Although currently home to just an empty lot, 176 Woodward has been the focal point of community discussion and debate since plans to construct an 88-unit luxury mixed-use building on the site were proposed last year.
The Community Board supported a change of zoning for the property from manufacturing to a mixed use in mid-2014 so a combination of residential and commercial use could be built on the site.
Councilman Antonio Reynoso was initially opposed to the project until developer Slate Property Group agreed to allocate affordable housing within the building. The project continued on to the City Council with his support and the site, along with adjacent properties were granted a zoning change in August.
However, the project was stalled when the developer deemed costs of implementing affordable housing too great. In light of the developer’s change of heart, Paul Kerzner, president of the Ridgewood Property Owners Association and member of CB5, proposed that the zoning revert back to its former manufacturing status.
“The owner seems quite happy to have lived with the junkyard for 25 years,” said board member John Meier. “It seems we have voted to basically give him $20 million worth of value to his property.”
The residential zoning status has indeed made the land more valuable. The asking price for the land is $33 million, up from the $10 to $12 million price it was originally appraised for, according to Kerzner.
“This is the first time in the 44 years I’ve been on the Zoning and Land Use Committee that we have seen an applicant take a piece of property after we have given them the relief they’re seeking, and flip it,” he said. “That is a very bad precedent.
“I’ve seen too often, especially in Brooklyn, the constant flipping of properties and nothing gets built,” he added.
However Tom Smith of the Department of City Planning said he had recently spoken with developers, who said that the property being listed for sale by Greiner Maltz Investments was a mistake.
He also cautioned that applying for the area to revert back to a manufacturing zone could be a lengthy and expensive process, and that careful consideration needed to be paid to the developer’s intentions before further zoning action was initiated.
A source familiar with this project said that it is not uncommon for a real estate agent to put a listing like the one for 33-million here out to the development world looking for a partner in the project. He was not under the impression that the owners were looking to sell at all.
As a result, the motion to recommend reverting the zone back to manufacturing was tabled until CB5’s next meeting. According to board chairman Vincent Arcuri, the Land Use Committee will speak to the owners to try to work things out.