NYC Unveils Plans for 4,000 New Apartments in Central Brooklyn

Several industrial blocks along Atlantic Avenue are set for a rezoning to allow for residential buildings as tall as 18 floors

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A long-neglected industrial stretch of Brooklyn that runs through Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Prospect Heights may soon be getting more housing. 

After nearly a year of community meetings, the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) on Wednesday put forth tentative plans to rezone the area and make way for 4,000 units of new housing. If built, roughly 1,200 of those apartments would be income-restricted because of the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which applies to any city rezoning. 

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The 13-block stretch of Atlantic Avenue — along with pieces of Grand, Classon and Franklin avenues — is zoned for heavy industrial uses, which has led to a mix of abandoned buildings, small industrial businesses and converted lofts. Over the last 15 years, a number of developers have been granted spot rezonings to develop residential buildings in the area, and DCP is currently shepherding a few more buildings through the process. 

“With this zoning framework and investments in affordable housing, open space and more, we are delivering the improvements that our neighbors who participated in the Atlantic Avenue Mixed-Use Plan engagement process have been asking for,” DCP Director Dan Garodnick said in a statement. “For too long, outdated zoning has restricted housing opportunity and reinforced a car- and truck-centric streetscape on Atlantic Avenue. This is an important step forward to create a more vibrant Central Brooklyn.”

The new zoning would allow relatively dense, 18-story apartment buildings along Atlantic Avenue, with significant amounts of retail and community facilities. The side streets between Grand and Franklin avenues — which include Pacific, Dean and Bergen streets — could get 12-story residential buildings with retail space, or more modest six- to 10-story commercial buildings.

The Bedford Atlantic Armory, one of the city’s largest men’s shelters, sits at the corner of Bedford and Atlantic avenues and has long been a point of contention in Crown Heights. The landmarked property would be upzoned to denser industrial zoning, so that the city could expand the building to allow for other community uses.

Finally, this rezoning encompasses a cluster of lots along Dean and Bergen streets and Flatbush Avenue, next to Atlantic Terminal. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development owns two lots there, one of which is set to become supportive and affordable housing for seniors at 542 Dean Street. A third lot owned by Acacia Network at 1134 Pacific Street is also slated affordable housing.

The city also announced a $23.5 million commitment to renovate St. Andrew’s Playground, a popular playground and basketball court along Atlantic Avenue between Kingston Avenue and St. Andrews Place. Neighbors have also demanded street and bike lane improvements in the area, particularly along Atlantic Avenue, which suffers from heavy traffic and being underneath the dark, elevated Long Island Rail Road tracks. 

City planning officials hope to kick off the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) for the rezoning sometime next spring. 

“In the midst of a severe housing shortage, New York City must use every inch of space it can to create new homes and invest in communities across the city,” said Mayor Eric Adams in a statement about the plan. “I represented this community for more than a decade as a state senator and as Brooklyn borough president, and now as mayor, and I’ve fought for these kinds of investments throughout my career.”