Tall order: Flatbush community board approves 13-story tower on site of old gas station

Tall order: Flatbush community board approves 13-story tower on site of old gas station
S9 Architecture

This building will take the “flat” out of Flatbush!

A 13-story mixed-use tower is one step closer to rising on Flatbush land currently occupied by a vacant BP gas station, after local civic gurus on Monday approved its developer’s request to rezone the lot.

Community Board 14’s full board overwhelmingly voted in favor of rezoning the now commercial property at 1640 Flatbush Ave. to make way for builder SL Green Realty’s proposed high-rise, which will include more than 100 residential units — dozens of which will be below-market-rate — and retail space.

The proposed building’s top 11 floors will contain some 115 units, 34 of which will be so-called affordable and set aside for families making an average of 80 percent of the area median income, which is $62,750 for a two-person household or $52,150 for a four-person household, according to city data.

And the bottom two floors of the tower rising near Aurelia Court will contain retail space, according to plans shared with CB14.

Some residents of the neighborhood’s 20-story Philip Howard Houses co-op complex, which is just across the street from the development site, came out to oppose the project at a Dec. 5 public hearing, claiming the proposed tower would cast detrimental shadows, block views from their apartments, and invite more traffic to local streets with its retail spaces.

But those locals live within the boundaries of Community Board 18, whose members don’t get to formally weigh in on the rezoning request as it applies to a property outside of their district.

Still, CB14 members took some of the concerns to heart, issuing their approval with stipulations that included the builder find ways to mitigate parking and traffic problems its tower could bring, conduct a shadow study in order to minimize any shade cast by the structure, and set aside more affordable units.

SL Green bigwigs agreed to work with the city on the recommendations regarding traffic and parking, noting they will consult with the Department of Transportation on the possibility of relocating loading zones for the tower’s planned retail space from the residential Aurelia Court to the busier Flatbush Avenue.

But the developer has yet to provide proof of any shadow study, nor offered to add more below-market-rate units to the project, according to the chairman of CB14, who said officials may further push those points as the rezoning request moves through the city’s lengthy Uniform Land Use Review Procedure — which also requires input from the borough president, City Planning Commission, Council, and Mayor DeBlasio.

“It is likely that the borough president, the City Planning Commission, and Council will have the opportunity to take into account CB14’s recommendation, including our stipulations,” said Alvin Berk.

Indeed, Flatbush Councilman Jumaane Williams — who holds the key Council vote on the rezoning request, as the project sits in his district — has already demanded SL Green up the number of the building’s below-market-rate units by reserving an additional 25 percent for families making 60 percent of the area medium income, which for a three-person household comes out to $48,960, according to city data.

A spokeswoman for SL Green, however, declined to discuss their 1640 Flatbush project or any potential changes to it when contacted by this newspaper.

Following the board’s purely advisory vote to support the builder’s rezoning request, the proposal now heads to Borough President Adams, who will host a public hearing about the project on Dec. 17 before issuing his own recommendation.

Borough President Adams’s hearing on the 1640 Flatbush Ave tower at Borough Hall (209 Joralemon St. between Court Street and Brooklyn Bridge Boulevard in Downtown) on Dec. 17 at 6 pm.

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.