DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — The city's plan to build a 32-story tower complete with housing and cultural space was approved by the City Council Monday night despite 11th-hour demands by local City Councilwoman Letitia James.
James has been an enthusiastic supporter of Two Trees Management's "BAM South" development but on the eve of the vote to approve the $130 million project the public advocate candidate clamored for more affordable housing and union level wages for construction workers.
Her last-minute demands were not met but she managed to reach a tentative agreement to preserve the nearby Pacific Street library’s original structure and won an increase in the number of affordable units at development sites to the north of BAM South, according to Crain's New York.
“I am pleased to again offer my support to BAM South, a project which will offer significant affordable housing to the Fort Greene community," James said in a statement. "I have always supported Two Trees’ vision for the project, and I believe it was important to ensure the project included significant community benefits such as increased affordable housing, maintaining the Pacific Street library, a commitment that cultural organizations utilizing the space will reflect the diversity of this community, and assurance that future utilization of the open space includes the input of all stakeholders."
The new BAM South will encompass 300 units of housing, space for BAM, 651 ARTS and a new “technology-rich branch” of the Brooklyn Public Library. The development site is located on a triangular block bounded by Ashland Place, Flatbush Avenue and Lafayette Avenue.
“Two Trees is grateful to the City Council for its support and proud to partner with the City and some of Brooklyn’s most innovative cultural institutions to advance the growth of downtown Brooklyn’s world-class cultural district,” said Jed Walentas, a principal at Two Trees Management, in a statement. “With cultural space, much-needed affordable housing and a new public plaza, we will be transforming a parking lot into an iconic building with many public benefits.”