The City Council has agreed to let the developer of 77 Commercial Street stack a total of 35 more stories onto two-high rises bound for the Greenpoint waterfront. In return, the neighborhood will get 200 more units of permanently affordable housing, funding for a park where an MTA parking lot now sits, and — among other concessions — assurances that a WalMart isn’t on the way, Council Member Stephen Levin’s office has announced.
Over the course of what Levin, a Greenpointer, described as a “very difficult, lengthy, and arduous process” (a.k.a. the city’s Universal Land Use and Review Process) the Chetrit Group had sought to increase the height of two 15-story towers bound for 77 Commercial Street, near the recently upsized Greenpoint Landing. The City Council vote will allow them to build a 30-story tower and a 40-story tower at the site.
In return, Chetrit has agreed to allocate $8.2 million to bring a city park to 65 Commercial Street, which is currently a parking lot for MTA vehicles (the city will contribute $1.3 million to the park).
The parking lot has long been considered a neighborhood blight. Under the City Council agreement, the city will pay $11 million to move MTA Access-A-Ride vehicles and build a replacement facility for them elsewhere, while the developer will contribute $3 million so that Emergency Response Units can be moved to and stored on its property at 77 Commercial Street, Levin’s office said.
The developer has also agreed to put $4 million toward affordable housing, with the city contributing $8 million to that end.
During earlier hearings regarding the project, residents and elected officials had expressed concerns that the developer’s definition of affordable housing (which included apartments ranging from 80% to 175% of Area Median Income) wasn’t actually affordable to many in the neighborhood.
Under the agreement negotiated by Levin and the City Council, the 200 affordable units, which will have equal access to building amenities, will cater to significantly lower incomes:
* 10 Units at 40% of AMI
* 10 Units at 50% of AMI
* 80 Units at 60% of AMI
* 26 Units at 80% of AMI
* 34 Units at 100% of AMI
* 40 Units at 125% of AMI
In addition, Chetrit has agreed to provide about 9,500 square feet of landscaped walkway for neighborhood use, 5,000 square feet of “community space,” and a free shuttle bus taking area residents to the 7 and G trains. The developer also agreed not to lease retail space to a “big box” operator, with the exception of supermarkets. And there were construction-noise mitigation agreements as well.
Members of Neighbors Allied for Good Growth (NAG), the Greenpoint Waterfront Association and North Brooklyn Development Corporation issued statements supporting the new funding for parkland and affordable housing.