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Planned Williamsburg 'Tech Hub' Could Attract More Office Development

Posted by Hannah Raissa Marfil on Feb 12, 2016 09:18 AM EST
Developer Plans Transformative Waterfront Project In Williamsburg, Brooklyn more big
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 04: New apartment buildings stand along the waterfront in the rapidly developing neighborhood of Williamsburg on April 4, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Two Trees management, which owns the closed Domino Sugar factory, has unveiled new plans for the site that will include more than half a million square feet of office space, 228,000 square feet of open space and 2,284 apartments and retail space. The plan is a continuation of the rapid development of the Williamsburg waterfront which offers Manhattan views and water taxis to other parts of New York City. (Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A planned mixed-use development set to rise in Brooklyn's Williamsburg area may eventually lead to more companies wanting to set up offices in the area.

Developers Heritage Equity Partners and Rubenstein Partners unveiled new renderings and plans for their proposed project at 25 Kent Street before the city's community board last Tuesday, Feb. 9, according to a report from DNAinfo. The massive project features a 480,000-square-foot, eight-story brick and glass office building, which will have a space for light manufacturing, as well as a ground floor retail area. The development will also include two public plazas and a pedestrian cobblestone walkway.

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To build the massive project, the two developers were requesting for a zoning code change in the Greenpoint Williamsburg Industrial Zone, as stated in the same report. This would allow them to construct office space in the neighborhood. The current zoning code in the area only permits developments of "community facilities," such as schools or medical offices.

The same report stated that the proposed project and the developer's request for a zoning change may set a precedent for future developments in the neighborhood or in similar industrial areas across Williamsburg.  Over the past decade, the city has seen clubs and hotel projects spread throughout the area. Also, Williamsburg only has a few manufacturers left and the zoning change would hopefully entice some firms to construct manufacturing space, developers Heritage and Rubenstein stated. 

However, the proposed development was met with mixed reactions from residents and officials. A few city officials, as well as some residents, voiced their support for the planned mixed-use development. On the other hand, some Williamsburg locals were concerned that it could lead to an influx of more office development in the area, according to a report from the Gothamist. Some residents claimed that the developers are using the guise of introducing more manufacturing space to Williamsburg, when in fact, the development will add an office building to the area.

This was noted by Brooklyn Community Board 1 member Trina McKeever, who commented during Tuesday's meeting that what the developers planned to build would be a "whole neighborhood of these eight-story office buildings." Attorney Ray Levin, legal representative for the project's developers, defended the massive mixed-use project and compared it to other commercial, as well as residential, developments in the area. He even described their 25 Kent Street project as the "lesser of two evils," the same report stated.

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