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Council Approves Plan for Affordable Building on City-Owned Lot in Bed-Stuy

By Noah Hurowitz | August 25, 2017 5:51pm | Updated on August 28, 2017 8:52am
 A rendering shows plans for 1618 Fulton St., an affordable building that will include ground-floor retail.
A rendering shows plans for 1618 Fulton St., an affordable building that will include ground-floor retail.
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DNAinfo/Noah Hurowitz

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — The City Council on Thursday approved a proposal to merge three city-owned lots with two private lots for the construction of an affordable-housing development in Bed-Stuy, according to a spokesman for Councilman Robert Cornegy.

The vote on the  development, an 11-story, mixed-use building that will include 103 residential units and ground-floor retail at 1618 Fulton St. between Troy Avenue and Marcus Garvey Boulevard, was one of the final hurdles for the plans making it through the city's Uniform Land-Use Review Procedure, or ULURP, which was required because the site includes city-owned land.

The developer has also pledged to offer leases for four 1,000-square-foot commercial spaces in the building, with a preference going to small business owners in the neighborhood, according to Cornegy, who secured the promise from the developer in a letter.

“For the first time we have attained a commitment from a developer for the inclusion of space for the very small, local businesses that make Bedford-Stuyvesant unique,” Cornegy said in a statement on Wednesday ahead of the Council vote.

The project will include a total of 13,236 feet of commercial space, and Cornegy sought the smaller spaces for local businesses in an effort to avoid the space falling into the hands of one large retailer, he said.

“Too often, new developments push small business owners out of their communities by creating commercial spaces that are realistic accommodation for big box retailers only.”

The building is the work of a joint partnership of BFC Partners and SMJ Development, who pledged the four below-market leases in a letter to Cornegy, and the developers will work with Cornegy, Community Board 3, and the Bed-Stuy Gateway Business Improvement District to find tenants for the smaller leases and find ways to tailor the leases to the needs of small-business owners, according to SMJ Development principal Juan Barahona

“I’m writing this letter to affirm SMJ’s commitment to provide affordable and sustainable commercial leasing opportunities to local and/or minority/women owned businesses at the referenced location,” Barahona said in the letter to Cornegy.

The planned building will include units for low to middle-income tenants, with leases for tenants with incomes ranging from 60 percent to 130 percent of the area median income.

The lots on which the project is set to rise are currently home to a vacant three-story building and a vacant one-story building that was previously home to a laundromat. 

A representative of the developers did not immediately respond to a request for information about when they expect to break ground and when the project is expected to be complete, but so far no permits have been filed for the demolition of the existing buildings or for the construction of the new one, records show.