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Historic East New York Buildings Jeopardized By Rezoning May Be Saved

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Part of the Empire State Dairy complex could be saved from alteration or demolition

The city's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will deliberate on designating two East New York buildings that are in danger of being demolished as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio's efforts to rezone the neighborhood, DNAinfo reports.

East New York is the first of 15 neighborhoods across the city that will eventually be rezoned to make room for more housing. In East New York specifically, the Mayor's plan calls for the creation of 6,000 new units of housing, about half of which will be affordable.

As part of this proposed rezoning the Empire State Dairy complex in the neighborhood could be demolished or altered, but now the LPC is trying to ensure that at least part of the complex survives that fate. On Tuesday the agency calendared two buildings that are part of the complex for landmark status consideration.

Both buildings were constructed in the early part of the 20th century and speak to the industrial history of Brooklyn as well as the technological advancements that were taking place in the dairy industry at the time. The other buildings at the site are not being considered on architectural merit.

The controversial rezoning proposal in East New York was approved by the City Planning Commission at the end of last month. On Monday, the City Council began hearing testimony on the proposal.

The Commissioner for the Department for Housing and Preservation, Vicki Been informed the council that doing nothing in East New York would displace far more people than the new housing would, according to the New York Daily News.

One of the chief points of contention has been the band of affordability - whether a large number of residents in the neighborhood would be left out due to the average median income (AMI) requirements for the affordable units.

Some of the elected officials in the neighborhood like Congressman Hakeem Jeffries have voiced their disapproval of the project as well.

Business owners and community members from neighborhoods like Williamsburg were also present at the meeting sharing their negative experience of rezoning (a major one was approved in 2005) and how it affected local businesses and instead saw the rise of hotels and bars.

The LPC will likely hold a public hearing for the Empire State Dairy buildings sometime in July.