The City Council’s Committee on Land Use approved a rezoning for Rabsky Group’s redevelopment of former Pfizer pharmaceutical facilities in Williamsburg.
According to a report in Politico, the proposal passed the committee with a 17-4 vote on Wednesday. Steve Levin, the Council member representing the district that includes the site, voted in favor of the rezoning.
The vote followed a Tuesday deal Rabsky made with the zoning subcommittee members, committing 60 percent of the project’s nearly 300 affordable apartments to one- and two-bedroom units. Despite this, Council member Antonio Reynoso remained strongly against it. He previously said that rezonings in Brooklyn had “a devastating effect on the Latino community.”
Rabsky plans to build a total of 1,146 apartments across eight buildings at the site. The affordable component is a requirement of the city’ Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program.
Some residents in the area worried that, given Rabsky Group principal Simon Dushinsky’s background, the new project’s apartments would only be rented out to Hasidic Jews.
Levin has tried to ease racial tensions. “People really truly need affordable housing in both communities … both the Jewish community and the Latino community in Williamsburg,” he told Politico earlier this month. “They’re both feeling the squeeze from an influx of hipsters or Yuppies or people like myself who moved to Williamsburg in the last 20 years and have driven rent up both on the Latino side of Broadway and the Hasidic side of Broadway.”