in AKNA, Neighborhood

New Building on 21st

The map (left) is clipped from the NYC zoning maps 16d and 22c to show the location of the Terraces R5B district concerning the Quality Housing Apartment Building in the R7A District on the west side of East 21st Street. Zoning (Exhibit Record (I, II, III, etc.) CRFN No. 2017000, 2017001)

222 East 21st Street or 571 Ocean Avenue: In a brief look at the past work of this developer and architect, there are concerns regarding the use of materials and the lack of detailing, and the possibility that a brick façade and other contextual elements will be poorly done. If you are interested in doing some homework representing AKNA, use the Contact link.

Two reasons for compiling the following information for review so far:

  1. Do whatever AKNA can do to assure the developer and architect will produce a development that meets or exceeds Quality Housing Standards. (see below)
  2. Establish a relationship with city agencies (HPD, DoB, EPA), local organizations (FDC, CD14, CAMBA), and the City Council to encourage this result.  Why? The quality of the 21st facade is important.

Questions that need answers:

  1. Who at HPD, DoB, will be conducting reviews and inspections?
  2. Will it be 80/20 Inclusionary Housing?  The plan is for 115 Units.
  3. What is the history and reputation of the Developer and the Architect?

More detail is available below. Articles on the project  “The Real Deal”

The New Apartment Building

The reported nine-story, 115-unit mixed-use building image is misleading. Nevertheless, new housing construction will begin soon on East 21st Street through-lot between Church Avenue and Albemarle Road. Search YIMBY news for the story (here).

The project could encompass 102,800 square feet and rise 80 feet in height. The proposed community facility space provides a floor area bonus, and its 58-car parking garage meets the 50% minimum. According to filed permits (building information system), The Real Deal notes that the project’s average apartment size of 712 square feet is indicative of rentals. The reported project height of nine stores exceeds limits defined by the R7A and may be presented this way to produce the appearance of a give back to community objections. (See R7A description below)

Nevertheless, the project could add about 300 new neighbors to the area and add density. The density issue triggers the attention of watchdog allies from the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, CAMBA, and other housing advocates regarding the enforcement of housing quality standards and rental housing affordability. Worthy of digging into the final deal sometime in early 2022 after the building tops off.

According to property records, the developer Bentley Zhao bought the property (through an LLC) in March for $11.5 million. The same developer also filed plans for a nine-story condominium building in Sheepshead Bay earlier this year.

The site (picture above) is cited as a safety hazard. It contains the skeleton of an abandoned construction project. Complaints and violations date ten years and include rusted and leaning steel beams and structurally unsound fencing. According to Property Shark, active violations include working without permits and other construction violations. The site is also described as a hazardous waste generator or transporter with a site address of 571 Ocean Avenue, which would be the address and suggests the hazardous materials issue is not resolved.  Contact Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting.  A particular concern would be asbestos made airborne in site preparation.

Established in 1987, the Quality Housing Program intends to maintain the architectural character of New York City neighborhoods. The program rules concern height, bulk, lot coverage, street line, and more. Quality Housing is mandatory in contextual R6-R10 districts but only optional in non-contextual R6-R10 districts.

The city is constantly upgrading its “zoning manual” but the facts are the same in the table above. The contextual Quality Housing regulations are mandatory in this R7A district. Typically, they produce high lot coverage, seven- and eight-story apartment building, and a blending in with existing buildings in established neighborhoods. R7A districts are mapped along Prospect Park South and Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, Jackson Heights in Queens, Harlem, and the avenues in the East Village in Manhattan. (The Richard Mier building at Prospect Park?) The floor area ratio (FAR) in R7A districts is 4.0. Above a base height of 40 to 65 feet, the building must set back to a depth of 10 feet on a wide street and 15 feet on a narrow street before rising to a maximum height of 80 feet. To preserve the traditional streetscape, the street wall of a new building can be no closer to the street line than any building within 150 feet on the same block but need not be farther than 15 feet. Buildings must have interior amenities for the residents under the Quality Housing Program. Off-street parking is not allowed in front of a building. Parking is required for 50% of all dwelling units.

Corridor Floor Area Deduction

Quality Housing grants two corridor deductions from the total floor area. Section 28-14 allows a 50% deduction of corridor floor area if there is a 20 square foot window in the corridor. Section 28-31 allows a 50% deduction if the dwelling units served by the corridor are less than the allowance in the section’s table. For instance, 50% of the corridor’s floor area is deductible if a corridor serves ten units or less, offering some design flexibility trade-offs.

Recreational Floor Area Deduction

Quality Housing mandates the inclusion of recreational space as a percentage of residential floor area. For instance, R6 and R7 districts must include 3.3% of the residential floor area as a recreational area. Section 28-21 states that no more than the required amount of recreational space in the table shall be excluded from the floor area definition. Recreational areas can include space like gymnasiums, a popular building asset exempt from the floor area.

For more, see Decoder Story (here)

Other Sources (some may have been moved into digital dust ):(

The architect’s website shows some of the projects first hand and the GC that worked the buildings

Business Phone: 718-765-1122Business Fax:     718-765-0813

$43M Sheepshead Bay Condo

Bentley Zhao developed building

Zhao’s New Empire Real Estate Development also operates an EB-5 regional center.  
By Will Parker | March 30, 2017, 8:30 AM
Bentley Zhao and rendering for 2128 Ocean Avenue

Zhao filed an offering plan for a 56-unit condominium at 2128 Ocean Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, an application with the New York State Attorney General’s office shows. Zhao is shooting for a $43 million sellout of the 73,000 square-foot effort after buying the lot from Yu Xi-Liu last June for $3.9 million. The previous owners demolished a one-story garage at the site, but Zhao is yet to file new building permits.

Bentley Zhao’s New Empire

New Empire is based in Sunset Park, where Zhao also operates the New Empire EB-5 Regional Center from the company’s 3rd Avenue headquarters. The investment center’s website shows that the EB-5 portion of 2128 Ocean Avenue’s capital stack is fully funded. Details on the website reveal that unit sizes at the project will average 890 square feet and range from studios to three bedrooms. In addition to EB-5 money, New Empire obtained an $18.5 million loan from Banco Popular North America in September.

Zhao’s ambitions and current portfolio go beyond South Brooklyn, however. New Empire plans a 49-story condo tower at 131 East 47th Street in Manhattan, a 122-unit project. Demolition of 19th-century rowhouses at the site commenced last spring. SLCE Architects is designing the new building, at least partly funded with EB-5. Gary Barnett’s Extell Development sold the site to Zhao for $81 million in 2015.

New Empire is also raising EB-5 funds for a 105-unit condo in Prospect Park South, dubbed “Ocean Tower,” for a condo at 269 4th Avenue in Park Slope and a boutique, seven-unit build at 409 West 45th Street in Hell’s Kitchen.

If you have any questions, please review these Frequently Asked Questions, the Glossary, or call the 311 Citizen Service Center by dialing 311 or (212) NEW YORK outside of New York City.

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