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Williamsburg's Pfizer-replacing residential project gets community board approval

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If the rezoning is approved, 1,146 apartments will rise on this controversial site

Via Department of City Planning

UPDATE 06/14/17: Despite concerns from local residents, the Rabsky Group’s massive Pfizer site replacing residential project in the Broadway Triangle area has received the support of the local community board, a major step in making this project a reality.

Community Board 1 voted to support the project Tuesday. This followed the land use subcommittee’s vote last week, which was also in favor of the project. The developer believes the favorable verdict was largely a result of its promise to make 287 apartments at the development permanently affordable and to create local construction jobs.

Housing advocates still remain unconvinced, according to DNAinfo. Members of local groups like Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A and St. Nicks Alliance are skeptical on whether the Rabsky Group will actually live up to its promises.

Rabsky is hoping for construction to get underway in January 2018 with an anticipated completion the following year. The project is expected to bring 1,146 apartments, 65,000 square feet of retail, 405 parking spots, and half an acre of public open space to the neighborhood. This project still needs the approval of the City Planning Commission and City Council.

Plans to bring more 1,100 apartments to the Broadway Triangle area in Brooklyn are now moving into the city’s public review process, potentially setting up months of contentious debate over this neighborhood-altering development.

The Rabsky Group has officially started the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) to rezone a two-block site at 200 Harrison Avenue, DNAinfo reports. If the developer’s plans are approved, 1,146 apartments will be spread out over eight new buildings in the Broadway Triangle area, located at the intersection of Williamsburg, Bed-Stuy, and Bushwick.

A previous iteration of this plan explored the impact of 344 units for affordable housing as part of the overall development, but the agreed upon number of affordable units has always been 287. One hundred and fifteen of the affordable apartments will be open to families making $38,000 per year, and 172 will be offered to families of four making $57,000.

The rezoning of Broadway Triangle for housing has been the subject of lawsuits and contentious debates for several years now. The Latino and black residents of the area have argued that a 2009 rezoning unfairly favors the Hasidic community, and construction on projects in the area has not moved forward as a result of a lawsuit.

Housing advocates and the City Councilman Antonio Reynoso have urged the city to resolve the lawsuit and create an overall plan for the Broadway Triangle area before moving forward on any individual rezoning proposals, according to DNAinfo.

For now, though, the Rabsky Group is determined to move forward, and as the first step in the ULURP, the local community board will have to host a public meeting on the project within the next two months.