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A Contentious Brooklyn Development

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Alloy Development’s new project, located at 80 Flatbush Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, has received a lot of attention from the community. Alloy has created plans to develop 900 apartments, two schools, and office and commercial retail space. The project is situated in an ideal place for commuters as it is within walking distance of four subways stops. Alloy targeted the location to fill a public infrastructure need in the area. Jared Della Valle, the CEO of Alloy, explained to Curbed how “Downtown Brooklyn has been growing quickly but there hasn’t been a lot of public infrastructure … This is an opportunity to be critical of what’s built and its specific context.”[1]

The 900 apartments and 200,000 square foot of office space will be a big undertaking for Alloy as it expands across the entire block and must preserve the 1860 Civil War infirmary, in addition to other historic structures on the site. Currently the Khalil Gibran International Academy is housed in the Civil War infirmary, which Alloy plans to transform into a 15,000 square-foot cultural facility while preserving the style of the landmark. Alloy also needs to incorporate its plans around the 19th century building on the site, which will be used for retail space.

The two schools, including Khalil Gibran International Academy, will collectively have space for 700 elementary students. Alloy is partnering up with the Educational Construction Fund, which “encourages comprehensive neighborhood development by constructing mixed-use real estate projects which feature new school facilities.”[2]  The schools will be funded entirely by the revenue generated by the project as opposed to receiving funding from the city. “[R]evenue created by the non-school portions of the project will pay for the bonds floated by the state to build the schools.”[3]

Critics in the community are weary that Alloy will fail to maintain the integrity and structure of the historic buildings and the character of the neighborhood, but the developers have cautiously preserved the site’s history. The President of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, Peg Breen, explains: “This project shows that development and preservation can work together and that investing in historic buildings makes economic sense.”[4]However, the community and organizations such as Community Board 2, are opposing plans for the two skyscrapers, particularly one that will reach 986 feet and be the second tallest building in Brooklyn. During a meeting at the end of April, critics voiced their concerns that the “project is wildly out of the character with those brownstone Brooklyn neighborhoods, and would cast shadow over neighboring homes and landmarks”.[5] Additionally, the community is concerned how spot rezoning enables gentrification in the neighborhood. For now, the City Council is hearing these concerns as Alloy goes through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for approval.

The project is expected to be completed by 2025.

[1] Rosenberg, Zoe. (April 3, 2018) “Massive Downtown Brooklyn Project Will Include 900 Apartments, Schools, Cultural Space.” Curbed. Available at:  Accessed on May 2, 2018.

[2] NYC Department of Education. Educational Construction Fund. Available at: Accessed on May 2, 2018.

[3] Op. Cit. n1.

[4] Op. Cit. n1.  

[5] Plitt, Amy. (May 1, 2018) “Brooklyn’s 80 Flatbush Is At The Center Of Competing Community Interests.” Curbed.Available at: Accessed on May 2, 2018.

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