Lively said the dumpy one-story industrial building will be transformed into a glass-and-steel tower like the Decora, the building next door that was designed by architect Gene Kaufman.