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Rose Castle Development Gets OK From Bed-Stuy Community Board and Boro Prez

By Camille Bautista | January 13, 2017 4:30pm | Updated on January 16, 2017 7:00am
 If approved, the proposed rezoning of lots on Flushing and Franklin avenues would bring two new residential buildings to the area, one of which would replace the Rose Castle catering venue.
If approved, the proposed rezoning of lots on Flushing and Franklin avenues would bring two new residential buildings to the area, one of which would replace the Rose Castle catering venue.
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DNAinfo/Camille Bautista

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The proposed rezoning of two Bedford-Stuyvesant sites to bring 296 new apartments to the neighborhood received the green light from the local community board and the borough president — albeit with their own recommendations.

Riverside Developers USA Inc. plans to build two new apartment buildings on Flushing and Franklin avenues with an eight-story, mixed-used property and a six-story residential building, according to the proposal.

The two sites would have a total of 88 affordable units.

In order to move forward, developers would need to rezone portions of the two-block area between Kent Avenue and Skillman Street. The properties are currently zoned as a manufacturing district, which doesn’t allow for residential use.

After an inconclusive vote from Brooklyn’s Community Board 3, board members voted again this month to support the developer’s application with their own suggestions.

The full board gave a thumbs up to the project, also known as Rose Castle, with 24 members voting in favor of approving it, four against and one abstention.

During last month’s meeting, locals expressed worries that the apartments would not cater to longtime residents and would not be affordable for the current community.

But the proposal passed with ease the second time around compared to December’s close vote, which was 18 in favor and 17 against with two abstentions.

“The reason it passed is because we added some stipulations that we feel we have a reasonable chance of getting amended or getting put into the ULURP [Uniform Land Use Review Procedure] application,” said CB3 Chair Richard Flateau.

“The first time around they weren’t as in depth and there weren’t as many. I think board members felt that it was a more powerful package and also we had a better shot of getting our changes to the project.”

Prior to the vote, community board representatives voiced their concerns to Councilman Stephen Levin, who represents the affected area, Flateau added.

Levin did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In their Jan. 9 vote, the community board recommended that the rezoning be approved with the following recommendations:

► Developers consider making 25 percent of the units affordable at a lower income range — 60 percent area median income, or $48,960 for a three-person family. Currently, the proposal makes 30 percent of the units permanently affordable, but to those with incomes averaging 80 percent or below the AMI, which is $62,250 for a family of three.

► Developers will choose a local nonprofit group to market the affordable housing.

► Preserve the existing character of buildings along Flushing Avenue by reducing the proposed rezoning from R7A to R6A, which would limit the building height.

► Disclose the principals and owners of Riverside Developers USA Inc., since the community board has not had the opportunity to meet with them, only representatives.

“We just want to make sure it’s an inclusive project, and that all members of the community will be able to benefit, as well as the developer,” Flateau said.

Following the community board’s advisory vote, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams submitted his suggestions for the project.

Adams agreed with CB3’s recommendations on affordability levels and local nonprofit involvement and asked that the developer consider incorporating bioswales and solar panels at the sites.

The borough president also suggested retaining Brooklyn-based contractors, particularly minority and women-owned businesses.

In a letter to Borough Hall, Zelig Weiss, president of Riverside Developers USA Inc., committed to giving preference in bidding for construction contracts to local and minority and women owned businesses, as well as hiring from the community for available positions, among other considerations.

The project will now go before the City Planning Commission for review, followed by a City Council decision.

The CPC is set to discuss the Rose Castle rezoning at a Jan. 18 public hearing at 10 a.m. at 22 Reade St. in Manhattan.