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Developer's Affordable Housing Pledge at Rheingold Site Unclear, Pol Says

By Serena Dai | June 29, 2015 5:18pm
 Designs for a new building at 10 Monteith St., by ODA New York, features an expansive green rooftop.
Rheingold Development
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GREENPOINT — Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna said Friday that "we don't know" if the city will be able to hold the developer of the Rheingold Brewery site to its affordable housing promises.

The city only gave the site's original developer, Read Property Group, approval to build two years ago after the company promised provisions such as affordable housing and money for local schools — commitments that were not legally binding.

Read then sold part of the land to Rabsky Group, a new stakeholder that locals and elected officials said has refused to commit to building affordable housing.

"We don’t know if we’re going to be able to hold that developer accountable to promises made," Reyna said.

 Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna said at a Greenpoint Landings groundbreaking that the city is
Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna said at a Greenpoint Landings groundbreaking that the city is "challenged" with developers who may not fulfill affordable housing promises.
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

She made the comments during a groundbreaking for Greenpoint Landing, a sprawling waterfront complex featuring 5,500 units that the developer committed to making 25 percent affordable.

As Reyna commended developer Greenpoint Landing Associates for the new project, she called the Rheingold plan a "challenge" in building new affordable housing in Brooklyn.

Rabsky Group purchased 10 Monteith St. for $53 million last year and plans to build a six-story, nearly 370-unit building with such amenities as a green rooftop space and urban farming areas, according to architect ODA New York and Department of Building filings.

Current plans filed with the city do not show that Rabsky plans on adding low-income housing.

But the developer said in a statement that it has "every intention to build affordable" and insisted that it told elected officials of the plan.

"We have assured them that we will build affordable housing and we have every intention to do so,” the statement said.

Details such as how much affordable housing, or the qualifying income levels, have not yet been determined, a Rabsky spokesman said.

Still, locals said that Rabsky head Simon Dushinsky did not promise them affordable housing, nor did he or the company reach out to them after they started a petition last week demanding affordable housing promises. Reyna's comments also came after Rabsky committed to building affordable housing in a statement to The Real Deal.

Reyna was involved with negotiations with original developer Read Property Group two years ago.

Before heading to the Brooklyn borough president's office, she was Bushwick's councilwoman and represented the community when Read presented it's controversial development plans.

At the Greenpoing Landings ceremony, Reyna emphasized the need for affordable housing in the borough.

"We have to build it today, not tomorrow," she said. "We want families in Brooklyn to be living in dignified communities. We want opportunity for everyone."