Developers want to rezone a Boerum Hill lot to replace a gas station with an eight-story apartment building and ground-floor retail.
Long Island property owner Bill Wolf Petroleum wants to rezone the property at the corner of Third Avenue and Bergen Street to allow for a building housing 24 units, including six to eight with prices restricted to resident income, according to Eric Palatnik, a lawyer for the developer who presented the project to local Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee at a virtual hearing on Oct. 21.
The developer, who has owned the site since 1968, has been trying to redevelop it into residential for years, previously applying in vain for a zoning variance with the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals five years ago.
“If any of this feels like déjà vu all over again, it’s because your board heard this application in June 2015,” Palatnik said.
The proposed structure, designed by Manhattan architects at Newman Design Group, would replace the existing Shell gas station with an 85-foot tall building, set back slightly on the seventh floor, with 24,400 square feet of residential space and about 3,500 of commercial on the ground floor.
It would be similarly sized to newer residential buildings across the street, Palatnik said.
In accordance with the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing law, the developer has to set aside a portion of the upzoned development for units whose price is restricted by the Area Median Income.
One community board member urged the developer make the below-market-rate units truly affordable relative to rents in the area — which includes several public housing developments — rather than use the federally-defined AMI measure, which is skewed because it includes wealthier suburban counties around the Five Boroughs.
“You [should] look toward the affordable rents in that relative community not necessarily what the city publishes for AMI, which is an area-wide number that doesn’t apply to most of the communities in Community District 2,” said John Dew.
Palatnik said his team “can certainly take a look at that,” before proposing two options tied to AMI regardless.
He said they will either earmark six units starting as low as $773 per month for a one-bedroom apartment, up to $1,400 for a two-bed; or eight units, but at higher prices, ranging from $1,200-$1,700 for a one-bed.
Palatnik said that the owner is willing to go with whichever MIH option the community board and local Councilman Stephen Levin prefer.
The developer plans to officially kick off the city’s lengthy land use review procedure, known as ULURP, in two-four months, according to the legal eagle, when they will return to the community board for a formal, but purely-advisory, recommendation.