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Rezoning of Rheingold Brewery Site in Bushwick Approved by City Council

By Meredith Hoffman | December 11, 2013 12:58pm
 The massive rezoning of Bushwick's former Rheingold brewery site was approved by the City Council.
The massive rezoning of Bushwick's former Rheingold brewery site was approved by the City Council.
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DNAinfo/Meredith Hoffman

BUSHWICK — The rezoning of several industrial blocks at the former Rheingold Brewery site to make room for 70- and 80-foot towers was approved Tuesday by the City Council, clearing the way for developers to begin the controversial project.

The rezoning — which will allow for 977 apartment units, retail, additional streets and open space to several blocks near Woodhull Hospital — was approved by the full City Council after getting the OK from the Council's land use committee.

Local housing advocates and leaders — members of an advisory panel that has been in talks with Council Member Diana Reyna and the developer to form a compromised plan — rejoiced that developer Read Property Group had pledged to them and to Reyna to provide 50 percent more affordable housing than originally proposed in their application to the city.

The developer promised the group to make 30 percent of its units affordable, up from 20 percent, said Rob Solano, the executive director of the North Brooklyn advocacy group Churches United for Fair Housing.

The pledge is non-binding and independent from the plan presented to the City Council, but advocates said they felt confident Read would deliver on the promise.

Members of Reyna's office did not return repeated requests for comment about the revision, nor did Read Property Group.

Members of the Northwest Bushwick Community Group — a coalition of concerned neighbors that formed in response to the rezoning proposal — also confirmed the developers pledged 30 percent affordable housing and said that Read had taken their concerns into consideration in a compromise plan presented to Reyna.

"The terms and negotiations we articulated were a basis with negotiations with Read," said the group's spokeswoman, Brigette Blood, who is also a member of the advisory panel. "While not all [our] terms were met, we are happy for many of the mitigations Read has committed to as their massive residential development impacts our community."

Further details about Read's revised plan were not immediately available.