‘Hill’ street blues on Vanderbilt as city agency ponders move

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A daily influx of more than 3,000 workers, food stamp recipients, domestic violence victims and child support enforcement officers will overwhelm Clinton Hill if the city goes ahead with a controversial plan to relocate the Human Resources Administration headquarters from a Downtown office complex to a residential area, members of Community Board 2 said last week.

The June 9 rejection of the agency’s planned move to a building at the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and Fulton Street came after city officials revealed that so many employees and clients would fill the area.

“We’re concerned about the impact of a large number of people moving to this spot at once,” said CB2 Chairman John Dew, echoing board members, who argued that the Human Resources Administra­tion’s current location in the Metrotech Center on Jay Street is better served by subways and parking.

The board’s disapproval of the lease agreement between the agency and the owner of 470 Vanderbilt Ave. is only advisory to the City Planning Commission’s decision later this month.

Agency reps said they would look into the issues, but noted that Wednesday’s presentation was informational and that the lease is being finalized.

The former telecommunications building was vacant for years until the Mary McDowell Center for Learning, a Quaker school, leased three floors earlier this year. But that institution is tiny compared to the 1,800 staff and up to 1,500 clients who will use the 10-floor Human Resources Administration facility.

Despite the CB2 vote, several business owners near the proposed agency HQ said that the move could be an asset by bringing some boost to the local economy and adding much-needed social services.

“Parking’s gonna suck, but I imagine any business owner around here is going to be happy to have that many people coming into the area each day,” said Christina Ross, owner of Just Taste It, a restaurant one block away. “They do have to go somewhere for lunch.”

Updated 8:01 am, June 16, 2010
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Reasonable discourse

JudahSpechal from Bed-Stuy says:
The area business would benefit greatly. Those restaurants are newly renovated. People who just get off the train and head to their crib can't have it both ways. Foot- traffic is needed.
June 14, 2010, 12:51 pm
irving berlin from clinton hill says:
nonsense,,, our merchants desperate for business on fulton street east of vanderbilt come on!!!!
June 14, 2010, 3:50 pm
Sick and Tired from Clinton Hill says:
What happened to the proposed residential development for that site. I would think that the businesses on the Fulton strip would benefit greater from that along with additional low income housing that might help local residents stay in the community they have lived in while enduring the lack of facilities that are now appearing in the community. What is Downtown Brooklyn going to be too high brow for those agencies who have been there for donkeys years to stay?

I suggest the businesses on Fulton Street come up with more effective marketing to the current residents to increase partonage.
June 14, 2010, 5:59 pm
Sick and Tired from Clinton Hill says:
Sorry patronage.
June 14, 2010, 6 pm
Sid from Boerum Hill says:
I am writing to let the members of Community Board 2 know the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) has withdrawn its application to lease space in 470 Vanderbilt Avenue for use by the Human Resources Administration (HRA). The Department of City Planning (DCP) informed the district office of this development yesterday (June 14).

DCP stated DCAS plans to re-submit in the future, but wanted to take some time to work with the community on its concerns. As most of you know, Community Board 2 voted 20 in favor, none opposed, seven abstentions, three recusals (20-0-7-3) at the June 9 general meeting to pass a motion opposing the lease.

From Rob Perris CB #2 District Manager
June 15, 2010, 4:54 pm

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