Following the announcement that a community benefits agreement (CBA) was finalized for a new, 14-story mixed-use housing development at 737 Fourth Ave. in Sunset Park, elected officials gave their opinions.
The CBA was signed between development firm TOTEM and four local organizations: the Fifth Avenue Committee, the Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations and Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow.
A virtual information session about the project was held on Thursday, March 3 for area residents.
Councilmember Carlos Menchaca, who represents the area, said that it was important for Sunset Park residents to speak on the proposal. He also complimented Community Board 7’s leadership on the rezoning issue.
“TOTEM is willing to follow the community’s lead,” Menchaca said. “Developers rarely codify community board recommendations into a contract, let alone translate and make them public. Moving forward, the City Council will revisit this proposal in mid-March, when it comes before the Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises for a vote, I will continue talking to constituents before making a final decision.”
Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes has been less optimistic about the rezoning proposal.
“The Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) program has been widely criticized for failing to provide meaningful affordable housing, and instead, adding to the market pressures that have been gentrifying low-income communities,” she said. “The 737 4th Avenue project reflects the inadequacy of the program.”
She added that, “Only a small fraction of units will be made affordable through the city’s MIH program. In contrast, this proposal will bring an additional 100 unaffordable housing units into Sunset Park, units that will not be, in any shape or form, accessible to our working-class families.”
In November 2020, CB 7 approved the proposal. Later, it was also approved by Borough President Eric Adams and the City Planning Commission.
According to TOTEM, the project will include 14 stories of residential units, about 25 percent of which are slated to be permanently affordable at an average of 46 percent of average median income (AMI). This means that of the 134 apartments in total, 33 would be set aside as affordable.