Concern over luxe high rise in Prospect Lefferts Gardens
by Jason Cohen
Dec 24, 2013 | 770 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brenda Edwards speaks at last week's press conference.
Brenda Edwards speaks at last week's press conference.
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Close to 50 residents from Prospect Lefferts Gardens gathered Thursday morning on Chester Court to voice their concerns about a proposed 23-story luxury high rise at 626 Flatbush Avenue.

Community members described the building as out of character for the neighborhood.

Currently, there is a vacant parking lot and a two-story building, which the developer plans to turn into an apartment building where rents will be between $1,900 and $2,000 for a studio apartment.

The building would be almost twice as high as any other building on or near the perimeter of the Prospect Park. Buildings that tall are not permitted under zoning regulations in other neighborhoods that border Prospect Park, including Park Slope, Windsor Terrace and Kensington.

With help from WilmerHale and Legal Services NYC, neighbors have filed a lawsuit to halt construction. The lawsuit against developer Hudson Companies Incorporated and other defendants contends that more than $72 million in public funds were approved for the development without a proper environmental impact study that is required by state law.

The Prospect Park East Network (PPEN), a group organized to fight the development, is not opposed to new construction, but wants any development to be contextual and respectful of the existing architecture and neighborhood, which is racially diverse and primarily middle class.

PPEN member Brenda Edwards, who has lived on Chester Court for 15 years, said she is deeply concerned about the proposed building.

“We are in this community because we love the way it is,” she said.

The group is supported by the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, the Flatbush Development Corporation, the Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association (PLGNA) and six individual community residents.

Derrick Edwards said one of the reasons he and his family moved to Chester Court four years ago was so they could see the sunshine in their window each morning. However, with a 23-story building staring them in the face, the sun will be non-existent.

Edwards, who gives tours in the neighborhood, said when he tells people about the proposed building, they say “oh no, it will destroy the neighborhood.”

“If they’re able to see that after 40 minutes of being here, then I think that’s something as New Yorkers, who have years of experience of being here, need to look at and realize the harm it can do,” Edwards said.
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