Despite a proposal to restrict height requirements on new developments, a New York City community group is pushing for more—not less—mixed-use and multifamily development.
A decade ago, the Brooklyn waterfront along the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges underpass featured abandoned warehouses and industrial sites. But residential rezoning in 1998 brought in a thriving arts community. Today, DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is one of New York's toniest neighborhoods, with new condos and commercial space.
Now DUMBO is up for more rezoning, and the DUMBO Neighborhood Association (DNA) is asking the Department of City Planning (DCP) to increase the rezoning from 12 to 25 blocks, a move that could bring approximately 1,000 new residential units online. The catch? New development would be restricted in height to seven stories to reflect the architectural “character of the community,” says DNA spokesperson Doreen Gallo.
That puts Brooklyn-based Two Trees Management—one of the area's largest property owners—in a sticky spot. If the city adopts the DNA's zoning increase, Two Trees would have to cancel or modify its plans to build an 18-story condo high-rise in the area.
Whichever plan is adopted, the re-zoning “couldn't happen at a more perfect time,” says Tucker Reed, executive director for the DUMBO Improvement District, a community development organization not associated with the DNA. “We'll [be able] to pay closer attention to implementing sustainability [here],” Reed says.
DCP spokesperson Jennifer Torres says the rezoning proposals “are in the beginning stages and will involve a full dialogue with all stakeholders.” She estimates adoption will likely take another 12 to 16 months.