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Brooklyn’s 80 Flatbush skyscraper heads to City Council

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Opponents and supporters of the enormous tower gave testimony before a City Council subcommittee

Courtesy Alloy Development

The City Council’s subcommittee on zoning and franchises today heard several hours of testimony both for and against 80 Flatbush, the enormous dual-tower development that could bring 900 apartments and new schools to Downtown Brooklyn. The project, developed by Alloy Development, is currently making its way through the complex ULURP process. The City Planning Commission voted to approved the project at the beginning of the month, and now, it’s moved to the next phase of hearings before the City Council votes.

The subcommittee hearing offered a chance for the project’s opponents and supporters to make their voices heard, and those arguments haven’t changed much from what has been said in previous meetings: Opponents are worried about the effect the project’s height and density will have on surrounding low-rise neighborhoods like Fort Greene and Boerum Hill; they’re also concerned about overwhelming neighborhood resources, and a loading dock that will be placed on State Street. Supporters, meanwhile, argue that the project will bring much-needed housing (including 200 permanently affordable apartments) to the area, while providing ample space for cultural amenities and new schools, all in a transit-rich location.

There was seemingly equal representation from both sides, as well as pointed questions about the project from Council Members Stephen Levin (who represents the district 80 Flatbush would rise in) and Francisco Moya, who chairs the subcommittee. Many of those centered on the size of the development, which—at more than 1 million square feet—would require a zoning change that would nearly triple the allowable floor area ratio (FAR) for the site.

Among those who’ve criticized this move are Assembly Member (and former Boerum Hill Association president) Jo Anne Simon, who testified at today’s hearing.

Representatives from the Educational Construction Fund, which issued the original RFP for the site, and Alloy, including its CEO, Jared Della Valle, testified before the public portion of the hearing began, and emphasized the benefits of the development—as well as how it could potentially help alleviate the housing crunch in Brooklyn.

“This is a wealthy part of the city which has higher than average incomes, median home prices approaching $2 million, and average rents of $3,000 per month,” Della Valle said during his testimony. “The threat of displacement is low, and an opportunity exists to create more economic diversity through the provision of new affordable housing. The housing crisis affects all communities, and the efforts to address it should be shared equally across the city.”

Ultimately, the testimony from today’s hearing will influence how the City Council proceeds. Previously, Community Board 2’s land use committee voted against the proposed development, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams also expressed his disapproval, suggesting that the taller of the two buildings—projected to reach 986 feet—be capped at 600, and that there be more affordable housing, particularly for low-income families.