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NEW YORK CITY-Requests for Proposals to purchase and develop the remaining Hoyt-Schermerhorn properties have been sent out and state and city officials are taking no chances on the re-use of the land. The New York City Council has rezoned the area to be sure that development of the 160,000 acres of state-owned land reflects the architectural character of the surrounding Brooklyn neighborhoods.

“We are very optimistic about the future of these two properties,” Empire State Development Corp. spokesperson Maura Gallucci tells GlobeSt.com. ESD is the economic development agency responsible for the disposal of state-owned property. “We worked closely with the borough president’s office on this project,” Gallucci says.

The three vacant Hoyt-Schermerhorn properties, located near Downtown Brooklyn on Schermerhorn Street between Smith Street and Bond Street and on Smith Street between Atlantic Avenue and State Street, were acquired by the state in 1974 from the City of New York as part of the abandoned Schermerhorn-Pacific Urban Renewal Project. All 178,000 acres have been used for parking ever since.

The 18,000-sf parcel on Smith Street between Atlantic Avenue and State Street was sold in May for $3.3 million and is being developed by Shaya B Developers Inc. as an office, retail and housing complex that will be the future home of the Brooklyn Central YMCA as well as 30 market-rate condominium apartments. Bids on the two remaining parcels are due by October 12.

According to Gallucci, ESD chairman Charles Gargano floated an RFP on the smaller parcel last November as a trial balloon and was pleasantly surprised when the property was snapped up by Shaya B within six months. With that project under way, ESD and Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden are taking pains to ensure that development of the two remaining parcels fits the neighborhood’s character.

“Depending on what block you’re on in this area, it is either beautiful 19th-century brownstone streets or commercial areas that intersect them,” Gallucci says. “Certainly we want development to reflect and preserve the dignity of the brownstone areas. The development proposed for the first site does just that. The way they have laid out the parcel reflects the different streets that it will be situated on. It’s very respectful of the difference between Atlantic Avenue and Smith Street.”

Working with the Hoyt-Schermerhorn Community Task Force, Golden and ESD established design and use guidelines for the land and, in an addendum to the recent RFP, persuaded the New York City Council to adopt a zoning amendment that creates a Special Downtown Brooklyn District to further control future development of the property.

The new district merges the Special Fulton Mall and Special Atlantic Avenue districts. According to papers filed with the city, the new zone will “recognize the special contextual character of the historic brownstone neighborhoods that abut the Downtown (Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill and Fort Greene) including a reduced 210-foot height” for the area. “These changes would ensure that development is possible at the densities that can be supported by the extensive infrastructure of the business district, and that the adjoining residential neighborhoods are appropriately zoned.”

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