UPDATE: Lightstone Group Approved To Build 'As Of Right'

NYC's Department of City Planning has given the developer a green light.

The New York City Planning Commission today approved The Lightstone Group's 700-unit, all-rental residential development at 363-365 Bond Street, according to a release by the developer.

"Today's decision will allow The Lightstone Group to move forward in constructing a high-quality, environmentally-responsible residential complex that will further enliven this vibrant neighborhood," said David Lichtenstein, Chairman & CEO of The Lightstone Group. "We view this development as an enormous opportunity to transform a neglected waterfront resource into a lively component of a thriving residential community with an abundant cultural and recreational life."

The City Planning Commission approved Lightstone's plans on an 'as-of-right' basis, given the site's initial zoning in 2009. This approach was taken after multiple attempts to receive approval from Community Board 6 using a minor-modifications process were met with pushback.

According to Lightstone's release, the as-of-right design approved by the Commission is very similar to the Minor Modification design.

"It has the same massing along Bond Street and along the western portions of First and Second Streets, exactly the same floor area and uses (521,279 square feet of residential space, 2,617 square feet of retail and 2,247 square feet of community facility space)," noted the developer.

Likewise, the plan calls for the same 700 units, including 140 affordable apartments that were featured in the Minor Modification design.

While Lightstone Group delivered the news with a celebratory release, not all in the Gowanus area were happy to hear the announcement.

“In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I continue to believe it is a mistake to move forward with dense, high-rise, residential development without a comprehensive plan for infrastructure and land use regulations that Gowanus needs,” stated City Councilmember Brad Lander.

However, the release provided to Patch by Lightstone representative Ethan Geto stated that there are at least a handful of post-Sandy preparations being undertaken by the developer:

Adhering to the new post-Hurricane Sandy advisory FEMA maps, the height of the lowest occupied floors will be raised to over two feet above the new 100-year floodplain (which is approximately one-and-a-half feet above the project's previously­ planned height) and one foot above the Hurricane Sandy flood level. In addition, mechanical equipment, HVAC and electrical systems will be located above the floodplain.

Stay with Patch for updates.

Residents of Gowanus, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope were surprised to learn at the end of last week that City Planning has placed the contentious Lightstone project on its agenda for a meeting on Monday, March 18 at 1 p.m.

According to multiple sources, Lightstone Group has abandoned the minor modification approval it was seeking for its 700-unit project on Bond Street and now plans to move forward with building "as of right" since the developer inherited the site's existing zoning from its previous owner. That zoning was placed prior to the Gowanus Canal being designated as a Superfund site, however, and well before Hurricane Sandy flooded the area.

The meeting will take place at Spector Hall, 22 Reade Street, in Manhattan. The public are welcome to attend, but no comments will be accepted.

Stay with Patch for updates.

Joanne Bernardo March 19, 2013 at 09:04 PM
I agree with Brad Lander. This is a mistake. It will not enhance the neighborhood, just cause further overcrowding. Welcome to CG suckers! Hope you have no plans for a child to attend public school, parking a car on the street (assuming there is 200 or so spaces within the complex) or any kind of grocery shopping that doesn't involve Fresh Direct, Whole Foods or any other gourmet shopping! Oh and buy flood insurance and get a good exterminator. Just a warning!
Ann Sisto-Stuto April 02, 2013 at 10:28 PM
You said a mouth full!


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