Council approves Rheingold Brewery rezoning
by Andrew Shilling
Dec 17, 2013 | 1044 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Following several months of community outreach and deliberation, the City Council gave the final approval on a plan by the owners of Rheingold Brewery property owners to rezone six vacant blocks of manufacturing property near Flushing and Bushwick avenues.

With support from the local Community Board 4, Borough President Marty Markowitz and the City Planning Commission, the Read Property Group, current owners of the property, can now move forward with plans that incorporate residential and commercial space and include 70 and 80-foot towers and 977 apartments.

“It is not without significant discussion and analysis that I moved to approve this rezoning,” said Councilwoman Diana Reyna. “Few communities know the impact of unchecked development better than my own.”

With affordable housing at the root of the negotiations, the city ensured that 30 percent of the units at the 6.4-acre site would be set aside for affordable housing for resident earning 60 percent of the average median income.

“Over months of community meetings, Read has demonstrated that they are committed to responsible development, comprehensive planning, and community engagement,” Reyna said.

The agreement also includes the creation of a 17,000-square-foot public green space, $350,000 directed towards improvements of the Green Center Knoll Park, and $360,000 for nearby schools, including P.S. 120 and P.S. 145 for computer lab enhancements and urban gardening initiatives.

“We are happy with the outcome of the rezoning, especially the 30 percent affordable housing component,” said Nadine Whitted, district manager of Community Board 4.

In accordance with the agreement, construction and maintenance workers on the project must be locally hired and Read Property Group must pay $75,000 for workforce development training.

The developers have also promised not to build a hotel on the property for 15 years.

A community advisory committee will be created to ensure the terms of the agreement are properly carried out.

Bridgette Blood, a representative of the Northwest Bushwick Community Group (NWB), said the group was ultimately pleased with the final agreement.

“While not all NWB terms were met, we are happy for many of the mitigations Read has committed to as their massive residential development impacts our community,” Blood said. “Through Council member Reyna's creation of the Rheingold Advisory Panel and through NWB’s involvement in this panel process, we have become a community of residents richer in local land use and housing knowledge.”

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