- A Brooklyn, New York-based developer has come under fire from some local residents over its plans to build a 74-story, 1,000-foot-tall residential mixed-use complex near the borough's iconic Victorian homes and brownstone communities, according to Architectural Record.
- Alloy Development's plans for the 80 Flatbush project also include a 38-story structure, two new schools and the conversion of two 19th century buildings into cultural centers. Alloy wants the area rezoned so that it can triple the allowable floor area ratio (FAR). However, at a recent land-use hearing, some Brooklynites and activists threatened to scuttle the project because of its size and high-density components, too few school seats, only 200 residential units designated affordable out of 900 planned, and the stress on local services and transit.
- Alloy made changes to the development's design – such as replacing some glass with masonry and adjusting setbacks – in response to previous complaints, but critics maintain that the high-density projects that are par for the course in Manhattan aren't a good fit with the existing low-rise, small-scale style of some Brooklyn neighborhoods. There are additional hearings and meetings scheduled during the next several months, where those in favor of the project and those against it are expected to continue the fight.
Even though Manhattan residents might be more accepting of high-density developments, efforts to change zoning regulations for some projects aren't slam dunks in New York City.
An attempt at rezoning Manhattan's Inwood neighborhood, for example, has been met with resistance from residents who are skeptical of the initiative. Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration is behind the plan, according to City Limits, which aims to increase investment in the area, create a comprehensive zoning framework, and provide more market-rate and affordable housing. Critics of the proposal have argued that the changes will lead to gentrification of black and Hispanic neighborhoods and see redevelopment that will force small businesses out of the area.
Often at the core of housing discussions in Manhattan and other densely populated urban areas is that luxury residential developments come with higher rents that locals can't afford. And while the projects often include a mandated affordable housing component, those units are snapped up quickly and aren't typically numerous enough to meet the neighborhood's needs.
As live-work-play developments in urban areas become more popular for baby boomers and millennials alike, the character of established and culturally-diverse neighborhoods are changing, as working-class residents often find themselves looking for lower-cost housing options away from city cores.