In a contentious hearing, City Council members pressed the developers of the Domino Sugar factory project on the Williamsburg waterfront to explain how many market-rate and affordable-rental units it was planning to build.
Two Trees Management developer Jed Walentas acknowledged that the numbers were not yet final, but that the project is likely to include up to 2,300 market-rate apartments, with as many as 700 affordable units. He said that 537,000 square feet of the 2.2 million square feet of residential space would be devoted to below market-rate apartments.
But Brooklyn Councilman Steve Levin said that based on an analysis the developer's other housing projects, the total number could be as high as 3,000 total units of housing, which he argued would bring added stress on the neighborhood's over-taxed infrastructure, as well as call into question whether a sufficient portion of the project was affordable.
During Tuesday's hearing of the Council's zoning subcommittee, Mr. Walentas was asked to justify his estimates of the total number of rental units that he plans to build. Mr. Levin argued that after examining similar projects built by Two Trees, and based on the total amount of space allotted for residential development, a larger number of apartments could ultimately be built.
"By my calculations, Two Trees could build in their market-rate component somewhere between 2,100 and 2,300 market rate units," he said. "You add to that the 660 or 700 affordable units, and it's closer to 3,000 units that could be developed in the project. And that's a major source of concern for me."
He continued, "Because you're unwilling to commit to a unit-size breakdown of your market rate, and you're unwilling to cap it at 2,300 units, I'm concerned that the opportunity is there, and the math bears it out, for a development that is much closer to 3,000 units than 2,000 units, and that's a major source of concern for me."
It's ok, Steve! Under DeBlasio, developers can build as big as they want if they even mention "affordable housing". Go with the "progressive" flow!