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Developer Seeks Rezoning to Build 9-Story Affordable Housing Complex

 A nine-story, 94-unit building of affordable housing will replace this parking lot on Bedford Avenue and Pacific Street if developers are approved by the city to rezone the lot.
A nine-story, 94-unit building of affordable housing will replace this parking lot on Bedford Avenue and Pacific Street if developers are approved by the city to rezone the lot.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

CROWN HEIGHTS — Developers want permission to build higher on a Bedford Avenue lot they plan to turn into a 94-unit affordable housing complex under the mayor’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, according to a project application recently reviewed by the city.

The Newark-based affordable housing group Bedford Arms LLC, a subsidiary of Essex Plaza Management, is looking to build a nine-story apartment building on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Pacific Street. That lot is currently a parking lot used by tenants of an adjacent 6-story apartment building also owned and operated by the company, the zoning application says.

All of the Crown Heights building’s 94 units would be affordable, the developers said. Forty-eight of the units would be set aside for residents making 80 percent or less of the area median income (AMI), or, $72,500 or less a year for a family of four, according to calculations set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The other 46 units would be reserved for residents making no more than 130 percent of the AMI, which comes out to $117,780 or less a year for a family of four, federal guidelines say.


The developers are hoping the city approves two zoning changes to allow more density and a higher building on the lot: rezoning the area from R6A to R7D and including the project in a Mandatory Inclusionary Housing area, which would take advantage of the mayor’s year-old affordable housing initiative to spur affordable housing construction.

Current zoning on the lot allows for a maximum building height of 70 feet, or approximately seven stories, the application says. If the land use changes are approved, the building would be allowed to rise to a maximum of 100 feet, or approximately 10 stories.

In addition to the zoning changes, the developer is asking the city to waive requirements for parking spaces for the existing building on adjacent the lot, the application says. The new building will include 23 off-street parking spaces according to a first report by the New York YIMBY website.

The Department of City Planning has reviewed and last week certified the application as complete, the agency and developer said. That move has now begun the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), a citywide process by which all zoning changes must be approved by local community boards, the City Council and the mayor.

Community Board 8 in Crown Heights is set to review the application at a Feb. 2 committee meeting, according to CB8 and Bedford Arms attorney Stuart Beckerman, who prepared the zoning application.

“The developer has provided affordable housing in New York City for over 40 years,” he said, including at the existing six-story building at 1350 Bedford Ave., converted to affordable housing by the developers in 1980.

“The proposed project, which includes the existing Section 8 building, will provide 172 units of much needed affordable housing to the neighborhood,” he added.

Approval for the project through ULURP will happen no earlier than August of this year, he said.

The development is the second project in the neighborhood to take advantage of the MIH program since its creation. In southern Crown Heights, the developer of two former laundry facilities are looking to build two 16-story towers under the affordable housing initiative, pending city approval.

The goal of the MIH program is to help build 80,000 new affordable housing units over 10 years, Mayor Bill de Blasio has said, as part of the mayor's larger Housing New York initiative. The mayor said earlier this month that, in 2016, more new units of affordable housing were created in the city than in any year since 1989.