This ‘Rose’ has thorns! CB1 panel blocks developer’s waterfront towers

The Brooklyn Paper
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A developer’s bid for a glitzy, 800-unit mixed-use apartment complex along the Williamsburg waterfront tripped at the first hurdle on Tuesday night when a community board committee rejected it 9–1.

Members of the Community Board 1 land-use committee objected strongly to the project — dubbed “Rose Plaza on the River” — because it would reserve only 20 percent of its condo units as below-market-rate housing.

Board members also objected that the vast majority of the complex’s units are studios, and one- and two-bedrooms.

“Is this what you think our community needs?” asked Rabbi David Niederman, a committee member and president of the United Jewish Organization. “It’s another development that gentrifies a community that is suffering already from a lack of housing.”

The waterfront site is currently zoned for manufacturing and houses a lumber warehouse and a parking lot. The developers are seeking a residential rezoning so they can build a 3.7-acre complex with 801 units in three towers of 18, 24, and 29 stories. The site is bordered by Kent Avenue on the east, Division Avenue on the south and the Schaefer Landing complex to the north.

Rose Plaza is bigger, bulkier and will provide more housing than its neighbor to the north, which has towers of 15 and 26 stories for a total of 210 units.

Luxury condos have sprouted up in Williamsburg and Greenpoint since the contentious 2005 rezoning of the waterfront communities, a zoning change that allowed developers to build 30-story towers as long as they have big enough lots and provide public space. Since the rezoning took effect, condos towers like the 29-story Northside Piers near N. Fifth Street, the 30-story Edge between N. Fifth and N. Seventh streets, and Ismael Leyva’s proposed 40-story tower on West Street near India Street have become the norm.

The Rose Plaza site was not included in that rezoning, which brought the development team to the community board, which takes a first crack at city land-use changes.

Members of the committee sought improvements in the project, including setting aside 33 percent of the project for below-market-rate housing and creating some larger units for families.

“I didn’t think the committee vote was ‘no way,’ we just want to see the project to become better,” said committee Chairman Ward Dennis. “The open space is a little more than required by law and we have always pushed for 40-percent affordable housing for new projects. All that you are offering is the standard, the minimum [of affordable units], you are looking for wavers on the height of the towers, and what do we get in return?”

In return, said Howard Weiss, the attorney representing the would-be developers Abraham and Isack Rosenberg, Rose Plaza on the River would include retail and restaurant space, an underground parking garage to fit 496 cars, an extension of S. 11th Street west of Kent Avenue to serve as a visual corridor, plus public space in the form of a waterfront esplanade.

“The public space and affordable housing shows that we care about the community,” said Weiss, adding that the construction of housing in what is currently a manufacturing site would “bring life and create jobs.”

To be able to do so, though, the developers need that the rezoning, which caps the towers at 185-feet, given the lot size. Rose Plaza would not be the first development to get such a waiver, but that didn’t matter to some panelists.

“You’re not special,” said Heather Roslund, a member of the committee. “I don’t buy it.”

Speaking of buying things, Dennis pointed out, Rose Plaza would add 800 units to the 2,500 new apartments that are expected to be on the market by the end of the year and another 2,500 by the end of 2010.

But Weiss was not deterred.

“By the time the project is built, the market will have changed — and we will be offering waterfront real estate,” said Weiss.

The debate continues at the Community Board 1 full board meeting at 6:30 pm on Dec. 1 at the Swingin’ Sixties Senior Center [211 Ainslie St. at Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 389-0009]. Be there.

Updated 5:15 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

ekstein from rabbitzen says:
Most Recent Written Opinions

n RE: Isack Rosenberg
Nov. 25, 2009, 7:23 pm
Yidel from Williamsburg says:
Most Recent Colonial Mansion From Our Beloved Rabbi
Nov. 25, 2009, 8:20 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Who really cares what a religious community wants (even if they say 'needs'). They can make all the demands they want, but there is no reason that a private builder should have to cater to them. The questions posed when a project is being discussed are about whether the building is structurally sound and about whether it's construction will destroy historic or significant buildings - not can members of our extremist religious community be gaurenteed below market cost housing in it.
Nov. 26, 2009, 3:33 am
out of the box from Williamsburg says:
Sad part is that no one really cares about the community of Williamsburg, everyone is for themselves, but if the community was well aware of the difficult challenges they face ahead because of these developments . we would be surprised on how powerful their voices would be . People more and more are realizing the abuse they are coming across, with their own tax money. And how there communities are changing when its rezoned.. or elected official claim that more for affordable housing is need, and when they are done the buildings are luxury .. but shame on our elected officials they are to blame they continue allowing the garbage to pile up F #$&* u all .
Nov. 26, 2009, 9:07 am
Evelyn from williamsburg says:
This is simple politics from Niederman against the Aroini faction in the Satmar battle for succession, double standard from a community leader who is supposed to work for everyone!
Nov. 26, 2009, 12:50 pm
tony from greenpoint says:
New York Daily News, September 7, 2001

A mob-controlled strip club used a school run sect to launder cash for crime boss John A. (Junior) Gotti, federal prosecutors have charged. The scheme orchestrated by the owners of Scores, the upscale strip club, At least one board member, Isack Rosenberg, served as a conduit for the cash, but says he had no idea it was going to Gotti ... Rosenberg's lawyer, Samuel Burstyn, said his client deeply regrets being involved in the transaction."
Nov. 27, 2009, 1:24 am
Dav from Greenpoint says:
people its show time...
Nov. 27, 2009, 9:58 am
Sam from Williamsburg says:

I want to thank the CB1 memers who voted down this project.

The Rosenbergs have a trak-record of greedy destroyers of our neigborhood and slum-lords. In their Ros Castle hall, they are bringing violent parties, causing noise and violence in the whole neigborhood. Several shootings happended there in recent years, and police have to intervend almost by every of these affairs.

Now they wanted to bring in 800 units of higher class, to cause housing prices to sky-rocket even further. All this projects rest rent, housing prices and taxes in oure neighborhood. This project would have been a Mega project, probably the biggest of it kind.


Nov. 27, 2009, 10:46 am
jenna from williamsburg says: Land Use Committee less diverse than ever%20&id=4778249-CB1%E2%80%99S Land Use Committee less diverse than ever&instance=lead_story_left_column
Nov. 27, 2009, 12:02 pm
Motty, Leo, Gershy, Isaac Ab. from Williamsburg says:
"Az the hint billt is a simen az the shtein is gellungen"
Nov. 27, 2009, 2:08 pm
Ezzy from Willamsburg says:
This is great news for families struggling for survival in Williamsburg. Finally we will have some affordable housing,its about time...
Nov. 27, 2009, 2:56 pm
Yidel from Williamsburg says:
• For the first time ever: Niederman voted against a Jewish owner
• For the first time ever: Jewish Votes on Community Board was split 5-1-1
• For the first time ever: Niederman controls Ten Votes and six are on ULURP Committee
• For the first time ever: Niederman was concerned on affordable housing, and jobs replacements
• Kedem Winery and 184 Kent Niederman voted for it when the board was against
Dec. 1, 2009, 3:22 pm
Vito from williamsburg says:
How come they allow the Rabbi to vote on an issue where he has a conflict of interest - he was the one selling everyone during recent election that we need to vote for Levin, because of the Broadway triangle - I guess he was afraid the outsiders wont buy there if the waterfront apartments would of been available
Dec. 2, 2009, 12:33 am
mosito from greenpoint says:
lats ask this lot was once given for u.t.a when he was on the board how did it transfer over to his own property would ask for an investegtion on it. let the truth come out who is working for the community and who is working for his own interst didnt they get 25000.00 grant for voteing yes on the electric ganrator on the north... the story is long.... those any body knoes how manytimes this man has filed banktrup(this one is #.. )
Dec. 7, 2009, 4:40 pm
Suzy K from williamsburg says:

Brooklyn Bar Association accepting stolen $$$ from the Chasidic Maddoff Thug Louis & Joel Kestenbaum to sponsor the Cocktail Hour.

It is a travesty of Justice when the Bar Association is accepting donations when actually this money comes from defaulted loans. How did 22 year old Joel Kestenbaum secure over 1 Billion dollars in Bank Loans which are now worthless guarentees and wiped out Banks like Corus Bank, Wachovia Bank, Bank of Netherland etc. View Madoff Kestenbaum History:

*Criminal Indictment in Ohio CR- 1-99-0023
U.S.A. v. Louis Kestenbaum for defrauding Proctor & Gamble millions of dollars.
Dec. 8, 2009, 7:40 pm
Not Suzy from Brooklyn Heights says:
I didn't know what the above comment was about, so I did some Googling and only found this old Cincinnati Enquirer story about the allegation:
Dec. 9, 2009, 10:56 am

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