Bed-Stuy Block Mobilizes Against Atlantic Avenue Apartment Tower

BED-STUY, BROOKLYN – Dozens of neighbors in Bed-Stuy made one final attempt to stop a residential tower on Atlantic Avenue.

The campaign – led by the Lefferts Place Block Association – aims to stop a 17-story building behind the quiet brownstone block that local residents fear could worsen overstretched infrastructure and cause structural damage to neighboring homes.

A petition against the project had received more than 300 signatures by Wednesday, including more than 100 from local residents.

“We are a true community that is overshadowed by this monstrosity,” said Petra Kirstein, who has lived in Lefferts Place since 2000, to Patch. “I am so dissatisfied with all of these poorly built high-rise buildings that are emerging without improvements to the adjacent infrastructure and neighborhoods and are changing the character of Brownstone Brooklyn in a sad and irreversible way.”

The bloc association’s petition, launched in November, comes as a rezoning required for development that reached its final stage in the city’s review process last month. The complex, which was to house 426 apartments, received the approval of the city council, the town planning commission and the conditional support of the local council.

A major reason for their refusal, however, is that the neighbors were not questioned about the building during the inspection.

“These zoning changes were quietly enforced without bringing them directly to the seriously affected parishioners,” said a letter to Councilor Robert Cornegy Jr.

Block Association president Andre Parker told Patch that he reached out to the community council after first hearing about the proposal in February and has since contacted elected officials, both with no response.

When asked about communicating with neighbors, developer representatives, Totem, referred to five public meetings and hearings held during the review process and five pre-review meetings with the community board.

“We are proud that 1045 Atlantic Avenue has been a collaborative venture developed over the past two years in partnership with the community, community council, city planners, locally elected officials, and our partners at Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation and the St. Nicks Alliance said a spokesman.

With the petition, the neighbors of Lefferts Place are hoping the developers will sign several demands, including guaranteeing the properties will not be compromised by construction, funding improvements to a community garden, and working with the city to provide local transport, especially the elevated Franklin Avenue subway station, to improve.

Neighbors say they have struggled with piles of rubbish and broken light poles near the elevated train and the corner bus stop for years.

“With all these buildings going on, this bus stop is going to have more people and more problems,” Block Association president Andre Parker told Patch, referring to other recent developments at Lefferts Place and the damage to a nearby house on Franklin Avenue that was suffered during another local construction project.

Totem told Patch that they plan to “minimize disruption” to neighbors while the building is under construction. An environmental impact assessment carried out by the city showed that the project will have no significant negative impact on the surrounding area.

“… As required by law and in line with our values, and we look forward to continuing the ongoing dialogue to ensure this project is an example of what responsive, community-centered development can achieve,” said a totem- Speaker.

The Atlantic Avenue building will include 126 affordable homes, a mix of retail and office space, and will be Bed-Stuy’s first all-electric project.

Cornegy did not respond to a request for comment from Patch on the Atlantic Avenue project, although he recently penned a comment with Totem co-founder Tucker Reed pointing to the development as a success story in dealing with the city’s housing crisis.

“These entities were created without a single public dollar of subsidy,” the comment said. “Changing the text on a zone map has opened up a life-changing opportunity for more than 100 local families.”

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