WILLIAMSBURG — The public can now weigh in on a colossal apartment complex plan that could transform the long-neglected Broadway Triangle area with public green space and retail rentals.
Williamsburg-based developer the Rabsky Group began the public review process this week to turn two blocks of vacant land at 200 Harrison St. into an eight-building, 1,146-apartment mega-development that includes 859 market rate apartments and 287 subsidized apartments.
One hundred and fifteen of the subsidized apartments would go to families making around $38,000 a year, while another 172 would be set aside for families earning around $57,000 for a family of four, according to rules set forth under the city's Mandatory Inclusionary Housing.
While earlier plans included as many as 344 subsidized apartments, the Rabsky Group is planning to set aside 25 percent of their apartments — or 287 — as affordable housing for lower-income New Yorkers, rather than the 30 percent at a higher income bracket available to them under the city's MIH plan.
The early phases of the rezoning process last fall sparked public outrage, with protesters shutting down a series of public meetings about the development.
Their concerns stem from the troubled history at the Broadway Triangle, an area of Williamsburg bordered by Broadway, Union and Flushing avenues. Development on several city-owned properties there have stalled because of a pending civil rights lawsuit that charges the 2009 rezoning promoted segregation and favored the Hasidic community to the detriment of blacks and Latinos nearby.
Advocates and local city councilman Antonio Reynoso argue that the city should settle the lawsuit and come up with a plan for the whole Broadway Triangle area before any more individual properties are rezoned, though the city has maintained that the Rabsky Group has the right to propose a rezoning of the property it owns.
Further stoking the rage of community advocates, owners Simon Dushinsky and Isaac Rabinowitz of the Rabsky Group have a checkered history in north Brooklyn, in particularly in Bushwick, at the former Rheingold brewery site where they're currently developing another large complex.
Reynoso and community advocates there say the Rabsky Group has failed to live up to commitments made by an earlier property owner on the number of affordable apartments they're building.
Now that the city has certified the Rabsky Group's plan for the Pfizer site, Community Board 1 has two months to hold a public hearing on the project and write a recommendation.
No date has been set for that hearing.