Agreement reached on 77 Commercial St. development
by Andrew Shilling
Dec 24, 2013 | 1203 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With a community agreement in hand, the City Council voted to approve the project for for 77 Commercial St. last week.

Under the premise of the agreement, developers Clipper Equity LLC can now move ahead with plans to build 30 and 40-story towers at 77 Commercial St., for the assurance that the city would receive $9.5 million to fully fund Box Street Park at 65 Commercial St.

Additionally, developers also agreed to build 200 units of affordable housing, or 28 percent of the total units, for tenants between the 40 and 125 percent of area median income (AMI) rates. The agreement also includes free shuttle bus service for local residents to the 7 train at the Court Square station and the G train.

“I have heard from many Greenpointers expressing their opposition to the height and density of this project, but the open space and affordable housing needs of our community that have persisted for years also go without question,” Councilman Steve Levin said. “While this project allows for greater height, density is not added but simply moved over from next door.”

Developers also agreed to spend $11 million to relocate MTA Access-A-Ride and other vehicles and $3 million to relocate the MTA Emergency Response Unit (ERU) which are currently housed on the site of the future park.

Rich Mazur, executive director of the North Brooklyn Development Corporation, commended Levin on reaching a comprehensive arrangement that included affordable housing.

“We are very pleased that the developer has created an affordable plan acceptable for the residents of this community,” Mazur said. “This will go a long way in solving the affordable housing crisis.”

The agreement also guarantees that affordable unit renters will receive a discounted rate on the development's amenities.

“The lower income targets for the affordable housing means that more housing will be available to local residents,” said Ward Dennis, co-chair of Neighbors Allies for Good Growth (NAG). “Taken together with the benefits agreed to as part of the Greenpoint Landing actions, Greenpoint and all of north Brooklyn have a lot to be pleased with.”

Agreement components also guarantee that Clipper Equity LLC would give preference to community retail businesses over “big box” chains, and limits commercial rental space to 5,000-square-feet.

“The density and height of the 77 Commercial Street development were never things that the community asked for or wanted,” Dennis said. “But the modifications agreed to by the city and the developer of 77 Commercial Street are important steps forward in realizing two key community priorities: open space and affordable housing.”

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