Mayor de Blasio will block construction of towers near Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Mayor de Blasio will block construction of towers near Brooklyn Botanic Garden

December 22, 2020

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In a reversal, Mayor Bill de Blasio will now block the construction of two Crown Heights apartment towers that the Brooklyn Botanic Garden said would cast potentially flora-ruining shadows over its greenhouses.

“I’m calling on the developers to go back to the drawing board and create a proposal that we can be proud of,” Hizzoner said in a statement, which added the project would “harm the research and educational work carried out by one of this city’s prized cultural institutions, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and is grossly out of scale with the neighborhood.”

Hizzoner’s about-face was first reported by Gothamist and comes months after he mounted a vigorous defense of the project in February.

“I don’t think it ruins the garden forever. I just don’t. I don’t take that position,” he said when asked about the proposal during a weekly WNYC appearance on Feb. 7.  

“I would love it if we could have a city that could be a city for everyone and affordable and we could keep some of the exact scale and aesthetics we had previously. I would love it if we could achieve those things, but we’re in this new world.” 

“We’ve got to come to grips with, if we want this to be a city for everyone, including working people and lower income people, we’re going to have to build some things where people can actually live and afford,” he continued. “If we want to lock down our current scale and enjoy, you know, the good that goes with that, then we’re going to take another step towards the gilded city and a city that only those who are doing very well can afford to live in.”

City Hall later claimed Hizzoner confused 960 Franklin Ave. with another nearby proposed development that would bring three much shorter, 17-story buildings on Crown and Carroll streets — even though the questioner had specified the 39-story towers that were set for Franklin.

A spokeswoman argued that de Blasio had no position at the time on the towers.  

Hizzoner’s statement effectively kills the plans from developers — led by Bruce Eichner’s Continuum Co. — to bring the high rises with nearly 1,600 apartments to the rapidly gentrifying southern edge of Crown Heights.

In exchange for the zoning changes, the companies had offered to place nearly half of the apartments rent-stabilized and set them aside for lower and middle income households.

This came as the city’s parks department found earlier this year the shadows cast by the towers would wilt some of the garden’s flora. 

“The proposed project would potentially lead to a significant adverse impact to natural resources, specifically to natural resources found in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG), due to the project-generated shadows,” read the memo.

Eichner did not answer when called by The Post Tuesday. 

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