NAG/GWAPP on 77 Commercial Street

At tonight’s Community Board 1 hearing on the proposed transfer air rights from 65 Commercial Street, NAG has joined with GWAPP in issuing the following comments:

In the previous ULURP hearing regarding Greenpoint Landing, we highlighted the broken promises and unfulfilled potential of the 2005 Waterfront Rezoning Agreement (WRA) and recommended modifications to that ULURP request that, at very least, guaranteed the delivery of the parks and affordable housing that the community has been waiting 8 years for.

In this application regarding 77 Commercial Street the issues for the community are even more pointedly about the lack of the city’s follow-through on the WRA.

The additional height and bulk being requested is offensive to many in the community because it is so completely out of context with the surrounding neighborhood. But, the inevitability of taller, bigger buildings was implicit in the WRA’s description of the sale of air rights from 65 Commercial Street to a contiguous property. That’s what air rights do – they sell to the adjacent landowner the right to build bigger and higher than they ordinarily would be allowed.

Our issues with this action don’t really concern the developer or the development per se. They are about the city failing to deliver on promises that were intended to protect and enhance, at some minimal level, the quality of life of the people who live in this community.

What the community must demand in this ULURP action is that the City deliver all the promised elements of the 2005 WRA:

  • 200 units of affordable housing
  • The removal of the MTA and the ERB from 65 Commercial Street (Currently, the City says they have a commitment to move the MTA but no timetable for moving the ERB. After 8 years, that is not acceptable.)
  • Restore the $14.5 million (in 2005 dollars) in funding that was promised in the 2005 WRA to build the park at 65 Commercial Street
  • Explain how the air rights for 65 Commercial, which were appraised at $12m 8 years ago have now been sold for 25% less in the midst of one of the hottest real estate markets in the country.
  • Restore the $10m (from the WRA) that was to be earmarked for something called the Greenpoint Williamsburg Affordable Housing and Infrastructure Fund. We recommend that this money be invested $5m in a comprehensive study and action plan for infrastructure, including transportation, and $5m in a Tenant Displacement Fund to provide legal assistance and other resources to displaced families in Greenpoint.
  • Build the promised park at 65 Commercial Street.

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