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Rezoning sought for massive 14-Story building at Bed-Stuy nursing home site

The 270 Nostrand Avenue site in June 2019.
Photo by Craig Hubert

Renderings included in a Department of City Planning review session Monday show what’s in store for a block-long development in Bed-Stuy.

Located at 270 Nostrand Ave., the large site fronts Nostrand, Dekalb Avenue and Koscuiszko Street, and stands across the street from Home Depot. The developer, BRP Companies, is requesting a rezoning in order to build a new, 14-story mixed-use building, which will include 487 residential units (144 of which will be affordable under Mandatory Inclusionary Housing), retail on the ground floor and a medical office. Previous plans called for only seven stories.

The document notes that the building will rise to 14 stories along Dekalb and Nostrand Avenues but step down to 12 stories along Koscuiszko Street, “as a gesture toward the lower-rise neighborhood to the south.”

The application was certified by the Department of City Planning on April 5, kicking off the months-long public review process known as ULURP. DCP Chair Marisa Lago noted that the commission, as well as members of Community Board 3, had raised concerns about the project’s bulk and massing during pre-certification meetings.

Rendering by GF55 Partners

If the rezoning is not approved, the developer plans to build an as-of-right nine-story building that will house approximately 305 units and 25,060 gross square feet for the medical office, according to the application.

Architect firm GF55 Partners is behind the design. Renderings show a massive, bulky building with a number of striking visual elements, including a combination of different shades of what appears to be brown brick on the facade — darker at the corners of the building, with strips of lighter brick along at least two sides — and what looks like an all-glass facade starting above the ninth floor.

Rendering by GF55 Partners

The plan and the developer have a history of controversy and lawsuits.

The property was the former home of CABS Nursing Home Company, which was established in 1973. Beginning in 2009, the facility began operating at a loss, according to the owner in a court filing, and began to look for a buyer who would keep the nursing home open.

City records show that NNRC Properties LLC, which is part of the Allure group, bought the property from CABS for $15.6 million in June 2015. But their plans, unbeknownst to CABS, included building apartments on the property. In October 2015, they filed permits for a seven-story development, which was approved later that same year.

The site in 2015.Photo by Nicholas Strini for PropertyShark

CABS sued the developer in 2016, claiming “they lied about plans to keep the home operational and instead moved patients out with the intention of turning the building into apartments,” resulting in at least one death of a senior, according to a story in DNAinfo. CABS sought to rescind the sale while asking for “more than $30 million in damages.” In 2017, the fraud claims were dismissed.

Saying the nursing home should never have shut down, then Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reached a settlement with Allure Group — which was also behind the controversial Rivington House nursing home sale in Manhattan — in 2018 that included paying penalties and opening new healthcare facilities in Brooklyn, according to Curbed.

The nursing home was demolished in 2019. CABS continues to own and operate a senior residence next door at 590 Dekalb Avenue.

Senior residences, along with churches, have been turned into housing all over Brooklyn as land values rise. In 2014, an assisted living facility for seniors in Park Slope was closed, later becoming condos, much to the chagrin of local residents. Last year, this trend was reversed when the former Leverich Hotel in Brooklyn Heights opened as a luxury senior assisted living facility. Lotteries for low income senior housing recently opened in Williamsburg and East Flatbush.

This story first appeared on Brownstoner.com.

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