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Residents say rezoning for development will accelerate gentrification

Bushwickans: Rezoning for development is fool’s Rhein-gold

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A proposed cluster of high-rise apartment buildings in an industrial part of Bushwick that opponents say will overwhelm the neighborhood with traffic and further spike rents got the green light from a city panel on Wednesday.

The city planning commission unanimously approved the rezoning of part of the old Rheingold Brewery site, which is already home to an adjacent mixed-income development, so that a developer can turn five blocks near Flushing Avenue into 10 eight-story buildings, a prospect that some residents say will accelerate gentrification in the rapidly changing neighborhood.

“It’s going to create an influx of new residents who will bring further congestion and change the demographics and quality of this neighborho­od,” said Matt Mottel, a longtime Bushwick business owner and member of the newly-formed opposition bloc the North West Bushwick Community Group.

The approval for rezoning the area bounded by Melrose Street and Flushing, Bushwick, and Evergreen avenues from manufacturing to residential follows an okay from the local community board that convened a special session in late June solely about the development. Critics called that event a secret meeting but board members said was adequately advertised. The area currently contains parking lots, vacant plots, and one warehouse. Bushwickans opposed to the project say that it is sailing through the approval process and must be stopped.

The Rheingold developer wants to build 977 residential units and counters detractors by pointing out that 242 apartments will be so-called affordable ones for lower-income families who can win leases through a lottery. Before the rezoning becomes official, it must get the blessing of the city council and the mayor.

But some Bushwickans say it is not enough and that the rate of rent increases in the neighborhood that has seen two-bedroom costs jump $248 in the last year, according to a rental market report, is too much to take.

“As a community member and a parent, it’s appalling and scary and threatening to see the changes that are coming to Bushwick,” said Yazmin Colon, a Bushwick native who runs a youth group called Educated Little Monsters. “It’s moving so rapidly — how do we continue to be a part of it? What future does my son have here?”

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
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Reasonable discourse

Bkmanhatposer from brokeland says:
the proposal allows only for 25% affordable housing units and everything to the tyranny of the market.
If the city allows them to build they should incentivize to increase the number of housing to affordable housing. 25% out of 977 units is small.
It should be at minumum 30%, or around 290 units for affordable housing.
Oct. 24, 2013, 12:50 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
there is obvious demand for this, so build it already!
Oct. 24, 2013, 3:25 pm
Mike from Williamsburg says:
"The area currently contains parking lots, vacant plots, and one warehouse."

I'm surprised these people don't slap a historic district designation on it. Better vacant lots than 240 affordable housing units, I guess.

Of course, if you stop development in the East Village, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint, people are going to move to Bushwick.
Oct. 24, 2013, 4 pm
The Chooch from The Hipster Magic Show says:
"Only" 25 percent affordable? Are you kidding, that's a huge handout. People, we did not gentrify this borough just to set up welfare bantustans all over the place. It's not a Vito Lopez project. We need the gentry. That's the whole point of this exercise. Shazzam !!!
Oct. 25, 2013, 6:02 am
David Brown from LES says:
The key points in this entire piece are these: 1: The area currently contains parking lots, vacant plots, and one warehouse.... 2: “It’s going to create an influx of new residents who will bring further congestion and change the demographics and quality of this neighborhood." Since when does the words "Quality" and "Vacant Plots" belong together? Answer is never, unless it is related to future development. These NIMBY's oops the opposition is not about benefiting Bushwick, its about these people's narrow interests. I will be very happy when it does pass the City Council.
Oct. 25, 2013, 8:17 am
ty from pps says:
The only problem I have with this project is that it's a seriously ugly building.
Oct. 25, 2013, 8:53 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Pardon me for asking, but are you sure that this is not a photograph of the Cambirdgeside Galleria Mall in East Cambridge, MA?
Oct. 25, 2013, 11:12 am
"Interloper" from Kent Ave says:
No more "affordable housing" please. Only market rate for those that are willing to pay top dollar. Take your charity to Brownsville.
Nov. 7, 2013, 12:52 pm

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