The development site is currently occupied by a McDonalds and parking spaces. Photo: Google Maps.

An 18-story development slated for Prospect Heights is one step closer to being approved – despite community board opposition – after it passed through the City Council Land Use Committee this week.

The controversial building, planned for 840 Atlantic Avenue, will now go to the full City Council for a vote, Brooklyn Paper reports.

The development hasn’t had smooth sailing to get to this point; it was sent back to developers earlier this year so it could be reduced in size after it was rejected numerous times by Community Board 8’s Land Use Committee and Borough President Eric Adams.

Criticism included dangers posed by building a dense mixed-use building between two busy thoroughfares, and that the plans did not align with the M-Crown rezoning.

The new plan approved by the City Council Land Use Committee is 10% smaller than the original plan, but also reduces the number of affordable houses that will be provided. However, the affordable houses that will be provided will be done so at cheaper lever; the apartments will go to families that fall into option 3 of the City’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, which amounts to earning around $31,000 for a family of three.

Despite the downsized plans and Community Board 8’s Land Use Committee’s support, the full community board did not approve the plans.

According to Brooklyn Paper, opponents at the meeting said that the project was a rush-job by Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, whose term ends at the end of 2021. Brooklyn Paper reports that Cumbo brokered a meeting between development company Atlantic-Vanderbilt Holdings LLC and the committee members, which lead to the approval of the new plan. Cumbo was not present at those meetings, the paper reports.

“Those market-rate unaffordable units are the key drivers of gentrification, in just bleeding out Black people from the community and people of color,” State Sen. Jabari Brisport said.

“This does seem like something that’s being railroaded through by the developer and the current councilwoman.”

City Council Land Use Chair Francisco Moya indicated Cumbo’s support in a statement provided at Sept. 10 meeting, saying: “840 Atlantic Avenue presents a rare opportunity to secure truly affordable housing and an affordable long term home for the beloved arts organizations and job-generating commercial space on a site that is currently home to only a parking lot and fast food restaurant.”

The plans will now be voted on by the full City Council, before being sent to the mayor for final approval.


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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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  1. ok cool for the extreme low income units, but what about people and individuals who earn 50,000 and up to 60,000 this to is low income

  2. and what about having some open space for the community the McDonalds and parking lot is a go to for the community. I am sick of developers building glass behemoths with 10% affordable housing. They have totally seduced our city planning into thinking more tall buildings are better. Ridiculous, tell everyone go live in Hudson Yards and let our neighborhoods have some air and sky, and landmarks like that McDonalds. We need gathering space, open space too.

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