Downtown’s latest high: Developer seeks rezoning to build 942-foot skyscraper on Fulton Street

Downtown’s latest high: Developer seeks rezoning to build 942-foot skyscraper on Fulton Street
Philip Habib & Associates

Downtown is on the up and up!

A developer wants to erect another massive skyscraper above the neighborhood, one block away from the polarizing 80 Flatbush megadevelopment that the city green-lit in September.

Brooklyn-based builders Rabsky Group and Totem are pushing to rezone a lot bounded by Fulton Street, Hudson and DeKalb Avenues, and Rockwell Place, in order to construct a 942-foot mixed-use tower with roughly 900 apartments, a new 640-seat elementary school, a community facility, and retail and commercial space.

The trapezoidal plot at 625 Fulton Street is on the Downtown–Fort Greene border, within the Special Downtown Brooklyn District where buildings’ size is regulated by density, not height, which the city formed back in 2004 to bring taller, mixed-use buildings to the area.

But despite its proximity to the five-building 80 Flatbush complex, the lot is within Fort Greene Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo’s district, not that of her colleague Downtown Councilman Stephen Levin, who ultimately signed off a slightly shrunken 80 Flatbush — which will contain nearly 900 apartments, roughly 200 of which are so-called affordable, two new schools, and cultural and commercial space — after months of protests, negotiations, and debate over its necessity.

But before the builders can break ground, they must raze the three-story building now at the site, which includes a pre-school, commercial-trade school for adults, and retail space.

And they also need the city to sign off on an upzoning to increase the plot’s allowable floor-area ratio — a zoning measurement abbreviated as “far” that determines how high a structure can be relative to the size of the land it is on — from a total of 10 to a max of 21, in order to include the school.

Should the city approve the rezoning but not a special permit needed to boost the far to 21, the developers will drop the school, and instead push for a far as big as 20, or as small as 18, for the towers’ commercial space, according to documents they filed with the city.

The developers are not asking the city to upzone the tower’s residential space, but would still get a small boost in density in exchange for making as many as 25 percent of the building’s units below-market-rate, according to the rezoning report.

If approved, the proposed 942-foot tower, about 100 feet higher than the taller of 80 Flatbush’s two soon-to-be-built high-rises, would go up across the street from another 40-story tower that builder Slate Property Group wants to erect at 570 Fulton St., which the local community board outright rejected in October.

The rezoning request has yet to begin its way through the city’s lengthy Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, however, which will kick off only after the developers finalize a draft environmental-impact statement required for the process to begin.

And if officials reject the request, the developers plan to erect a 78-story, mixed-use residential building with ground-floor retail on the lot as of right.

The City Planning Commission is set to review the project on Jan. 17, and civic gurus on Community Board 2 will get a chance to weigh in by next fall at the earliest once the ulurp process kicks off, according to its district manager Rob Perris.

The Fulton Street project isn’t Rabsky’s only development in the area — the firm is also behind a scheme to build market-rate housing on the site of a former Brooklyn Hospital tower containing doctors’ offices and an urgent-care facility in Fort Greene, and the controversial eight-building Broadway Triangle project in Williamsburg.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.