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New looks, details for massive Downtown Brooklyn development ahead of ULURP

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80 Flatbush Avenue will bring 900 apartments, two schools, and more to Brooklyn

Courtesy Alloy Development

One of Downtown Brooklyn’s biggest forthcoming development projects has been revised ahead of its certification for the city’s public review process.

Alloy Development has revealed a scaled-back plan for 80 Flatbush, a proposed mixed-use complex at the nexus of Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, and Fort Greene. The proposal, unveiled last spring, is due to bring 900 apartments, two schools, office space, retail, and more to those neighborhoods. “Downtown Brooklyn has been growing quickly but there hasn’t been a lot of public infrastructure,” Jared Della Valle, CEO of Alloy, told Curbed when the project was announced. “This is an opportunity to be critical of what’s built and its specific context.”

But some community residents took issue with the development, namely the height and glassy design of its towers—one will rise 74 stories, and another 38 stories—which a petition circulated by the Boerum Hill Association said “will not integrate or respect the scale and design of our adjacent brownstone neighborhood.”

In response to that critique, as well as others regarding traffic in the area, Alloy has amended the proposal ahead of the ULURP. “We feel like we have a civic responsibility to leverage this transit-rich location in Downtown Brooklyn to address the housing crisis and provide essential infrastructure for the area,” Della Valle said in a statement. “We’re excited to move ahead with what we think is well-crafted, sustainable development, and look forward to further opportunities to hear from the community throughout the review process.”

What changes can the community expect? For starters, the smaller of the two towers—which sits where State Street and Flatbush Avenue converge—has been redesigned, and is now intended to complement the neighboring Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower. Alloy’s amended skyscraper will be slimmer, will have setbacks, and will not be an all-glass building; now, it “will feature a masonry façade that is similar in color and texture” to the landmarked tower, per a press release.

Other changes are meant to ameliorate concerns over increased traffic. Alloy has moved a truck loading area so that it’s not on residential-heavy State Street, and will seek to eliminate parking that was previously planned for the development, choosing to instead emphasize the development’s proximity to the transit hub at Atlantic Avenue. (Transit advocates have taken notice: Both Transportation Alternatives and the Riders Alliance voiced their support, with the latter’s John Raskin saying that “it is hard to find a more transit-rich development spot in the five boroughs” than the building’s site.)

This smaller building is part of the first phase of development, which will also include the two schools (an elementary school and a new building for the Khalil Gibran International Academy, whose principal called the development a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for my kids” in a statement), and has an anticipated completion date of 2022.

As of right now, no changes have been made to the second phase of the development: That includes an adjacent, 74-story building, which will rise more than 900 feet and be home to apartments (including the complex’s 200 below-market rate apartments), and office space. Two 19th-century buildings on Schermerhorn Street will also be rehabbed as part of this phase, due to be completed by 2025.

But first, the project has to make it through the land use review process: Alloy is expected to receive certification from the City Planning Commission by February 26, and the full process—which will bring the project before the appropriate community boards, borough president, CPC, and City Council—will kick off not long after.